Edinburgh Castle's Redcoat Cafe re-opening upsets independence supporters despite same name for 30 years

The Redcoat cafe at Edinburgh Castle re-opened on Saturday, February 10.The Redcoat cafe at Edinburgh Castle re-opened on Saturday, February 10.
The Redcoat cafe at Edinburgh Castle re-opened on Saturday, February 10. | Scott Louden
Edinburgh Castle cafe re-opening causes stir

The re-opening of the cafe at Edinburgh Castle at the weekend has angered supporters of Scottish independence, despite the name being the same for more than 30 years.

The Redcoat Cafe's re-opening was announced on Saturday, February 10, with SNP figures quick to criticise the name, despite the cafe at the popular tourist attraction having been called that since it opened in 1992.

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Redcoats was an informal name for British infantrymen who wore a distinctive garment into battles. Scottish independence supporters associate the army, clad in red, with the killing of Scots at the Battle of Culloden Moor in 1746, marking the defeat of the Jacobite movement.

And an online petition calling for the cafe to be re-named has gathered 672 signatures since it was launched yesterday.

However, many unionist figures and newspapers have been quick to mock the outcry, questioning why people are complaining now despite the Redcoat Cafe having served customers under the same name for 32 years. The Castle was garrisoned by redcoats in the past while Scottish regiments also donned the outfit. 

A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland (HES), said: “We are aware of the comments on social media on both sides of the debate about the name of the café at Edinburgh Castle.  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.

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"As part of our future plans for Edinburgh Castle, the names of both the Redcoat Café and Jacobite function room will now be reviewed.”

Many SNP figures and Scottish independence supporters took to social media at the weekend to criticise the cafe's name when Edinburgh Castle tweeted about the cafe re-opening on Saturday. Edinburgh SNP councillor Lesley Macinnes said: "What an appalling tone deaf choice of name. Who on earth decided on it?"

Dunfermline and West Fife SNP MP Douglas Chapman called for a "rebrand" and raged: "I don't think many will be 'popping in' for anything. Hey @HistEnvScot @edinburghcastle - how about a swift rebrand? Redcoat, really?"

And, Angus Brendan MacNeil, the independent Member of Parliament for Na h-Eileanan an Iar covering the Outer Hebrides, who left the SNP last summer after he was suspended by the party, said: "The "Redcoats Cafe" is useful stupidly - a new generation will within a month know all about the Butcher Duke of Cumberland. Prompts to history from Massacre of Glencoe to Culloden and afterwards, both by Government forces, are useful."

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Some supporters of Scottish independence have called for a boycott of the cafe, with one saying on X, formerly Twitter: "Of course Edinburgh Castle should not have the Redcoat Cafe. What were they thinking about?"

While another added: "You have just lost yourself ALOT of revenue and Scottish visitors. Anyone that names a cafe in Scotland's most important castle ‘Redcoat Café’ either has no knowledge of Scottish history or has full knowledge and doesn’t care the atrocities committed against Scots by redcoats."

However, given the fact that the Redcoat Cafe has been in existence since 1992, these criticisms have been ridiculed by unionist politicians and supporters.

Scottish Conservatives Mid Scotland and Fife list MSP Murdo Fraser said on X: "Uh-oh. Edinburgh Castle is trending. Hasn’t been this much faux outrage since that weather map thing."

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And Central Scotland Scottish Conservatives List MSP Stephen Kerr added: "One thing about this whole Redcoat cafe "Furore" is that it reveals how few Nationalists have visited Edinburgh Castle, one of our biggest and best tourist attractions and a key part of Scottish history..."

The Redcoat cafe at Edinburgh Castle re-opened on Saturday, February 10.The Redcoat cafe at Edinburgh Castle re-opened on Saturday, February 10.
The Redcoat cafe at Edinburgh Castle re-opened on Saturday, February 10. | Scott Louden

And unionist supporters were quick to mock Scottish independence supporters for their outrage about the cafe's name.

Labelling their X post '#cafegate', one said: "Tickled pink to see the late realisation by many Indy supporters that Edinburgh Castle, which has been the living embodiment of the Union since 1700's is now the living embodiment of Unionism."

Another added: "Apparently, certain eejits can't understand why there's a Redcoat Cafe at Edinburgh Castle and claim it's an insult to Scotland... when nationalists forget their own history, it's an embarrassment. They're the only 'insult to Scotland' around here."

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In an article about the Redcoat Cafe re-opening, the Scottish Daily Express newspaper said SNP figures have found themselves "triggered" by the name, and accused nationalists of "just catching up" with the name the cafe has had for so long.

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