Get a healthy dose of fresh country air and take in the sights, sounds and smells as your class explores our 1950s working farm. Explore life in the countryside during wartime, find out where the food in your lunchbox comes from and discover the wildlife on your doorstep.

Request a visit

What options are available for a visit?

Schools can choose to visit the museum as:

  • A self-guided visit
  • A facilitated workshop.

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

What can my class see and do on a visit to National Museum of Rural Life?

  • Visit our museum and historic Georgian farmhouse to discover what life was like for country people in the past and how this has shaped Scotland's countryside today.
  • Meet the horses, sheep, cows and hens on our 1950s working farm and watch our dairy herd being milked.
  • Pre-school and primary school children can try milking 'Clover' the mechanical cow by hand.
  • Older students can examine rural issues such as dairy production and how our food gets from field to fork.
  • Visit our interactive exhibition, Garden Detectives. Aimed at 5-9 year olds, it will get your class thinking about the wildlife on their doorstep.
  • Explore what role the farm played during the Second World War. Visit the bothy where German prisoner of war Heinrich Luckel lived.

What additional activities are on offer?

  • Free accompanied tours of our working 1950s farm, which preserves many traditional and rare farming methods.
  • Excellent resources for ecological studies including woodland, farmland and wetland habitats.
  • Workshops and live interpretation sessions led by experienced facilitators - full details can be found in our schools programmes.
  • Free teacher-led object handling sessions - explore the past using real and replica objects.
  • Explorer backpacks with binoculars, bug boxes, maps and activity sheets.
  • Farm Explorer tractor-trailer ride.
  • Outdoor play tractor, bats, balls and parachute games for younger pupils.

Do I need to book in advance?

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

How much does a visit cost?

Pre-booked self-guided visits and downloadable resources are all free of charge. All other activities cost £70 per class, unless otherwise stated. Maximum class size is 33 students.

Your school will be invoiced after your visit.

What workshops are available?

Details of our workshops and Enabler/Facilitator-led sessions can be found in our primary and secondary schools programmes.

How long do workshops last and when should we arrive?

  • Workshops last for 75 minutes unless otherwise indicated. The duration of all workshops 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 put bags and coats in the cloakroom.
  • You should allow additional time after your workshop if you wish to visit the shop.

Will there be time for us to visit the rest of the museum?

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

Can I download resources for my visit?

You can download our free Garden Detectives teachers' pack [2586KB] here.

Is there parking for our bus / minibus?

There is dedicated, free coach parking on-site.

Is there a space to leave our bags and jackets?

There is a cloakroom adjoining the Learning Centre.

Where can we eat our lunch?

Lunch can be eaten in the Learning Centre. There is also a separate bookable school lunch room. Please lte us know if you wish to use the lunch room when you book your visit.

You can eat lunch in the picnic field in good weather.

Is the space we will be visiting fully accessible?

The museum is ramped throughout with two lifts, one extra large. There is a good path network on the lower southern side of the farm. The tractor trailer site transport has a wheelchair lift.

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.  Please contact us on schoolsnmorl@nms.ac.uk to find out more.

Can I take photographs?

Yes, although flash is not permitted within the museum.

Safety guidelines

You will be sent full safety guidelines with your booking form. Please check these before your visit. Our safety guidelines are very important, especially if you are having a farm tour. There are sinks to wash your hands in the Learning Centre.

Is there a shop / café?

There is a shop and café on the ground floor of the museum (please ensure there is a ratio of 1 adult to 10 children when in shop).

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. 

Contact us

Tel: 0131 247 4377
schoolsnmorl@nms.ac.uk