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Museum of Edinburgh

Edinburgh's treasure box - a maze of historic rooms full of objects from the capital’s past.

TravelCurious Tip

The Scottish Parliament buildings are just a touch further along the Royal Mile. Visit them afterwards to see where history is made

Found on the Royal Mile, just opposite the Tolbooth clock, at first glance the Museum of Edinburgh doesn’t look like much. Set in the diminutive Huntly House, its cheerful red and yellow façade remains bright even on the greyest of days. Built in 1570, the house now celebrates Edinburgh’s past, from prehistory to the present day.


It’s a deceptive building: from the outside it appears small, but inside it is labyrinthine, a rabbit’s warren with little rooms full of treasures leading from one to the next. You could spend hours poring over their collections, which cover a range of the artistic and the historical. Several rooms demonstrate Scotland’s craftsmanship, with silver and glassware from past centuries. They also have an original copy of the National Covenant of 1638 — you can try to decipher some of the signatures. And of course it would not be complete without some oddities, such as the firebrand preacher John Knox’s spectacles.


Man’s best friend

Among said oddities are the dog collar and feeding bowl of Greyfriars Bobby, the city’s most famous canine citizen. One version of his story paints him as a loyal 19th century hound once owned by Constable John Gray. As the story goes, when his master died he spent every day of the next 14 years by his grave, winning the hearts of Edinburgh’s citizens with his loyalty.


Two-faced

Deacon Brodie was a respected furniture maker for the well-to-do of 1780s Edinburgh. He lived beyond his means, though, and turned to burglary. He and his gang copied keys to public buildings which they would rob during the night. He was eventually caught and hanged on the Royal Mile. Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired by Brodie’s double life, and went on to write Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Edinburgh
The Royal Mile
The picturesque historic thoroughfare of the Old Town of Edinburgh.
John Knox House
Rumoured to have been the home of the 16th century Protestant reformer, this historic house tells the story of the Reformation and life in Edinburgh 400 years ago.
Holyrood Palace
Holyrood Palace is the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen in Scotland.
Calton Hill
Crammed with monuments, Calton Hill is part of Edinburgh's UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers splendid views over the city.
Scottish Parliament Building
The first in almost 300 years of history, the home of the Scottish Parliament is the most controversial building in Scotland.
Royal Mile Closes
The Closes of the Royal Mile are historic narrow alleyways named after their owners.

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