My favourite place to while away the hours in Edinburgh is the National Museum of Scotland. Packed full of fascinating exhibits, the building was renovated and reopened in 2011 as the merger of two institutions - The Victorian Royal Museum and the newly-built Museum of Scotland. And the results were fantastic.
Admission is free (apart from a handful of paid exhibitions), so it’s the perfect place to spend a cheap but fun-filled afternoon. There’s plenty to see across seven levels of collections, special exhibitions and interactive games - as you explore galleries of art, fashion, science, technology, world cultures and Scottish history.
My personal favourite is Animal World on Level 1, where you can experience an impressive life-sized skeleton cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex. Don’t forget to visit Explore hall on the same level, where you’ll find famous Dolly the sheep and the Alphabot robot.
A place often missed by visitors is a roof terrace on the 7th floor which can be accessed via lift. From here you’ll have a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
The Museum is one of the best places to buy quality gifts and souvenirs in Edinburgh, with everything from jewellery to books and toys spread across three shops. For lunch visit Brasserie (in the entrance hall) and try their delicious burgers or my favourite personal favourite, Cullen skink – a traditional Scottish cream soup made of smoked haddock and potatoes. For hot drinks, cakes and light bites head to the Balcony Cafe on level 3. But if you’ve come well-prepared, you are indeed welcome to enjoy a packed lunch inside the building.
If you’re looking to go all out you can book a table at the high-end Tower Restaurant, located on the roof. It’s open till late and can be accessed via a separate door when museum is closed. It makes for the perfect end to a day spent learning about all things Scotland.
National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street, EH1 1JF
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