Chesspieces at the National Museum of Scotland

Mercat Tours has launched five new tours at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh that vary in theme from how to decode symbols to Scotland’s history.

Each tour lasts one hour, and the full list comprises A History of Scotland in 20 Objects; What Makes a Scot?; Scotland’s Dark History; Exploding the Myths; and Symbols of Scotland.

When groups meets their Mercat tour guide they’ll receive an introduction about the story of the National Museum of Scotland, the history of Edinburgh and a bit about the Old Town.

Overview of themed tours

A History of Scotland in 20 Objects will take groups through some of the museum’s exhibitions, from Beginnings to A Changing Nation. The tour will tell a story of Scotland’s history through objects in the collections and will follows a narrative that covers key areas of Scotland’s history. 

On What Makes a Scot?, visitors can learn about Scottish identity, from the earliest people to Scots today. The tour will tell a broad story of Scotland through objects such as the Lewis Chessmen (a group of 12th-century chess pieces) and the St Andrew’s Flag.

A Scotland’s Dark History tour will look at aspects of Scotland’s bloodier past as well as many traditional beliefs, superstitions and myths, from early rituals, through to the darker side of the Enlightenment.

Those who’d like to learn about the realities behind some of the myths surrounding Scotland can take an Exploding the Myths tour. It will break down certain preconceptions about the country, the people and its history, using objects in the museum including Pictish Stones, jewellery and covenanting flags.

The fifth new tour at the National Museum of Scotland, Scottish Symbols, looks closely at symbols of Scotland, in images and objects that people associate with the Scots. This tour will cover some core symbols such as the Lion Rampant, the royal coat of arms, and bagpipes, whisky and tartan.

Group booking information

The five new tours are each able to accommodate up to 20 people, while larger groups can be split up and led by multiple tour guides.

For further information visit or