Trinity House Maritime Museum staircase

{Edinburgh} Trinity House Maritime Museum

Forget the whole “there’s no bad weather, just wrong clothing” thing – today was just miserable! But I needed an excuse to get the kids out the house, and as fate has it, just yesterday a post popped up on my Facebook feed about Trinity House Maritime Museum here in Edinburgh. I was aware of its existence before, but it hadn’t been on my radar as somewhere for families.

Trinity House Maritime Museum

Trinity House Maritime Museum is a Georgian House in the heart of Leith, just a few minutes walk from the Foot of Leith Walk, and was once the base of the Incorporation of Mariners and Shipmasters. Now it holds a collection of maritime artefacts and memorabilia that document the maritime history of Leith, celebrating 600 years of seafaring.

Trinity House Maritime Museum staircase

The museum is normally open on Fridays from April to September, with access by guided tour only (tickets can be booked via their website), including the Master’s Room on the ground floor, the vast Convening Room on the upper floor with an enormous mahogany table covered in all kinds of interesting objects, and the 16th century vaults below the house. I had a chat with one of the staff, who informed me that the tours were not particularly aimed at families, though if there are any children present they do have a penguin trail (inspired by a penguin carving in the collection) that children can do.

However, the museum is apparently trying to widen its audience, and that’s how we found ourselves at their ‘Pirate Day’ today – a free, family friendly, drop-in open day to coincide with the Easter holidays. Things to do included a bug trail and pirate hat making in the main house, and a host of fun games and activities in the vaults – from dressing up, walking the plank and a ‘canonball’ toss, to pirate puzzles, building with Lego, and playing battleships. There was a box of storybooks too, and visitors were invited to share their favourite pirate jokes on a flip chart.

Trinity House Maritime Museum

There is a second Pirate Day taking place on Wednesday 10 April (drop by any time between 11am and 4pm), and an Open Day as part of the Leith Festival in June is also already in the works (Sat 8 June) which will also include family friendly activities. Other plans, according to the staff I chatted to, include opening for Edinburgh Doors Open Day in September, a family friendly guided tour for Halloween, and a Christmas Open Day. The best way to find out about upcoming events, is to keep an eye on the Trinity House Maritime Museum website.

Trinity House Maritime Museum octants

I honestly thought we’d be in and out in about half an hour, but we ended up spending almost two hours doing all the Pirate Day activities, as well as looking at some of the objects on display. My 9 yr old was particularly interested in the narwhal tusks and swordfish swords, and all the scientific instruments like the octants and other navigational instruments. If you’re looking for something a little bit different to do, then Trinity House Maritime Museum is definitely one to keep on your radar!

Visitor Information

General opening hours are Fridays from April to September, by guided tour only (1pm & 3pm)

>> Book Guided Tour Tickets

Also open for special events throughout the year, e.g. Leith Festival, Doors Open Day.

>> Check out What’s On

How to get there

Address: 99 Kirkgate, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6BJ

By Tram: The ‘Foot of the Walk’ tram stop is a 3 minute walk away

By Bus: There are various buses that stop within a 5 minute walk away, on Great Junction Street, Duke Street and Leith Walk, incl. 7, 12, 14, 16, 21, 25, 35, 49

Trinity House Maritime Museum

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