National War Museum

National War Museum

Edinburgh is a bountiful landscape for history lovers and sightseers alike, and the bustling city of ‘Auld Reekie’ contains several mind-bending museums for visitors to see. One of the most famous is undoubtedly the National War Museum, located in Edinburgh Castle and managed by Historic Environment Scotland. War is an integral reason why Scotland is the beautiful and cultured place it is today, and the National War Museum highlights over 400 years of incredible wartime history for you to see.

The National War Museum is a part of the National Museums Scotland, which includes other famous museums like the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, and the National Museum of Rural Life. The National War Museum sees over 800,000 visitors annually and is an excellent attraction to pair with the stunning Edinburgh Castle.

Come and immerse yourself in Scotland’s history from a point of view as you’ve never seen it before.

Important Details to Know

The National War Museum has several amenities and visitor access options, including accessible toilets and baby-changing facilities as needed. There is a lift for those in need of wheelchair access, as well as a hearing loop. Here are some more essential details to know before you arrive and explore the National War Museum:

How to Get There

The National War Museum is located right on the Hospital Square and Royal Mile in the heart of Edinburgh. It forms part of the Edinburgh Castle attraction and can easily be reached through various transportation methods, from cars to trains and buses.


The National War Museum is located in the Edinburgh city centre right along the Royal Mile at the address: Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG. The museum is past the Redcoat Café, and head down the hill to reach it. Several car park options are available for those planning to drive, including the National Car Par Edinburgh Castle Terrace.


Unfortunately, there isn’t a bus stop right next to the National War Museum or Edinburgh Castle, so those travelling by bus should grab a trip and drop off at the Mound Place and Grassmarket bus stations; from there, the National War Museum is a few minutes away.


Edinburgh Waverly Station is the closest train station to the National War Museum, from which Edinburgh Castle is only a short walk. Several trains stop by this station, so choose whichever is the most convenient for you.

Opening Times

The museum is open year-round, so no matter what time you’re in Edinburgh, you can expect a welcome visit to the National War Museum. Between April and September, its opening times are between 9:45 and 17:45. Between October and March, the museum is open between 9:45 and 16:45.

Ticket Prices

Entrance into the museum is absolutely free! Although, tickets to Edinburgh Castle are necessary for you to see the Scottish National War Museum. But the Castle is well worth the entry fee to see, with a famous reputation abroad as one of the most beloved attractions in Scotland. Consider it a two-for-one at half the price!

Attractions to See

Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row and are keen to discover the fascinating things to see at this wartime museum, keep these attractions in mind while you do so. There’s plenty to explore and visit, and losing track of time is easy.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle houses the National War Museum and is a highlight of many holiday-goers coming to Scotland, and for good reason! The Castle is jam-packed with things to do, from seeing the Half Moon Battery and Mons Meg to seeing the precious Honours of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny.

Once you’ve taken your tour through the War Museum, taking some time to appreciate the immense grandeur of Edinburgh Castle should be your top priority.

Grand Life of a Scotsman Exhibit

Grand Life of a Scotsman

Scottish soldiers have an international reputation as fierce warriors and brave battlemen, but why? The Grand Life of a Scotsman exhibits at the National War Museum aims to answer this question through a series of fascinating collections of Scottish soldiers’ uniforms, letters, and personal possessions.

If you want a unique insight into the mentality of Scottish soldiers and what they were fighting for during wars, then the Grand Life of a Scotsman Exhibit is the best place to do so. Also, don’t forget to say hi to the ‘Bob the Dog’ statue!

First World War Trail

First World War Trail

For those coming with children to the National War Museum, the First World War is a fantastic excursion for 8 – 11-year-olds who want to play pretend. The trail takes you along the journey of a new recruit arriving at Edinburgh Castle during the turbulent times of the First World War and has a range of activities for visitors and young ones to entertain themselves with throughout the trail.

A Nation in Arms

Nation in Arms

A National in Arms is a tactical look at how war has shaped Scotland, its people, and its lands. For war buffs who love simulation games, you can learn how Scotland’s landscape played a vital role in shaping its conflicts from the rugged Highlands to the Lowlands rivers.

This series of galleries also covers Scotland’s tenuous relationship with England throughout time, from conquers to conquered and conquers once more. Conflict is a deep part of Scotland, and there’s no better place to see it than at this fantastic exhibit.

Highland Soldier

Highland Soldier

The legendary warring fronts that moved between the Highlands and Lowlands of the country are supported by a series of stunning paintings at the Highland Soldier Gallery, focusing on how Highland soldier rebels became renowned as an international fighting force.

Learn all about how the Highlands shaped these soldiers at the National War Museum.

More Scottish Museums to Visit

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