National Museum of Scotland

Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, UK

History buffs shouldn’t miss this sprawling museum housed in adjacent modern sandstone and classic Victorian buildings—the latter of which features a magnificent atrium with soaring pillars and high windows. The diverse collections here take visitors through the history of Scotland and around the world, covering everything from nature, science, and technology to art, design, and fashion.

Start in the Grand Gallery, where you’ll find a giant deer skeleton, a massive whale skull, and machinery used to smash atoms, then watch the Millennium Clock chime the hour. Also worth exploring are the Celtic, Roman, and Viking artifacts, including the famous Lewis chess pieces; Mary Queen of Scots’ exquisite jewelry collection; Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal ever; twists on classic tartan by top designers like Jean Paul Gaultier; and the miniature Arthur’s Seat coffins.

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