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National Museum of Scotland Tours and Activities

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National Museum of Scotland
Set across two buildings—one Victorian and one modern—and featuring a collection of more than 20,000 artifacts, the National Museum of Scotland is one of Edinburgh’s top visitor attractions. The diverse exhibits cover anything and everything to do with Scotland, including natural history, art, fashion, science, and archaeology. 

The Basics
Many visitors arrive at the museum via hop-on hop-off tour buses and then explore independently, making a beeline for the exhibits that interest them most, whether that be the decorative arts of the Art, Design and Fashion galleries; the tyrannosaurus rex skeleton cast of the Natural World galleries; or the airy Grand Gallery, which houses a diverse collection of 800 objects from various world cultures. Visitors can download a free highlights app on their smartphone to help them navigate. 

Other visitors take part in the drop-in hour-long free guided tours, which take place daily on a first come, first- served basis. Choose between an introductory Discover the National Museum tour (11am), a Scotland Galleries Highlights Tour (1pm), or a special themed tour (3pm—topics change daily). 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The National Museum of Scotland provides a fantastic overview of the country for first-time visitors. 
  • Free Wi-Fi is available at the museum. 
  • The museum is wheelchair accessible. 
  • A café, brasserie, shop, and rooftop restaurant with views of Edinburgh Castle, can all be found at the museum. 

How to Get There
The National Museum of Scotland is situated on Chambers Street in Edinburgh Old Town, near Greyfriars Kirkyard. The museum is about a 10- to 15-minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley station. 

When to Get There
The National Museum of Scotland is busiest on weekend afternoons, especially during summer vacation and other school holidays. Come midweek or in early morning to avoid the biggest crowds. If you plan on doing a tour, arrive at least 15 minutes before the start time and meet the guide in the museum’s entrance hall. 

Highlights of the Collection
The atrium of the Grand Gallery is home to some of the museum’s greatest exhibits, including the massive skull of a sperm whale; the Cockcroft–Walton generator, the machine that managed to first artificially split the atom in 1930; and the millennium clock tower, a mechanical clock sculpture that springs to life on the hour every hour. Elsewhere in the museum, view the famous medieval Lewis Chessmen game pieces and Queen Mary’s Harp at the Kingdom of the Scots exhibition, before generating energy in the giant hamster wheel and coming face to face with Dolly the Sheep in the Science and Technology galleries.
Address: Chambers St, Edinburgh, Scotland
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23 Tours and Activities to Experience National Museum of Scotland

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City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

star-4
1170
An Edinburgh bus tour is the perfect way to hear commentary on city sights and get a panoramic overview. This City Sightseeing tour of Edinburgh lets you hop on and off at several strategically placed stops as many times as you like. Board the open-top double-decker bus and travel the entire route, or stop at Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum and many more. Buses depart regularly and tickets are valid for 24 hours from first use.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$22.69
From
$22.69
Taking safety measures

3-Hour Secret Food Tour in Edinburgh w/ Private Tour Option

3-Hour Secret Food Tour in Edinburgh w/ Private Tour Option

star-5
207
Scotland is renowned for its unique cuisine, but Edinburgh’s foodie hotspots are best explored with a local guide. On this small-group walking tour, discover the UNESCO-listed Old and New Towns, and sample Scottish classics such as Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, Scotch whisky, and afternoon tea.
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  • 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$234.26
From
$234.26
Taking safety measures

JK Rowling's Edinburgh & the Writing of Harry Potter

JK Rowling's Edinburgh & the Writing of Harry Potter

star-5
125
Learn about J.K. Rowling and the origins of the 'Harry Potter' books during a walking tour of Edinburgh. See places that inspired Rowling such as the Balmoral Hotel and University of Edinburgh's Old College; locales that shaped the Dementors and Ministry of Magic; and cafes where Rowling liked to write. Your guide is a 'Harry Potter' fan who shares fascinating details about the wizarding world in Edinburgh.
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  • 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$28.36
From
$28.36
Taking safety measures

Scottish Church History, Reformation And Presbyterian Heritage Tour

Scottish Church History, Reformation And Presbyterian Heritage Tour

star-5
5
Led by Bible believing Scottish Christians, we will guide you through Edinburgh's Old Town visiting locations of significance to Scotland's Reformation, the Covenanters and Presbyterian history. We will stop at locations and hear the stories of the people and the events of this period We are a non-profit ministry of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Any funds remaining after direct costs are paid, are used to facilitate church planting in Scotland. Our tours are not merely sight-seeing arrangements. Our goal is to encourage you in your Christian faith, and to point out how and where the people and places you learn about honoured Jesus Christ in everything they did and how you can do the same today. Our tour guides are Bible-believing Christians who care deeply about helping to build up your faith. We are also happy to add in any other location you would like to visit within a reasonable distance. We are 5 star rated on Tripadvisor.
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$58.27
From
$58.27

