Opening times

Daily except Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4.30pm

Open on Mondays for pre-booked group visits only.

Facilities

 

Overview

Step inside the HES Archives and Library in Edinburgh and explore Scotland's past through over five million historic photographs, drawings and more.

Our extensive archive in Edinburgh spans a whole range of buildings, archaeological monuments and industrial and maritime sites, giving unparalleled insight into Scotland’s stories.

The archives – compiled and managed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) – first began in 1908. Today, we hold more than five million items and continue to record all aspects of the historic environment.

What to see and do

  • Discover information about Scotland's places through documents and books
  • Browse architects’ drawings, historic photographs or excavation archives
  • Trace our changing landscape through historic and modern maps and photographs
  • Consult the National Collection of Aerial Photography - advance bookings are required
  • Access online resources such as Canmore and Scran 

Download our visitor app

Discover more on the go – the Historic Scotland app lets you find out about Scotland’s most iconic places wherever you are.

Save with an Explorer Pass

Get free entry to Scotland’s top visitor attractions with an Explorer Pass valid for 3 days or 7 days.

Become a member

Join Historic Scotland to visit our properties free of charge for a full year and support our work at the same time.

Hire a site for filming

Use one of our fantastic locations on your next shoot for an awe-inspiring backdrop to your work.

View learning activities

Our 300+ historic places serve as creative inspiration for all sorts of learning activities – and for learners of all ages.

Search our events

See the past brought to life by the imaginative year-round programme of events at our properties.