The Soldier Museum

The Soldier Museum is the largest private collection of model soldiers in the world and was started in 1928 by the 6th Marquess of Cholmondeley, father of the current Marquess. His collection began as a schoolboy here at Houghton Hall. After the war, he continued collecting at Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire, often commissioning whole battle scenes to his specification.

In 1980, soon after Houghton Hall was first opened to the public, the whole collection was moved to Norfolk. Numbering around 20,000 figures, it is one of the largest and most comprehensive collections in the world.

The museum displays intricately detailed battle scenes with hand painted backdrops. A Battle of Waterloo diorama shows the confrontation between Wellington and Napoleon, the Royal Scots Greys’ famous charge, and the French Calvary’s attack on British squares. A diorama of a fight between the French and Germans in the Franco Prussian War features Cantinieres, ladies riding side-saddle carrying brandy and cigarettes for their Regiment, often in the thick of battle.

Many of the models and dioramas were made by such notable manufacturers as Edward Suren, and Greenwood & Ball for the very small figures. The museum displays are complemented by an array of assorted militaria, containing some fine military prints and paintings (including two by the renowned military artist, Terence Cuneo), a selection of vintage helmets and some regimental drums.

Entry to The Solider Museum is included in our Walled Garden ticket. Click here to book now.