Plan your visit

Everything you need to know about visiting the museum when we reopen from 19 August 2020.

We're reopening

The National Museum of Scotland will reopen from 19 August 2020. Here you can find important information to help you plan your visit.

Find out more

Book online in advance

Please book a free timed entry ticket online in advance of your visit to ensure that we can manage numbers and maintain physical distancing. This includes National Museums Scotland Members.

Priority booking for National Museums Scotland Members will open at 10:00 on 12 August 2020. Become a Member today to receive a pre-release code to secure your tickets. 

General release tickets will be available from 10:00 on 14 August 2020.

Find out more about booking

Visiting safely

A range of new safety measures have been put in place in line with Scottish Government guidelines.

This includes pre-booked timed entry, enhanced cleaning, sneeze screens, hand sanitising stations and one-way routes in certain areas of the museum where physical distancing is not possible.

We want you to have a safe and enjoyable visit. During your visit, we ask you to:

Please keep your distance from others (2m). Follow the directional signage.
Use the hand sanitiser provided. Please note card payments only.
Wash your hands often. Any questions? Our Visitor Experience team will be delighted to help.

Please do not visit the museum if you or anyone in your household has any symptoms of Coronavirus.

Information for your visit

New opening hours

The National Museum of Scotland will have new opening hours of 10:30–16:30 each day. This is to allow our large staff team to enter the museum and implement their health and safety checks of the building safely.

Face coverings

Face coverings must be worn in our shops.


You are encouraged to wear face coverings in our other indoor spaces, for your safety and the safety of other visitors and staff.

Entrances, lifts and cloakroom

Please enter the museum via the west door on Chambers Street which will be clearly signposted. The Tower entrance is an accessible entrance only for groups with visitors who have additional mobility requirements or buggies.


Lifts from the Entrance Hall to Level 1 will be in operation, however we ask that you use the stairs if able as the capacity is limited.


The cloakroom is temporarily closed, so please do not bring any items to the museum that you are unable to carry with you.

What’s open?

As we begin to welcome visitors back to the museum, the reopening of galleries will be phased, with Level 0 (Entrance Hall level) and Level 1 (Grand Gallery level) opening first.


A new display of objects from our Scottish collections will be in Hawthornden Court, and our Scotland’s Precious Seas display will be open on Level 1. We are developing a new visitor map to show which galleries and facilities will be open, along with new trails for adults and families, and these will be available to download soon.


Spaces with a high number of interactive displays and high-touch areas, such as the Imagine and Explore galleries, will be temporarily closed for your safety. While Explore is closed we have moved Dolly the sheep to a new location in the Animal World gallery (Level 1). Look out for her under the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.

Food and drink

A pop-up café in Hawthornden Court (Level 1) will be open, serving drinks, sandwiches and snacks. Please note we are accepting card payments only.

The Museum Brasserie and Balcony Café are temporarily closed, as is the lunch space.


The Museum Shop (Level 0) will be open, accepting card payments only. Please note that in line with Scottish Government guidelines, face coverings must be worn in our shops.

National Museums Scotland Members receive a 10% discount on all shop purchases.

Visiting with children

Families and children of all ages are welcome at the National Museum of Scotland.

  • Trained first aiders are always on duty and a policy is in place if children become separated from their party.
  • Baby changing facilities are available and our galleries are accessible via lifts and ramps.
  • Our pop-up café in Hawthornden Court (Level 1) is open, serving drinks, sandwiches, snacks and children’s lunch boxes. Please note we are accepting card payments only.

Please note the Balcony Café, Museum Brasserie and cloakroom are temporarily closed. As our lunch space is also closed, and eating is not permitted in the galleries, please don’t bring your own food to eat in the museum at this time.




School and group visits

We are unfortunately unable to accommodate school and large group visits. Small groups of up to six people can visit the museum by booking free timed entry tickets in advance and arriving for entry at the same time.


We are happy for you to take photographs including flash photography in the museum.

