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7 October 2020

Dunfermline Abbey nave once again welcomes visitors

Historic site opens for first time since March

A general view of Dunfermline Abbey church.

Dunfermline Abbey Nave has reopened to visitors for select days during October after closing its doors in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Nave or ‘Old Church’ is managed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and is part of the remains of the twelfth century Abbey, dedicated in 1147. The Nave of the Old Church stretches eastwards to the entrance to the modern parish church (Dunfermline Abbey Church) which is the final resting place of Robert the Bruce.

HES have worked in close partnership with Dunfermline Abbey Church to jointly enable visitors to access both the Abbey Nave and the Abbey Church and have introduced free entry during October.

To get the Abbey ready to welcome visitors, some changes have been brought in to ensure visitors can safely enjoy and explore the site. A one-way system will be in place, and as access to the Abbey Church is via stairs, only the Abbey Nave is accessible for those with specific access requirements. Dunfermline Palace currently remains closed.

Visitors will be required to pre-book tickets to manage capacity on site (one ticket provides access to both the Nave and the Church) and will be asked to wear face coverings when entering any internal spaces in line with Scottish Government guidance.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said:

“Our historic sites are internationally renowned symbols of Scotland, and their reopening is an important milestone not only for our organisation, but for the country as a whole as we continue on our journey to recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With over 300 sites across Scotland, each of which have a unique offering we have been opening our sites on a phased basis, with 75% of our sites now open to visitors.

“It has taken a significant amount of planning to reach this point, and I’m very proud of the efforts of all of our staff who have been instrumental in making these sites ready to safely welcome visitors once again.

We know how keen people are to access historic sites and are pleased to have worked with Dunfermline Abbey Church to open up the magnificent Abbey nave so it can be enjoyed by visitors throughout October.

“I’d also like to thank visitors for their patience throughout this period of uncertainty and offer reassurance that the safety and quality of their visitor experience has been at the forefront of our preparations.”

The Rev. MaryAnn R. Rennie, Minister at The Abbey Church of Dunfermline said:

“We are excited about reopening the church for visitors in conjunction with Historic Environment Scotland.

Working towards this with Historic Environment Scotland will ensure visitors are able to move safely through the Nave to the church. I know our staff are looking forward to welcoming those who come.”

Timed visitor slots have been introduced to manage capacity, with the Abbey Nave open 10am to 3.15pm on the following days in October:

  • Wednesday 7 - Saturday 10 October
  • Wednesday 14 - Sunday 18 October
  • Wednesday 21 - Sunday 25 October

Visitors are encouraged to check our website for opening details.

For more information about HES’ plans to reopen more sites across Scotland visit www.historicreopening.scot.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For media enquiries, please contact:

Dean Hendry 
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Mobile: 07721 959 962