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Redcoast Cafe and Edinburgh Castle
Photograph: Irina Crick /

This controversial UK attraction could be getting a new name

The Scots are upset

Annie McNamee
Written by
Annie McNamee

If there’s one thing that’s a sensitive subject in Scotland, it's the English. More specifically, the relationship between the nations, which is kind of similar to that of the couple you know who have broken up dozens of times but are still ‘making it work’. Even though they have different hobbies, can’t agree on anything, and one of them outlawed the other’s cultural traditions in the eighteenth century. 

It doesn’t take a genius, then, to realise that naming the café at Edinburgh Castle – one of the biggest tourist attractions in the capital – after the English soldiers who fought against the Scots, might not go down too well with the locals. The Redcoat Café, which is named after the distinctive jackets worn by the British army until the 1800s, has come under fire this week. According to the creators of a petition set up in favour of changing the name, it ‘glorifies and honours [the British soldiers] who played a significant role in subjugating Scotland and suppressing its people’.

The name is not new – it has been that way since the early ’90s – but a recent refurb and grand re-opening has brought new attention to the café. Frustrations have been echoed on social media by many, including Edinburgh councilwoman Lesley MacInnes, who described it as ‘an appalling tone deaf choice of name’.

Not everyone is upset by the name. Stephen Kerr, MSP for central Scotland, suggested on X (formerly Twitter) that the ‘fury’ was unnecessary. 

A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland, who oversee the castle and its upkeep, has said they are ‘aware of the comments on social media on both sides of the debate’ and that ‘the name has been in place since 1992 and reflects the military history which is told throughout the castle’. 

‘However, the way we interpret history is constantly evolving. As part of our future plans for Edinburgh Castle, the names of both the Redcoat Cafe and Jacobite function room will now be reviewed.’

And this isn’t the only bit of controversy that’s landed in Edinburgh in recent weeks. The other day we at Time Out reported on a brand-new £2 billion tram route planned for the capital that many locals aren’t too happy about – you can read more about that here.

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