Withlocals Highlights & Hidden Gems: Covid-19 Regulated Private Tour Edinburgh

Withlocals Highlights & Hidden Gems: Covid-19 Regulated Private Tour Edinburgh

star-5
7
See both the highlights and hidden gems of Edinburgh on a private tour that reveals Scotland’s capital through the eyes of a local. Designed with first-time visitors in mind, this private tour promises the undivided attention of your guide and gives you the chance to compile tailored recommendations to last the rest of your vacation.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$69.39
Price varies by group size
From
$69.39
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Withlocals 90 Minutes Kickstart: Covid-19 Regulated Edinburgh Private Tour

Withlocals 90 Minutes Kickstart: Covid-19 Regulated Edinburgh Private Tour

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9
Enjoy the perfect introduction to Edinburgh and its top attractions on this flexible, private tour. Pick between multiple daily departure times, and meet your guide in the city center. Then, set off on foot. You’ll visit numerous city highlights, from St. Giles' Cathedral and Edinburgh Castle to the Greyfriars Kirkyard and National Museum of Scotland. As you go, learn insider stories about the city, plus tips about where to eat and drink.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$31.65
Price varies by group size
From
$31.65
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh: 3-Hours Walking Tour - English Tour Guide

Edinburgh: 3-Hours Walking Tour - English Tour Guide

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2
Cover all the major must-see sights in Edinburgh and learn all about the ancient city on this 3-hour guided walking tour. Listen as your guide shares fascinating historical facts, myths and legends about the Scottish capital. • Wander along the Royal Mile, the atmospheric main thoroughfare of the well-preserved Edinburgh Old Town • See the historic fortress of Edinburgh Castle, trek to the Mound and visit the graveyard of Greyfriars Kirkyard • Listen to your guide talking about historical facts about Edinburgh
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$18.41
From
$18.41

Private Edinburgh City Tour in a Minibus

Private Edinburgh City Tour in a Minibus

star-5
5
Explore Edinburgh from the comfort of your own personal minibus on a private tour of the Scottish capital city. While listening to informative commentary from your guide, you’ll gaze at the Gothic silhouette of Edinburgh Castle and hear about the historic Royal Mile. Ascend Calton Hill for panoramic city views, admire the grand architecture of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and become engrossed by tales of witchcraft, body snatching, and a loyal dog. This private tour ensures you’ll receive undivided attention from your guide while experiencing the best Edinburgh has to offer.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$718.62
per group
From
$718.62
per group
Taking safety measures

Family Day In Edinburgh With A Local: Private & Personalized

Family Day In Edinburgh With A Local: Private & Personalized

If you're visiting Edinburgh with your family, book a private sightseeing tour specially designed for those with kids. With a private guide, the tour can be tailored to your children's ages and interests to keep everyone entertained. Perhaps check out medieval Old Town, the art galleries of New Town, or something active like climbing Arthur's Seat.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$114.99
Price varies by group size
From
$114.99
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh One Day Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private

Edinburgh One Day Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private

star-5
2
Visiting an unfamiliar city without knowing anyone there can lead to a hit or miss experience. Ensure a rewarding visit by booking a local, like-minded host for the day. They will create a bespoke itinerary based on your own interests and take you to some of their favorite spots missed by most other visitors.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$183.97
Price varies by group size
From
$183.97
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Private Tour Brazilian Guide

Edinburgh Private Tour Brazilian Guide

We make private and personalized tours, according to the client's interests, in private vehicles with great comfort and safety. Our guides accompany you on all attractions, providing the most support and historical information. Departure and return of the tour will be at the client's hotel.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$643.88
per group
From
$643.88
per group
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Private Tour Brazilian Guide

Edinburgh Private Tour Brazilian Guide

We make private and personalized tours, according to the client's interests, in private vehicles with great comfort and safety. Our guides accompany the customer on all attractions, providing the greatest support and historical information. Departure and return from the tour will be at the client's hotel.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$919.83
per group
From
$919.83
per group
Taking safety measures

