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Collective Gallery 2018 12 11 11 crop

Guided Tours

Explore architecture, astronomy, and art.




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Collective is a fascinating site with a rich history of astronomy, time-keeping and, more recently, art. Join us for a guided tour and we’ll share some of the remarkable stories, discoveries, and personalities which have shaped Calton Hill and made their influence felt across the globe over the past 200 years.

Due to Coronavirus safety measures and the difficulty of maintaining distancing in some of our spaces, tours are currently limited to 6 people from up to 4 households. This does mean we can personalise your tour and answer all of your questions!

On the tour you’ll explore the historic and contemporary architecture, including William Playfair’s iconic Observatory and the first new buildings to be constructed on Calton Hill in over a century (recently short-listed for the Best Building in Scotland award).

We’ll take a closer look at the telescopes and astronomical instruments on site, including the original 1831 ‘transit’ telescope, and tell the story of how they allowed sailors to accurately navigate around the world, enabling Scotland's imperial expansion, and led to the introduction of Edinburgh’s One O'Clock time-ball and gun.

Finally we’ll bring you up to date with details of our recent redevelopment of the City Observatory into a centre for contemporary art, inviting artists based in Scotland and internationally to discover and engage with this unique site in new ways. The tour will end with a free takeaway tea/black coffee from our Kiosk, courtesy of restaurant partners The Lookout by Gardener's Cottage.


- Tours are available at 11am, every Thursday – Sunday, and last one hour.

- In order to keep your group and our staff safe, tours are limited to single groups/parties of up to 6 people from up to 4 households. Please wear a face covering and read about our new site safety measures here

- Tours cost £30 per group/party. Tickets include a free tea/black coffee from our Kiosk, courtesy of restaurant partners The Lookout by Gardener's Cottage.

- Tickets must be booked in advance via Eventbrite and are non-refundable.

- Please assemble at the main gate to Collective (opposite the National Monument) 5 minutes before your tour begins at 11am.

- Access to the upper telescope involves ascending a narrow spiral staircase and is not wheelchair accessible. Read about Access at Collective here

- Calton Hill is an exposed location so please dress for the weather!