Step back in time with your pupils and discover the story of Scotland at war. Relive wartime experiences, from the front line to the Home Front, through personal mementoes and military equipment.

How do I request a visit to the National War Museum?

Booking for the 2019–20 school year opens on 12 August 2019. Please email schools@nms.ac.uk for any urgent enquiries until then.

If you are planning a visit with an overseas group, please see our overseas school pages.

What options are available for a visit?

Schools can choose to visit the museum as:

  • A general visit, free of charge
  • A facilitated workshop or handling session

Please select your preferred option when completing the booking request form.

What can my class see and do during their visit?

  • Explore the history of conflict through our themed galleries.
  • Follow the First and Second World War trails around the museum.
  • Take part in workshops or activities led by  facilitators - full details can be found here 
  • Visit our special exhibition gallery
  • Visit the rest of Edinburgh Castle as part of your day

Do I need to book in advance?

To ensure your visit runs smoothly, all school visits to the National War Museum must be booked in advance. Please complete the booking request form here.

How much does a visit cost?

Pre-booked general visits and downloadable resources are all free of charge.

All other activities have a cost, unless otherwise stated. Details of this can be found under the individual session pages. Maximum class size is 33 students. 

Your school will be invoiced after your visit.

Do you run sessions and activities for pupils?

Details of our workshops and sessions can be found here 

How long do sessions last and when should we arrive?

  • The duration of all sessions can be found in the schools programmes.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your workshop is due to begin so you can use the toilets and travel to the War Museum from the Castle Esplanade. In busy periods, this can take up to 20 minutes travel time.
  • You should allow additional time after your workshop if you wish to visit the shop or the rest of Edinburgh Castle
  • Edinburgh Castle will be busier by mid-afternoon so please ensure you leave 20 minutes to return to your bus at the end of the day. 

Will there be time to visit the rest of the museum before or after our workshop?

  • We recommend that if you book a morning session you visit the rest of the museum and Castle after lunch.
  • If you book an afternoon session you should visit the rest of the museum and Castle before lunch.

Can I download resources for my visit?

How do we find the National War Museum?

The National War Museum is located within Edinburgh Castle. You can download a map to help you find us here.

The War Museum is location number 5. 

Is there parking for our bus or minibus?

There is a coach drop-off point at the bottom of the Castle Esplanade and on Johnston Terrace.

Where can we eat our lunch?

Due to renovation works, there is currently no indoor lunch area at Edinburgh Castle. Lunches can be eaten in the Castle grounds. You can ask National War Museum staff to borrow picnic blankets. 

Is there a space to leave our bags and coats?

For classes who have booked a session, there is a small cloakroom space outside the Education Room, where items can be left during the session. We recommend only bringing jackets and lunches. 

Is the space we'll be visiting fully accessible?

A minibus can be provided to take wheelchair users from the Castle Esplanade to the Education Room. The Education Room is accessible but it relies on a stair lift so there would be a time issue for large groups of wheelchair users or those with other mobility issues.

You can find full information for visitors with disabilities here.

Do you have a risk assessment we can use?

There are guidelines for teachers to help you write your own risk assessment. Teachers can make a free pre-visit to carry out their risk assessment. Contact us on schools@nms.ac.uk for further details.

Can we look round the rest of Edinburgh Castle?

School groups should adhere to Historic Environment Scotland’s guidelines for school visits at all times. Teachers and groups leaders should also familiarise themselves with Historic Environment Scotland's hazard information before visiting.

Do you have safety guidelines?

We will send you full safety guidelines with your booking form. Please check them before your visit. Please read and follow any safety notices and instructions from Visitor Experience staff.

Can I take photographs?

Yes.

Please check special exhibitions and other areas around Edinburgh Castle as photography restrictions may apply. 

Is there a shop and café?

There is a small shop in the National War Museum. There is also a shop at the ticket point when you enter/exit the Castle. (please ensure there is a ratio of 1 adult to 10 children when in shop).

There are a number of cafes located around Edinburgh Castle. Packed lunches cannot be eaten within them. 

How do we cancel our visit?

We understand that you may need to cancel or change your booking. Please contact us as soon as possible to let us know of any changes.

National Museums Scotland reserve the right to charge a fee for short notice cancellations. Bookings cancelled:

  • Less than 3 weeks prior to the visit may incur an administration fee of 50% of the value of chargeable events
  • Less than 2 weeks prior to the visit may incur an administration fee of 100% of the value of chargeable events.

Last minute requests to change a visit date may also incur an administration fee as above. In certain circumstances, such as adverse weather conditions, National Museums Scotland may waive the cancellation fee. 

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