No prior permission is needed for photography intended for personal use. However, anyone wishing to use additional photography equipment (e.g. a tripod) should contact the Information Desk to obtain a photo pass.


All photographers wishing to take photographs for commercial use are asked to contact Maggie Wilson at the Picture Library on 0131 247 4026 or


We want all our visitors and staff to be safe in the National Museum of Scotland. We work closely with Police Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council and other security managers to ensure we provide a safe and secure site for our staff and visitors. As part of our security measures, it may sometimes be necessary to introduce bag searches on entry to the museum.

If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to a member of our Visitor Experience team. You can also help us keep the museum safe by reporting anything that looks out of place or suspicious to our Visitor Experience Assistants.

National Museum of Scotland

Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF
Tel: 0300 123 6789


Opening times

From 19 August 2020, with new temporary opening hours of 10:30–16:30 daily


We want everyone who comes to the National Museum of Scotland to enjoy their time with us and make the most of their visit. We've compiled all our accessibility information in one place.

Find out more


  • Free wifi

    Free wifi is available throughout the museum.

  • Toilets

    There are toilets on all levels of the museum.

  • Baby changing

    Baby changing facilities are available on most floors.

  • Access

    Our exhibitions and galleries are accessible to all via lifts and ramps. There are accessible toilets on all floors.

  • Visual impairment

    Large print labels are available in our exhibitions for visually impaired visitors.

  • Hearing loop

    Induction loops are in place at the information desks and in the Auditorium.

  • Assistance dogs

    Assistance dogs are welcome in the museum.

  • Coffee cup icon Café

    A pop-up café in Hawthornden Court (Level 1) will be open, serving drinks, sandwiches and snacks.

  • Information

    Our information desk is situated at the entrance on Level 0.

  • Changing Places toilet

    Accessible toilets are available on all floors and there is a Changing Places (U) toilet in the Entrance Hall on Level 0.

  • Contactless payment

    Please note we are accepting card payments only.

How to get here

By bus

A number of buses go via the city centre and stop outside the museum on Chambers Street, or nearby on George IV Bridge and South Bridge. 


Visit the Lothian Buses website for further information or get directions from Google Maps.


Edinburgh Bus Tours open-top buses also stop at the museum.

By train

The nearest train station is Edinburgh Waverley and the museum is a 1015 minute walk away.


Plan your journey with the Traveline website or get directions from Google Maps.

By tram

The nearest tram stop is on Princes Street and the museum is a 1015 minute walk up The Mound. 


Plan your journey with the Traveline website or get directions from Google Maps.

By bike

Edinburgh is a cycle-friendly city. There are many dedicated cycle lanes and many junctions have advance cycle stop lines.


A number of cycle racks are available on Chambers Street to park your bike.


Get directions from Google Maps.

By car

Follow signs to the city centre. Off-street parking is available at nearby at NCP sites.


Get directions from Google Maps and further information on parking can be found at Edinburgh Council. 


Park and Ride
Park and Ride options are available by tram and bus. Leave the tram or bus in the city centre on Princes Street and the museum is a 1015 minute walk away. 


NCP Parking Discount Available

A 24-hour parking ticket for the NCP Castle Terrace car park is available for £10.50 if you are visiting our special exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland. To receive the discount, please present your parking ticket along with your National Museum Scotland Membership card or special exhibition ticket to National Museum of Scotland Staff at either the Special Exhibition Gallery 1 ticket desk (Level 3), or at the Entrance Hall ticket desk (Level 0). You will be given a validated parking ticket with the discount applied to use when you pay for your parking at NCP Castle Terrace. Please note this offer is not valid during the month of August.

We're Good to Go

We have acquired VisitBritain’s Good to Go accreditation. This Industry Standard mark means that National Museums Scotland has followed government and industry Covid-19 guidelines, has a Risk Assessment in place and a process to maintain cleanliness and aid physical distancing.

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We’re reopening our museums

After nearly five months of closure, we’re almost ready to welcome visitors back to our museums. We've made some changes to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable visit, including online booking and new safety measures.

Find out more about reopening