The Royal Scots Regimental Museum Edinburgh

Another one of the many museums situated in Edinburgh Castle that stands on the top of Castle Rock and near the Norman Chapel of Saint Margaret, the Royal Scots Regimental Museum is privately owned but open to the public with free entry. It displays the history of the oldest regular infantry regiment of the British army. It is built on the site of the former Scottish United Services Museum and is beside the National War Museum of Scotland.

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The Regiment's origins date back to 1633 to the reign of Charles I when he ruled without Parliament from 1629 to 1640. The history touches on the weapons, medals and trophies from this date to the present. If you are a war history buff, you will not leave disappointed.

Entrance to the Museum in Edinburgh Castle

Founded in 1930, the Scottish United Services Museum was designed to commemorate Scottish soldiers killed in the First World War, but it closed in April 1998 and then was partly renovated as the Royal Scots Regimental Museum opening in April 2000, but it was officially opened on the 27th of June 1991 by its Colonel-in-Chief, H.R.H. The Princess Royal who was appointed to this position in 1983 by the Queen. Your entry is greeted by a piper in full Scottish and military regalia

The original purpose of the Regiment was for service in France during the Thirty Years War against the Habsburg Family of Spain and Austria. Within 2 years, a force of over 8000 had been raised mostly composed of veterans from King Gustave Adolphus' mercenaries. There was not much native British content but the Royal Warrant creating the purpose made the Regiment British in name and servant to the Royal Will. They were recalled to the United Kingdom in 1661 as the British army was being reorganized to purge it of the influence of the Cromwell's New Model Army.

Its first major victory was at Tangier in 1680 during one of the wars against the Dutch. It helped crush the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion against James II in 1685 who was an illegitimate son of Charles II and had tired to claim the throne. He was executed for this act. In 1686, the Regiment was divided up into two battalions, a situation that remained so until 1949.


Once the Regiment was broken up, the two battalions always served in separate actions. Their service continued gloriously during the Spanish War of Succession when they fought against the French who wanted to put Philip of Anjou on the throne of Spain as per the will of the deceased Charles II of Spain. Then, they moved to Ireland until 1742. Other engagements include the Austrian War of Succession and the Battle of Culloden where Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated.

Sign post for the Scots Museum


From European campaigns, the Regiments moved to act in the colonial wars between France and the United Kingdom. They served in Canada and the West Indies taking Montreal in 1760 and losing over half of its strength in Haiti. The Regiment became 4 battalions during the Napoleonic Wars. The 2nd battalion was in India between 1805 and 1831. But, due to high casualty rates, the 3rd and 4th battalions were disbanded in 1815. The first medals were won during the Crimean War of 1853 to 1856 to stop Russia's expansion at the expense of the Ottoman Empire. They then moved to South Africa during the Boer War of 1899 to 1902.

Not the main museum entrance but a very good history if the regiment is in here


During the two World Wars, the battalion strength was always increased. Firstly, in reference to the First World War, 15 battalions served actively and 11000 died with 40000 wounded. They saw action everywhere including Dardanelles and North Russia. In 1918, HRH Princess Mary became the Colonel-in-Chief and oversaw the reduction in strength to 2 battalions again. She held the position until 1965. Secondly, when the Second World War opened, the impressive abilities of the Regiment were soon put on display when the 1st battalion was sent as part of the British Expeditionary Force in France, but were not able to reach Dunkirk, thus many of them died and were taken prisoner after a valiant fight. The 2nd battalion was in Hong Kong and tried to resist the Japanese but were also taken prisoner. Both were reformed in mid 1942 and saw action in Burma and Italy.

During the Cold War, the Regiment served in Cyprus and Korea among many others, but the two battalions were amalgamated in 1949. In 1983, HRH the Princess Royal was named as Colonel-in-Chief. Following the end of the Cold War, the Regiment served in the Gulf War of 1991 and it is now part of the 16 Air Assault Brigade.

For more information on the Royal Scots click here




Welcome to the capital city of Scotland and the Regimental Museum in Edinburgh