A Museum Secret

With fall in full swing here in Edinburgh, it’s definitely getting cooler out and while we’ve had a few sunny days in a row now, it’s sure not to last for long.

One of the best rainy day activities (aside from laying under the covers watching Netflix) is popping into one of the few museums in the city.

And guess what? The Scottish National Galleries (Scottish National Gallery, Modern Art, Portrait Gallery), National Museum of Scotland, Museum on the Mound, and The Writer’s Museum are all free!

Rodin's The Kiss is currently at the National Gallery!

Rodin’s The Kiss is currently at the National Gallery!

There's also a nice free exhibit at the National Library on Dr. Livingstone

Though technically  not a museum, there’s also a nice free exhibit at the National Library on Dr. Livingstone

Of these, my favorite is definitely the National Museum of Scotland. I do enjoy a lovely trip through an art museum, but I’m much more a history and science kind of gal so the National Museum is perfect for me.

Scotland was once a very dry land. Clearly this was a long time ago

Apparently Scotland was once a very dry land. Clearly this was a long time ago

Y’all this museum is huge.

There are floors and floors of artifacts that take you all through Scotland’s history. From the prehistoric creation of the land we’re standing on today, through the Viking explorations, the years of fighting for independence from the English and development of early city life, and finally to the global country Scotland is today.

There are also special exhibits and a whole gallery on science, technology, and communication.

Honestly, you could spend hours here. Trust me. I’ve already visited 3 times and I’ve still not seen everything. I love that the museum is free so I can take my time touring all the exhibits.

Last Tuesday it was raining all morning and then suddenly the weather cleared and the sun came out. I just happened to find myself outside Greyfriars Kirk with my camera in tow and realized this was perfect timing.

I’ve been waiting for a sunny day to pop into the National Museum.

I don’t usually bring the DSLR to the museum because I like to walk around unencumbered by a heavy bag on my shoulder, but I did need my camera & a clear sky for some special photos.

Because you see, the National Museum has an extra treasure for visitors. Not just the art and historic pieces.


On the top floor of the museum is a rooftop terrace that offers a 360 degree view of the city. Again, for free. Although I guess it’s not technically a “secret.”

I believe there’s an elevator that will take you right to the rooftop, but you can also head to the 5th floor and go up a staircase to the top.


Just lovely. You can see the Castle, the Hub, St. Giles Cathedral, Arthur’s Seat and even Calton Hill and the National Monument in the distance.

So even if you’re not much of a museum person, do take a trip to the National Museum and take in the view at the very least. Although I guarantee the Scottish history underneath your feet will get you down from the rooftop and into the museum halls.

PS. I still must go to the Mary Queen of Scots exhibit before I leave!

The National Museum of Scotland
Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF

Do you enjoy visiting museums? What are your favorite free activities in your city?


One response to “A Museum Secret

  1. Pingback: 5 ‘Must Do’ Activities in Edinburgh | New Kid on the Loch·

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