Surgeon's Hall Museum

Address: Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW, Scotland
Telephone: 0131 527 1649

- Budget


Dr Frankenstein probably learned his craft here.

This museum is the result of 500 years of The Royal College of Surgeons. You have to be quite robust and interested in the mystery of the human form to wander through the Pathology Museum; this is no Disneyland exhibition. What will make you smile is the History of Dentistry, even if it is just to check your teeth in the mirror after seeing all the exhibits.

I have never seen anything like this anywhere else in the world. This is 100 per cent the real deal and probably the reason that surgeons still travel the globe to be educated here. 

Burke and Hare are the talk of the town at the moment with the new Hollywood film about to premier in the UK. Burke's actual death mask, a plaster cast of his face made after his hanging, is on display. Gulp.

Interestingly there is an exhibit on at the moment - October 2010 - charting the close working relationship of Arthur Conan Doyle and a professor from the Royal College and suggestions that the character Sherlock Holmes used knowledge gleaned during visits here.

Value for money

Price advice

Only £5 per head - though in this context it might be more appropriate to say only £5 per ticket; £3 concession.

Free tours with an admission ticket every afternoon at 2pm. To gain access to some of the exhibits you must be with a guide.

Expert tips

Attached to one of the best budget hotels in Edinburgh: Ten Hill Place Hotel (see my hotels page).

To gain access to the upper gallery of the pathology museum you must be part of a tour group.

Recommended for

  • Backpackers / Students
  • Couples
  • Culture vultures
  • Families with teenagers
  • Seasoned travellers
  • Education
  • History
  • Nature / wildlife