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Edinburgh's City Observatory, also known as the Playfair Observatory, is a fascinating place, where the optimism and excitement of early scientific advances can still be felt.


Inspired by a Greek temple of the Four Winds, the Observatory was designed by William Henry Playfair in 1818.

The first Astronomer Royal to work in this building was Professor Thomas Henderson, appointed 1834, who had discovered how to measure parallax and the distance to a star while in his previous job in South Africa. 


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Working with the City of Edinburgh Council, Collective is redeveloping the City Observatory site as a new home for contemporary art: conserving and reinstating the original Playfair designs and constructing a new exhibition space and panoramic restaurant. The site is now fully to the public for the first time in its history. For more information visit the Collective Gallery website.

City Observatory

Edinburgh Market Street, Andrew Lee

City Art Centre

Admission charge

The City of Edinburgh’s Art collection is one of the finest in Scotland, and includes works by the most important Scottish artists.

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Museum of Edinburgh exterior

Museum of Edinburgh

Free Entry | Donations Welcome

Iconic items, beautiful objects, fascinating facts and gruesome tales are waiting to be discovered in this beautiful 16th century museum. 

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