Top Museums in Edinburgh - Free & Paid Alternative Attractions

5 alternative attractions in Edinburgh

Edinburgh has an almost unlimited selection of fantastic museums and art galleries to suit each visitor and resident alike. However, it also boasts a wealth of slightly more unusual attractions that can sometimes go missed. Fear not, for we have a run down of our top five alternative museums and informative attractions in Edinburgh.



Surgeon’s Hall Museum 

Open daily 10am – 5pm

£5 / £3 concession

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh harks all the way back to 1505, and hosts one of the leading collections of surgical pathology in the world. Educate yourself in The History of Surgery Museum and Dental Museum, before being blown away (if you dare) by the vast array of specimens and samples in The Pathology Museum. If you’ve been swatting up on Burke and Hare facts whilst in Edinburgh, you can even visit Burke’s skeleton and death mask.


Camera Obscura

Open daily 9:30am – 7/9pm (varies with season)

£9.50 - £12.95 with special group prices and free for under 5s

The Camera Obscura offers an in depth look at Edinburgh and its history, but with a twist. Ascend to the rooftop chamber and view the 360-degree panorama of the city projected live in front of you, its fate in your hands. Also on offer is the World of Illusions, an interactive gallery of light and illusion exhibits with plenty of great photo opportunities and fun for all the family.


Our Dynamic Earth

April – August open daily 10am – 5:30/6pm

November – March Wed – Sun 10am – 5:30pm

£9.25 - £12.50 with annual passes and online discounts available

Our Dynamic Earth is a rather impressive science centre set in the green landscape of Holyrood Park. It offers an insight in to the processes and events that have shaped our very own Earth, allowing for a stealthily packaged educational experience for youngsters and big kids alike. Explore everything from the Big Bang and dinosaurs, to volcanoes and icebergs (both of which are on display), at this super hi-tech, fabulous day out.


Historic Vaults Tour

Daily tours of 1 hour 15 mins

£6 - £11 

Most cities have a few skeletons in their closet, however Edinburgh’s past can be particularly grisly. There are a number of horror attractions and walks in the city centre similar to those in other ancient towns, but unique to Edinburgh are the Old Town Vaults. This series of chambers beneath South Bridge housed peasants in the 18th century, and Mercat Tours have a number of fascinating walks through these eerie caverns. 


Museum of Childhood

Open daily 10am – 5pm (opening at noon on Sundays)

Free admission

This one is a perfect family pleaser if you’re caught short on a rainy day. Learn about the toys and pastimes of children throughout the ages, and get involved in a puppet show, or a spot of dressing up. Kids will marvel at the old fashioned toys, and adults may be taken back a few decades as they are reintroduced to their own childhood treasures. 




Reserve Apartments logo

By booking through the Reserve Apartments website you can enjoy exclusive benefits such as:

  • Flexible Check In and Out
  • Best Rate Guaranteed For Reserve Collection Properties
  • Free Wifi


Find a place to stay