One look at Edinburgh and it’s clear that this is a city with stories to tell. The stone buildings of the Old Town, the imposing castle on the hill and the winding cobbled streets all hint at a fascinating past. It’s in the city’s museums and galleries, however, where these stories come to vivid life in front of your very eyes, whether that’s seeing a wallet made from the skin of a notorious killer or portraits of famous Scotsmen and women from throughout history. Here are some of our favourite spots to get a true taste of Scotland of days gone by.<o:p></o:p>
Edinburgh boasts some of the finest museums and galleries in the world, from the grandiose National Museum of Scotland to more niche collections of coinage and conflicts. Here’s our pick of the best of the best. <o:p></o:p>
Located in the Bank of Scotland building, the Museum on the Mound is an engaging look into the history of money and currency in Scotland, but don’t mistake that for a boring lecture on financial history. Highlights include a display of a million pounds in used £20 notes, the oldest bank note in Scotland, and the opportunity to try your hand at cracking a safe without the danger of facing breaking and entering charges. There’s also a fascinating look at forgery and forgers.
Anyone with a love of fantastic flying machines will be on cloud nine at this former airfield in East Lothian, just under 40 minutes’ drive from the city centre. The star of the show is Scotland’s Concorde and visitors can tour the historic supersonic aircraft with an audio tour from its former pilot Jock Reid. The museum is also home to some notable military aircraft, including the iconic WWII Spitfire and the Harrier, as well as a range of passenger planes, light aircraft and hang-gliders. <o:p></o:p>
Thanks to an expensive refurbishment, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery now boasts an interior befitting the impressive portraits it contains. This imposing neo-Gothic building on Queen Street is home to a huge collection of paintings and photos – the first portrait gallery in the world when it opened in 1889 – including the national collection of portraits, which features the likenesses of famous Scots throughout history, from Robert Burns and Mary Queen of Scots to Annie Lennox and Alan Cumming.<o:p></o:p>
There’s a very good reason that the National Museum of Scotland is considered one of the best museums in the world. This is not only a fusion of two wildly different but equally impressive feats of architecture, but a coming together of some truly incredible exhibits and collections representing the near and distant past of Scotland and the wider world. Must-see exhibits, from the thousands representing archaeology, science, natural history, technology, art and anthropology, include the stuffed remains of the famous Dolly, the first cloned mammal, and one of Elton John’s more extravagant outfits.<o:p></o:p>