Merchiston Castle School Main Building

Merchiston Castle School

Merchiston is set in 100 acres of beautiful parkland, four miles from the centre of Edinburgh and just 20 minutes from Edinburgh’s international airport, which has over 100 direct routes. Only an hour’s flight from London, Edinburgh’s rich culture offers stimulation and excitement to the boys, whether they are visiting an art gallery or attending an international rugby fixture.

A Value Added Education

With an ethos based on traditional values, Merchiston encourages self-reliance and independence, as well as respect and tolerance for others. The School’s goal is to help every boy reach his full potential and leave Merchiston ready for the world. Merchiston has strong and effective approaches to develop each boy’s personal achievement and boasts an impressive record of helping boys excel far beyond their expected results at GCSE and A level. Arts and Humanities are very strong and the School has particular strengths in Mathematics and Science. Every year around 85% of pupils gain entry to their first choice of University, including Imperial College, University College London, the London School of Economics and approximately 10% each year go to Oxford or Cambridge.

There is a sport for every boy at Merchiston

There is a long and successful tradition of sport at Merchiston, with equal emphasis on recreation and excellence. Within fantastic facilities, there are over 20 sports on offer which cater for all interests and levels of ability. As one of the leading innovators of sports education in the UK, the School established Scotland’s first tennis academy in 2007 and more recently its own golf academy. The School is currently represented at national and international level in many sports including athletics, cricket and rugby.


The School has excellent facilities including a Science centre, sports hall, IT centre, library, theatre, music centre, swimming pool, sports courts and pitches. The Art and Design centre offers scope both within the curriculum and in pupils’ free time for painting and the practical skills in design, wood and metal working. Courses in Computing and Electronics are also available both within the curriculum and in free time.

The Arts

Music plays an important part in the life of the School. Tuition is available on all keyboard and orchestral instruments; currently about fifty per cent of the School are learning a musical instrument, and two choirs flourish. There is also a School orchestra, a close harmony group, a jazz band and two pipe bands. The choir and instrumentalists frequently go on tour, e.g. to the USA, the Far East, and Europe. There is at least one major play production a term, jointly staged with Merchiston’s sister school(s), as well as frequent House plays or drama workshop productions in a well-equipped, purpose-built theatre.


Merchiston stands on the edge of the picturesque riverside village of Colinton, some four miles south west of the centre of Edinburgh, in about 100 acres (c. 40 hectares) of exceptionally beautiful and spacious, part-wooded grounds shadowed by the stunning Pentland Hills.

Nearest Airports: 20 minutes from Edinburgh International Airport by car (7 miles)
Nearest Railway Station: 20 minutes from Waverley Station (5 miles)

Further information

Home Away from Home

Approximately 70% of boys board full-time with activity programmes available at the weekends. Each boarding house caters for a particular age group and the atmosphere and activities are tailored accordingly. The House structure enables boys to develop a wide circle of friends, and to learn how to support each other. Pringle House, set within a walled garden, is home to boys entering the School between the ages of 8 and 12. A spacious kitchen and comfortably-furnished dayrooms provide focal points for relaxation. Between 13 and 15 boys move through the Chalmers and Rogerson Houses where there is a high level of pastoral care as the boys grow through adolescence. The purpose-built Sixth Form boarding house offers 126 en-suite bedrooms, with modern snack-making facilities, a multi-gym and open plan social spaces with wonderful views of Edinburgh and Fife. Merchiston was rated ‘Excellent’ in all areas in The Care Inspection Report 2012. 


‘It is my common experience in life that when I buy something new, after the original excitement of the purchase dies down, I often start finding small faults with it. With our children’s education at Merchiston, however, it has been exactly the opposite. In every respect – academic, sporting and pastoral – the School has exceeded our expectations, and continues to do so. In particular, the staff appear to have an almost magical ability to maximise the potential of every boy, irrespective of their natural talents. But above all, it is the Merchiston “end product” that impresses us year after year; the young men that leave the School for university each year are polite, confident gentlemen, that any parent would be proud to call their sons.’


‘We have been so impressed by the real care and warmth we have met in all members of staff. The School has exceeded our expectations in every way. There is something extraordinarily special about Merchiston.’


‘My sons would have done well at other schools, but none of these schools would have given them the ‘edge’ that they needed. Merchiston delivered that final 5%- the 5% that made the difference. And that’s down to the focus and expertise in teaching boys.’


Admissions & Fees

Scholarships and Bursaries
Merchiston offers a number of prestigious awards each year to suitably qualified candidates, depending upon the year of entry to the School. Awards are competitive, and are made for the duration of a boy’s career at Merchiston, subject to continued performance and good conduct. The main categories of awards are: Academic, Music (including Piping), Sport, All-rounder, Art, Design and Technology.

Scholarships are granted to candidates who can demonstrate above average ability, and bestow honour on the successful candidates. Scholarships no longer carry an automatic fee concession. However, where parental income is not sufficient to allow the pupil to attend Merchiston, parents may apply for means-tested assistance. Pupils who live locally may also apply for the Community Scholarship.

Where parental income is not sufficient to allow the pupil to attend Merchiston, parents may apply for means-tested assistance, which may be up to 100% of the day or boarding fees depending upon financial circumstances. Assistance is normally offered from Year 8 (Scottish S1) upwards. Applicants’ parents will be asked to complete a confidential Statement of Financial Circumstances. Further information is available on the School website.

Boarding fees per term£5690-£8885
Day fees per term£4040-6515
Registration fee£100
Deposit£800 for UK students, £5000 for international students