13 must-visit museums in Scotland
So, you're keen to visit a Scottish museum - but which one? Get an overview of some of Scotland's best-loved museums, including top museums in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Learn the story of people, places and past times through thousands of objects and discover something new!
1. National Museum of Scotland
One of the UK's top visitor attractions and a 5-star free museum, it's easy to spend all day exploring this cultural institution. With exhibits on Scotland, nature, art, science and culture there's plenty for everyone to enjoy.
Find out more about the National Museum of Scotland
2. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
This beautiful art gallery and museum is set in the heart of Glasgow's west end. Designed with families in mind, entry is free so you can leisurely browse the impressive collections of art, natural history and much more in one of the best museums in Scotland.
Find out more about the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
3. Riverside Museum
This award-winning transport museum in Glasgow, on the banks of the River Clyde, is packed full of objects and interactive displays. From Glasgow's shipbuilding history to locomotives to Stormtroopers, there really is something to keep all the family entertained.
Find out more about the Riverside Museum
4. The Burrell Collection
Recommended by: @growing_greenfields. Read her blog on The Burrell Collection for more information
What the influencer says: “The museum itself is a purpose-built minimalist structure filled with an abundance of natural light, balanced with moodier areas dependent on the style of the objects”
What is the museum about?
The Burrell Collection houses over 9,000 pieces of the collected treasures, artworks and exotic objects of Glasgow merchant, Sir William Burrell, in Pollok Country Park.
What makes it so special?
- Admission to the park and museum is free
- The surrounding parkland has plenty of space to explore, with play areas, cycle paths and more
- There are multiple dining options serving up tasty Scottish produce, including two coffee shops and a restaurant
- Highlights include The Red Ballet Skirts by Degas and The Thinker by Rodin
Find out more about the Burrell Collection
5. Aberdeen Art Gallery
Recommended by: @thelifeof hadia. Find out more about her visit on Tik Tok
Winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2020, this revitalised gallery is a must visit in the Granite City of Aberdeen. The collection includes work from Scotland's best designers and artists from Henry Raeburn to Joan Eardley as well as significant works of international acclaim.
Find out more about Aberdeen Art Gallery
6. V&A Dundee
Set in a purpose-built riverside building, the stunning V&A Dundee is an example of world-class architecture and holds collections showcasing the very best of both international and Scottish design.
Find out more about the V&A Dundee
7. McManus Art Gallery and Museum
Recommended by: @simplyemmablog. Read her blog on the McManus for more information and her helpful wheelchair accessible guide
What the influencer says: “As a powered wheelchair user, I was able to move around easily and access each gallery without difficulty. The open spaces made it an enjoyable and comfortable experience to roll throughout the entire museum at my own pace. I was able to see the displays and exhibits from wheelchair height.”
What makes it so special?
- The Victorian Gothic building boasts eight open gallery spaces
- There are good public transport links if you’re travelling to Dundee by bus or train
Find out more about the McManus Art Gallery and Museum
8. The Dick Institute
Located in Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, the stunning institute hosts touring exhibitions from the TATE, V&A, National Galleries Scotland and more. It also features a wide range of objects and exhibitions including fossils, art and local history.
Find out more about the Dick Institute
9. Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
Discover more about the life and history of Scotland's National Bard in the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway. Based in the quaint cottage where he was born, the museum is home to the world's most important collection of Burns artefacts and works.
Find out more about the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
10. The Great Tapestry of Scotland
Explore the history of Scotland told through one of the world's largest community art projects at this recently opened 5-star visitor attraction in the Scottish Borders. Created and stitched by 1,000 people from across Scotland, the Tapestry offers a compelling visual of Scotland's heritage and history.
Find out more about The Great Tapestry of Scotland
11. Shetland Museum and Archives
The engaging Shetland Museum is packed full of information about Shetland's heritage and culture. Located on the waterfront within a restored 19th century dock in Lerwick, the gallery includes examples of everything from Shetland lace to Pictish art.
Find out more about the Shetland Museum and Archives
12. Skye Museum of Island Life
Situated on the dramatic hilltop by Uig, let the Skye Museum of Island Life take you back in time with its authentic thatched cottages and old tools. The museum offers visitors a unique experience of what island life was like 100 years ago for 19th century crofters.
Find out more about the Skye Museum of Island Life
13. Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
Recommended by: @scottishbeardman. See his family’s experience at the museum on Instagram
What the influencer says: “It’s so hands-on which can only help kids and adults learn more about our ancestors and the past. We absolutely all loved getting involved, truly inspiring.”
First opened in 1826, this museum in Inverness provides a stimulating insight into the culture and history of the Scottish Highlands. From geology and archaeology to the dramatic story of the Jacobites, the museum is full of interesting exhibitions, displays, workshops and recitals.
Find out more about the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery