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Home > Here Are the Best Museums in Scotland

A kingdom that has been invaded and settled many times, Scotland is deep and complex in its history. If you want to learn more about the country’s rich past, don’t just explore the beautiful Highland countryside. Be sure to visit some of the top museums on your next Scottish vacation. Here are some of the ones you won’t want to miss.


Set on the restored Hay’s Dock in Lerwick, the Shetland Museum is a must if you’re interested in the history of the Shetland Islands. The area is renowned for its Shetland wool and its Scandinavian influences, particularly from Norway. The islands did not join Scotland until the 15th Century, and the museum’s collections tell the story of what life was like back in medieval times.


One of the top visitor attractions in the UK, the National Museum of Scotland is a great day out for the whole family. It houses collections covering history, culture, science, technology, natural history, and more. There are lots of interactive things you can do with the kids, including the Energy Wheel that lights up as you exercise, or digging for fossils in the Adventure Planet section.


Her Majesty’s Yacht is the former royal yacht of Queen Elizabeth II, and it now forms a part of the iconic Albert Dock. Visitors will get the chance to experience what life was like on board this floating residence from its years of service, from 1954 to 1997. There’s free parking, a free audio tour, and plenty of things to keep the kids entertained (including homemade fudge sampling at the Navy sweetshop).


It first opened in 1901, and is now one of Glasgow’s most famous attractions. The best thing is it’s free to visit, and there are 22 themed galleries with over 8,000 art pieces or artifacts to explore. The collections range from arms and armor to international work from various art movements.


See the birthplace of the illustrious poet, Robert Burns. He’s best known for writing Auld Lang Syne, a poem that is now an iconic song performed during New Year’s Eve and Hogmanay celebrations. The museum is a chance to see where Burns lived, and where he wrote some of his most accomplished works.


You simply cannot enjoy a vacation in Scotland without learning about the brave and unrelenting William Wallace. The castle is located just a 10-minute drive from the Wallace Monument, and is remembered as the place where English troops were starved into surrendering during the Battle of Stirling Bridge.


This transport museum, opened in June 2011, has previously picked up the European Museum of the Year Award. It is now one of the city’s most prized destinations, with more than 3,000 different objects on display. Delve into Glasgow’s shipbuilding past or climb aboard the trains and trams to get a sense of Scotland’s transport system throughout modern history.


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