National Museum of Scotland – Viewing Gallery

Edinburgh has some of the best views of any city on the planet, and the ones that you get from the viewing gallery on the top of the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street are pretty spectacular.

It’s not promoted hugely, even within the museum, so it doesn’t get that busy and sometimes you can have the place completely to yourself.  There are a couple of routes to get toit. There is a direct lift to level 7 which you can get to from the ‘new’ Tower extension at the top of Chambers Street across from Greyfriar’s Bobby; or, if you are coming from the old museum building, you can get the lift to level 5, head left along the balcony through the Enquire room go through a doorway beside the Elements of Chemistry exhibit that takes you to another lift for the final ascent to the gallery.

On the viewing platform, there are four large blocks of orange sandstone. These are Andy Goldsworthy’s ‘Hutton Roof’ sculptures, which pay tribute to the renowned Edinburgh geologist and ‘Father of modern geology’ James Hutton, whose study of the erosion of rocks led to his theory of uniformitarianism which explains how the features of the Earth’s crust can be explained by natural processes.

The planting around the edges of the gallery has been selected to replicate the fauna that you would find around Scotland, with examples of coastal, summit, grassland, woodland and bog vegetation.

The gallery is open whenever the museum is, as long as it’s not too icy or windy. There are a couple of benches as well, so it’s also a great spot for a picnic.

National Museum of Scotland’s website

Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF

0300 123 6789