{Scotland} Another Mini Museum Marathon in Edinburgh!

February 18, 2016

Scotland

100 Museums Challenge: Museums No.9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14

What’s better than one Mini Museum Marathon? Two Mini Museums Marathons! Well, at least if you are me. I could have spent the last day in of my long ‘girls only’ weekend away in Scotland sitting in a cafe with a nice cup of tea, reading a book, and watching the world go by. Just enjoying some ‘me time’ away from my three boys. Instead, I chose to work my way down the Royal Mile, taking in all the City of Edinburgh’s museums along the way, topped and tailed at either end with tea and cake (so there was some tea involved after all!) with friends at the National Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Because that’s my idea of fun! Six museums in one day sounds like a lot, but some of them were not very big and I had been to them all before at some point, so it was a matter of checking out what’s new and revisiting some old favourites.

No.9 – National Museum of Scotland

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The National Museum of Scotland – what can I say. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know this museum has my heart. A love affair that has lasted over thirty years. The only unusual thing on this trip was that I only visited here once. It was a time to catch up with friends and former colleagues over a mug of hot chocolate in the Balcony Café, overlooking the beautiful Grand Gallery. Then a quick stroll through the new Lego exhibit (about which I will write more in a separate post), before tearing myself away. There are countless previous posts about the National Museum of Scotland on this blog, so if you want to find out more, you can browse them here >> National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland is located on Chambers Street. It’s open daily year round, except at Christmas, and admission is free. You can check on any up-to-date visitor information on the museum’s website.

No.10 – The Writers’ Museum

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The Writers’ Museum is situated at the top of the Royal Mile, near Edinburgh Castle, in one of Edinburgh’s infamous closes. From the courtyard outside, you can catch the stunning view down to Princes Street below. The museum itself celebrates the lives of three of Scotland’s most famous authors: Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns. You can find out more about it in my previous review >> {Scotland} Writers’ Museum

The Writer’s Museum is open from Mondays to Saturdays, and on Sundays during August. Due to its location in an historic building, access is by stairs only, so unfortunately it’s not suitable for wheelchairs and prams. Admission is free, though donations are welcome. You can check out the full visitor information on the museum’s website.

No.11 – Museum of Childhood

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You can’t get more nostalgic than the Museum of Childhood, located on the Royal Mule at 42 High Street. As well as the collection of toys and games that will take you down memory lane, the museum also covers all aspects of growing up, including birth and baptism, health and home life, books and school days. Although it’s not specifically a children’s museum, there are quite a few activities for little visitors to get their hands on, such as a puppet theatre, dolls house and toy car garage to play with, alongside other games and a couple of working models that can be brought to life at the press of a button or drop of a coin. The museum is open daily throughout the year (though double check their website for information on Christmas and New Year), and admission is free.

No.12 – Museum of Edinburgh

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Moving down the Royal Mile, you will find the Museum of Edinburgh, located inside Huntley House at 142 Canongate. The museum tells the story of Edinburgh’s past, from its earliest times to the present day, and is a great intro for newcomers to the city.  Highlights include the National Covenant, James Craig’s plans for Edinburgh’s New Town, and the collar of everyone’s favourite dog, Greyfriars Bobby. The museum also houses stunning collections of decorative art, including beautiful glass and silver made in Edinburgh. For little visitors, there’s a fun children’s section with art and crafts and dressing up.

The Museum of Edinburgh is open from Mondays to Saturdays, and on Sundays during August. As with the Writers’ Museum, access is by stairs only due to the historic nature of the building, so unfortunately it’s also not suitable for wheelchairs and prams. Admission is free, though donations are welcome. You can check out the full visitor information on the museum’s website.

No.13 – The People’s Story

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The People’s Story Museum is located directly opposite the Museum of Edinburgh, in the Canongate Tolbooth. The museum explores the working and social lives of ordinary Edinburgh people from the late 18th century to the present, brought to life through tableaus and costumed figures – museum mannequin lovers really get their money’s worth here (well, the museum is free, but you know what I mean). Exhibits include everyday objects, highlights from important events, photographs and oral history recollections.

The People’s Story is open from Mondays to Saturdays, and on Sundays during the Edinburgh Festival. The ground and first floor are fully accessible, but unfortunately not the second floor. Admission is free, though donations are welcome. You can check out the full visitor information on the museum’s website.

No.14 – Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Finally, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Another museum I have frequented a lot in the past. Part of the National Galleries Scotland, it tells the story of Scotland through portraits in the form of paintings and sculptures, including both famous historical figures such Mary, Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlies or Robert Burns (see photo above), as well as more recent significant figures from the arts, science and sport. The building itself is a fantastic piece of architecture to behold, and the Great Hall with its 360° mural never ceases to stun me.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is located at 1 Queen Street. It’s open daily year round, except at Christmas, and admission is free. You can check on any up-to-date visitor information on the museum’s website.

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