Private City Tour in Edinburgh Brazilian Guide

Private City Tour in Edinburgh Brazilian Guide

We do private and personalized tours, according to the client's interests, in private vehicles with great comfort and safety. Our guides accompany the customer on all attractions, giving the greatest support and historical information in English and Portuguese. Departure and return from the tour will be at the client's hotel.
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  • 4 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$398.60
per group
From
$398.60
per group
Taking safety measures

Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Edinburgh

Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Edinburgh

star-5
1
We are Edinburgers who are wildly passionate about all the delicious food found around our world-famous and historical city. By booking on our Edinburgh tour, you will have the opportunity to experience our passion by eating traditional Scottish food (such as authentic Haggis, award winning Lowland Single Malt Whisky), sample tasty Scottish treats, desserts and sample our flavorful cheeses. Enjoy the enriching combination of tea and Scottish scones. Additionally all our tours, there is our Secret Dish, which you can only find out about on the day. As a private tour, everything works around you! Our start times are much more easy going, dates can open up. It's a much more intimate and cozy experience. No need to shout over other tourists, you will have every question answered, and leave feeling like a native yourself!
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  • 3 hours
From
$108.77
From
$108.77

Historic Edinburgh by Night: Private Kickstart Tour with a Local

Historic Edinburgh by Night: Private Kickstart Tour with a Local

Edinburgh is a treasure trove of historical delights. From old prisons which are the subject of local legends to the stunning architecture of St Giles’ Cathedral, there is plenty to see. Explore the city with a local storyteller and hear the tales that bring the city to life. Start this history evening experience at the Mercat Cross. With a turbulent past, your friendly local will fill you in on all the former uses of this spot, from public executions to a place of trade to announcements from London. Follow your host to Edinburgh’s parliament square and visit the burial site of one of the city’s most famous former residents. Then swing by the must-see cathedral and take in this architectural gem lit up in all its glory. Head up to Edinburgh Castle which is even more spectacular when it is lit up in the evening. Then visit a historic market before stopping by one of the most haunted graveyards in Scotland, which is said to have inspired the Harry Potter series.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$45.04
Price varies by group size
From
$45.04
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Self-Guided Exploration Game of The Haunted Edinburgh City

Self-Guided Exploration Game of The Haunted Edinburgh City

Embark on a haunted Edinburgh tour where you will follow clues to discover striking places and local stories. Play the role of a devilish staff on this spine-tingling walking tour, which takes you on a journey through some of the city’s most haunted places, including Greyfriars Kirkyard, the site of the Nor’ Loch and West Bow. Are you ready for a haunted walk around Edinburgh? Discover Edinburgh’s dark and bloody past, from the Great Scottish Witch Hunts to the Burke and Hare murders and learn about the haunting stories of the Wizard of West Bow, the Grey Lady, George Mackenzie and more. Explore the many sites where public executions were held and visit the hall containing a book made of William Burke’s flesh Try a new type of experience, the perfect mix between a tour, an outdoor escape game, and a treasure hunt.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$18.25
Price varies by group size
From
$18.25
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow 3 Days Scotland Private Tour

Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow 3 Days Scotland Private Tour

The Highlands is the epitome of Scotland. Big skies, sparkling countryside, great food, friendly people and the Scottish Highlands. A natural playground that begs to be explored, with the finest and most romantic castles. Edinburgh is the inspiring capital of Scotland where hundreds of years of history unite an unforgettable world-class city. The magnificent architecture of the city is shifting from the enclosures of the medieval Old City to the grace of the new Georgian City. Above all, Edinburgh Castle stands with its magnificent splendour. Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a compact and lively town but home to the world's largest arts festival. Glasgow is true heaven with excellent food, drinks and unforgettable experiences as well. The lush and beautiful land is full of green areas, evergreen forestry of the Highlands with their sweeping mountains and deep “lochs”, and its compact wildlands, the islands with lots of beautiful beaches and vast views. Oh, what views!
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  • 3 days
  • Taking safety measures
From
$1,428.33
Price varies by group size
From
$1,428.33
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Self Guided Tour (NEW self distancing tour)

Edinburgh Self Guided Tour (NEW self distancing tour)

