The medieval John Knox House is one of the oldest buildings on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Knox, a prominent Reformation leader, is thought to have lived here in the 16th century, and the building now hosts tours chronicling the life of Knox and the houses’ other famous resident, James Mossman, goldsmith to Mary, Queen of Scots.
Many visitors catch a glimpse of the exterior of the 15th-century house during sightseeing tours, walking tours, and hop-on hop-off bus tours of Edinburgh. For those who want to take a closer look at the historic property, both self-guided tours and guided tours of the house are available. Opt for an audio guide or join one of the guide-led tours, which are run by the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Guided tours focus on historical topics, such as the Scottish Reformation and the former inhabitants of the house.
Things to Know Before You Go
- John Knox House Museum is a must for history enthusiasts.
- A café can be found at the adjoining Scottish Storytelling Centre.
- The house features a spiral staircase, making it inaccessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
John Knox House Museum is located in Edinburgh Old Town on the Royal Mile, an historic thoroughfare connecting Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. From Edinburgh Waverley railway station, it is just a 5-minute walk away via North Bridge and the Royal Mile.
When to Get There
The house is open from Monday through Saturday year-round, and daily during July and August. July and August are the busiest time; to avoid the crowds that wander in off the Royal Mile, go in early morning or late afternoon.
The Famous Residents of John Knox House
Though the house is replete with period features, including the painted ceilings and wood paneling of the Oak Room, it’s the history of the famous inhabitants that truly makes the attraction so intriguing. Guides recount facts about former resident James Mossman, the goldsmith to Mary, Queen of Scots, who was ultimately arrested and executed after the Marian civil war.
John Knox, the founder of Scotland’s Presbyterian Church and a leading figure in the Reformation is also associated with the property, though no concrete historical evidence is available to confirm this claim.