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Schools visits to the National War Museum

If you're studying war, the military or conflict, a visit to the National War Museum can be a unique and exciting experience for your pupils.
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Wartime Life Room

Bring the Homefront to life with our 1940s themed living-room handling session. Discover the people behind four real life stories of the Second World War in this hands on session.

Wartime Life Room
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General Visit

Located within Edinburgh Castle, the museum is available to visit free of charge for pre-booked UK school groups.

Booking a general visit provides you with:

- Free entry to the National War Museum and the rest of Edinburgh Castle.
- Pre-booked tickets available to collect on arrival to save time queuing.
- Access to a range of resources you can use beforehand or print and bring with to use during the day.

To book a general self-led visit please complete a Historic Environment Scotland Booking form

National War Museum trails

Request a visit to the National War Museum

Submit an enquiry about a schools visit. Please note booking confirmation may take up to two weeks as we confirm ticket allocations with Edinburgh Castle.

Request a visit NWM

National War Museum

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG
Tel: 0300 123 6789

Admission

Entry to the museum is free.

Historic Environment Scotland charges for admission to Edinburgh Castle where the National War Museum is located. 

Further visiting information is available on the Edinburgh Castle website.

Opening times

Museum open
Open daily, 09:45 - 17:45
From 1 October – 31 March, Edinburgh Castle will close at 17:00 daily

Top tips for visiting the National War Museum

Before you visit

Read the visiting planning information on our website to familiarise yourself and your pupils with the site.

Orientation

Download Edinburgh Castle's map to help you plan your route to the National War Museum (location number 5). Teachers can also book a pre-visit free of charge to assist their planning.

Supervision

Pupils need to be supervised at all times when visiting the museum and Edinburgh Castle. We recommend splitting your class into smaller groups and assigning one adult per group. Choose a visible meeting point, like the Haig Statue in Hospital Square (outside the National War Museum). 

One o'Clock Gun

Bear in mind that the One o'Clock Gun fires at 1pm, and the surrounding area does get busy from 12.50pm. In peak summer season, you may need to queue to access areas such as the Scottish Crown Jewels. 

Resources

There are a range of resources you can use with your class during your visit. Remember to bring pencils and/or clipboards.

 

Other useful information: 

  • Due to renovation works, there is currently no indoor lunch area at Edinburgh Castle. Lunches can be eaten outside.

  • There is a coach drop-off point at the bottom of the Castle Esplanade and on Johnston Terrace. The nearest parking zones are at Castle Terrace and Johnston Terrace.

  • As the National War Museum is situated within Edinburgh Castle, a travel subsidy is available from Historic Environment Scotland. If applying for this subsidy please ensure you quote ‘visiting Edinburgh Castle/National War Museum’.

  • Find out more about planning your visit to the National War Museum.

Preparing for your visit

What can my class see and do?

  • Explore the history of conflict through our themed galleries.
  • Follow the First War trail or Maths at the Castle trail
  • 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.

 

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. Your school will be invoiced after your visit.

When should we arrive?

Please arrive on time to allow yourself time to travel to the museum from the Castle Esplanade. In busy periods, this can take up to 20 minutes.

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.

What measures are in place to ensure a safe visit?

A range of safety measures have been put in place in the museum in line with Scottish Government guidelines. This includes face coverings, enhanced cleaning, sneeze screens and hand sanitising stations throughout the museum. Please read our guidance before visiting with your group. 

We ask that you:

  • Keep your distance from others
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided and wash your hands often
  • Face coverings are recommended visitors aged 12 and over

If a member of your group begins to display COVID-19 symptoms whilst in the museum, please alert the nearest member of the Visitor Experience team (dressed in navy/purple) immediately.

Please also read Edinburgh Castle's access guidelines before you visit.

Can I download resources for my visit?

We have a range of resources available to use in both the classroom and museum. You can find them in the Learning Resources section.

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During your 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.

The National 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.  

Where can we leave our bags and coats?

At present, our cloakroom is closed. You will therefore need to carry your jackets and bags around the castle with you. Please do not bring any items that you are unable to carry during your visit.

Is the space we'll be visiting fully accessible?

You can find full information about access across the Castle in the Edinburgh Castle Access Guide.

Can we look round the rest of Edinburgh Castle?

Yes, your booking allows you to explore the rest of the Castle. For full details about which sections are currently open, please see the Edinburgh Castle Access Guide.

Can we take photographs?

Yes. 

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

Is there a shop/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 cafés located around Edinburgh Castle. Packed lunches cannot be eaten within them. 

What safety guidelines should we follow around COVID?

Ensure everyone attending, including adults, are aware of Edinburgh Castle guidelines, including wearing a face mask.  Guidance can be found on the Edinburgh Castle Access Guide.

Do you have a risk assessment we can use?

Historic Environment Scotland will provide you with the relevant guidelines to assist you in writing your own risk assessment.  

Do you have safety guidelines?

We ask that pupils visiting in school groups are accompanied at all times during their visit at a ratio of: 

1 adult: 5 pupils (under the age of 5) 

1 adult: 10 pupils (primary school pupils) 

1 adult: 15 pupils (secondary school pupils) 

Where pupils require support on a 1:1 ratio, this adult should be included over and above these ratios. 

Please read and follow any safety notices and instructions from Visitor Experience staff. 

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. 

Email learning@hes.scot 

Terms and conditions of booking

For facilitated (charged) sessions:

  • Scottish State schools (where appropriate) should raise a Purchase Order through their Local Authority procurement system for the maximum cost of charged sessions.
  • Purchase Order numbers should be notified to schools@nms.ac.uk at least seven days in advance of the visit.
  • For sessions charged per pupil, schools will be charged for the number of pupils booked, unless 10 days advance notice of change in numbers is notified to schools@nms.ac.uk

Cancellation policy

  • National Museums Scotland reserve the right to charge a fee for short notice cancellations or no-shows.
  • Bookings cancelled less than three weeks prior to the visit may incur an administration fee of 50% of the value of chargeable events.
  • Bookings cancelled less than two weeks prior to the visit may incur an administration fee of 100% of the value of chargeable events.
  • No-show or last-minute cancellations of free workshops or staff-led sessions may incur a £50.00 administration fee.
  • In certain circumstances, such as adverse weather conditions, National Museums Scotland may waive the administration fee.
  • Cancellations should be notified in writing to schools@nms.ac.uk

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