At the National Museum of Scotland, you'll embark on a journey of discovery through the history of Scotland and around the world, taking in the wonders of nature, art, design and fashion and science and technology – all under one roof.

1. Visit the Grand Gallery

Grand Gallery

Above: The Grand Gallery © Anna Henly.

The Grand Gallery is one of Scotland’s most beautiful spaces, and provides a spectacular start to your museum visit. Take a photo with the noble Giant Deer skeleton, say hello to the massive skull of Moby the whale and marvel at machinery used to smash atoms.

2. Watch the Millennium clock chime the hour

Millennium Clock © Ruth Armstrong

Above: The Millennium Clock © Ruth Armstrong.

Every hour the mighty Millennium clock swings into action. Don't miss its unique musical display, which represents the best – and worst – of the 20th century.

3. Travel back in time through Scottish history

Lewis chessmen

Above: The famous Lewis chessmen.

Our Scottish galleries guide you from prehistoric times to the present day. Discover a treasure trove of Celtic, Roman and Viking artefacts, including the famous Lewis Chessmen – as seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone!

4. Mingle with royalty

Mary, Queen of Scots pendant

Above: Gold enamelled, heart-shaped locket set with an onyx cameo portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Mary, Queen of Scots is Scotland's most controversial monarch. Discover her tumultuous story and see belongings associated with her, including exquisite jewellery like this pendant.

5. Take a walk on the wild side

T.rex in the Natural World galleries

Above: This fearsome T.rex dominates the Natural World galleries.

Next, explore the wonders of nature in the Natural World galleries. Walk in the shadow of a giant T.rex skeleton cast, and meet our much-loved panda Ching Ching, a gift from China.

6. Run in the human hamster wheel

Running in the hamster wheel

Above: Running in the hamster wheel.

There are hundreds of games throughout the museum. Generate energy running in our giant hamster wheel, drive an F1 car, design your own fashion creations and much, much more! You can try out some of our games on the website here.

7. Take a selfie with a celebrity

Dolly the sheep

Above: Dolly the Sheep © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

Did you know our Science and Technology galleries are home to a celebrity? As the first cloned mammal ever to be created from an adult cell, Dolly is the most famous sheep in the world.

8. Strike a pose in the Fashion and Style gallery

Fashion and Style gallery

Above: The Fashion and Style gallery.

Explore centuries of creativity and innovation in the Fashion and Style gallery. Spot gems by Alexander McQueen, Zandra Rhodes, Jean Muir and Pringle of Scotland, and see unusual twists on classic tartan by Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier.

9. Journey to the dark side

Arthur's Seat coffins

Above: Who made the Arthur's Seat coffins and why did the bury them?

Uncover the darker side of Scottish history with tales of the infamous 'body snatchers' Burke and Hare and Deacon Brodie, the original Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Don't miss the mysterious Arthur's Seat coffins, one of the museum's most intriguing objects.

10. See Edinburgh from the skies!

Above: A view of Edinburgh Castle from the roof terrace.

Finally, don't forget to climb up to our roof terrace, for spectacular panoramic views on Edinburgh. The perfect place for a selfie!

Museum information

Opening times

Daily: 10:00-17:00
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 12:00-17:00
New Year's Day: 12:00-17:00

Admission

Free, donations welcome

How to find us

Chambers Street,
Edinburgh,
EH1 1JF
Tel: 0300 123 6789
Plan your visit