Culture and heritage

Find out more about the lively cultural life of the city from historic buildings to contemporary art.

See and do overview - culture
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Edinburgh's dynamic cultural scene boasts the largest collection of historic buildings, museums, art galleries and theatres of any city in Scotland.


With its stunning Georgian and Victorian architecture, and winding medieval streets, it’s easy to see why Edinburgh has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline and is the best known and most visited of our historic buildings.

However the castle is just the start of what Edinburgh has to offer. The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland look after a wealth of properties in the city, all of which are available for you to explore.

Galleries and museums

One of the most appealing things about Edinburgh is that almost everything is within walking distance.

Some of Scotland’s most important national galleries are situated within a short stroll of the city centre.  There are also plenty of locally run museums and galleries dotted around the capital.

Try the:

  • Scottish National Gallery for the best in both international and Scottish art
  • Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art for must-see contemporary art and fantastic sculpture parks
  • Scottish National Portrait Gallery for fascinating portraiture in a rich variety of media
  • Museum of Scotland to learn the story of Scotland, in both historical and contemporary contexts

Theatres, cinemas and other venues

History or art not your thing?

Edinburgh boasts an abundance of theatres, cinemas, dance and music venues, with a range of events to cater for all tastes.

At the University

Student societies

Students have the opportunity to be involved in the cultural life of Edinburgh through the University’s student-run societies.

These include the Music Society, Footlights, the Art Society and many more.

University museums and galleries

The University of Edinburgh has many fine collections, and some include artefacts found nowhere else in the world.

Our museums and galleries include the Anatomical Museum, Centre for Research Collections, Cockburn Geological Museum, Natural History Collections, Talbot Rice Gallery, and St Cecilia's Hall: Concert Room and Music Museum.