So, you arrive in Edinburgh and want to know all about it. You have 3 choices available to you. 1. Go on a guided tour and see all those sights you read about before you came. 2. Walk around aimlessly hoping that the Gods of tourism will guide you. 3. Go to snikkit dot com and see what like minded locals want you to see about their home. Snikkit dot com will show you everything about a place on a simple, easy to use interactive map. The main sites The history The people But also the small stories, the best pubs and bars, where the locals eat and much much more. This is your tour at your own pace and at your convenience. We have done all the homework for you and found and researched all the stories and facts you need for an enlightening self guided tour of Edinburgh's history, architecture, music, ghosts, murders and culture. Once logged in you are the boss, you decide what you want to see and when you want to see it.
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  • 3 to 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.43
From
$21.43
Taking safety measures

Virtual Old Edinburgh Tour

Virtual Old Edinburgh Tour

star-5
2
Enjoy a live Virtual Walking Tour of Edinburgh's Old Town with your own private tour guide. You may not be able to come to Edinburgh, so let us bring Edinburgh to you. We Walk though the Old Town exploring the Closes and Wynds as if you were actually there. You can chat and ask questions just as you would on a normal Walking Tour.
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  • 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$70.19
per group
From
$70.19
per group

Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow 3 Days Scotland Private Tour

Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow 3 Days Scotland Private Tour

The Highlands is the epitome of Scotland. Big skies, sparkling countryside, great food, friendly people and the Scottish Highlands. A natural playground that begs to be explored, with the finest and most romantic castles. Edinburgh is the inspiring capital of Scotland where hundreds of years of history unite an unforgettable world-class city. The magnificent architecture of the city is shifting from the enclosures of the medieval Old City to the grace of the new Georgian City. Above all, Edinburgh Castle stands with its magnificent splendour. Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a compact and lively town but home to the world's largest arts festival. Glasgow is true heaven with excellent food, drinks and unforgettable experiences as well. The lush and beautiful land is full of green areas, evergreen forestry of the Highlands with their sweeping mountains and deep “lochs”, and its compact wildlands, the islands with lots of beautiful beaches and vast views. Oh, what views!
More
  • 3 days
  • Taking safety measures
From
$1,428.33
Price varies by group size
From
$1,428.33
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh City Tour

Edinburgh City Tour

We offer ½ day, full-day, and multi-day tours depending on the time and the budget that you have. All tours are exclusive to you and your party (1-7 passengers) in our exclusive Mercedes Bens V-Class AMG model executive vehicles, which come with the following as standard – Client controlled air-con/Wi-Fi/on-board refreshments/AC charging facilities for mobile devices and cameras. Contact us and we will work with you so we can include the things you really want to see, spending more time at the places you want to spend time at, and leaving the things and places you don’t get to see for the next time you visit us.
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  • 1 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$382.75
per group
From
$382.75
per group
Taking safety measures

The Potter Trail Private Tour

The Potter Trail Private Tour

star-5
157
Founded in 2012, we are the original Harry Potter tour in Edinburgh. Our guides have the most experience of any tour company in Edinburgh and we are consistently rated most highly by visitors across all platforms. Booking a private tour with us will ensure the ultimate experience for Harry Potter fans as you'll be able to take the tour at your own pace and ask as many questions as you like! All of guides are trained comic performers so we can guarantee they will captivate and entertain you as well as impress with their extensive knowledge. We are also happy to customise this tour to suit you! We take on lots of bookings for hen parties and school groups and our guides are skilled at catering the tour content for any audience. Edinburgh is as magical to us as it is to JK Rowling and we hope this passion will inspire you too!
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$43.07
Price varies by group size
From
$43.07
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Full-Day Edinburgh Tour with Private Driver

Full-Day Edinburgh Tour with Private Driver

•Chauffeurs provide a panoramic tour with historic highlights and luxurious transport to and from the sites visited but are not accredited tour guides. The tour descriptions are suggested itineraries, the passengers may visit any other sites within the tour areas that they may wish to visit, time permitting. The driver will discuss any specific requests with passengers on the day. • Visits may include Britannia, Leith Links Oldest Golf Course, Holyroodhouse, The Scottish Parliament, Dunbar Close Garden, St Giles/City Chambers/Advocates Close/Parliament Hall/ Supreme Court, Castle Hill, Grassmarket, Victoria St, Mound/Galleries/Scott Monument, George St, Princess St and Castle, Charlotte Sq/ Bute House, Dean Village, Medical School, Heriots, Botanics, Fettes, Dean and Modern Art Galleries, Calton Cemetery, Regent Road/Carlton Hill, Greyfriars Church, National Museum of Scotland, North Bridge City Views.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$344.48
Price varies by group size
From
$344.48
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience National Museum of Scotland?