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2 April 2024

Elcho Castle reopens its doors to visitors

One of Scotland’s best preserved 16th century tower houses reopens to visitors

Visitors can once again explore over 500 years of history at Elcho Castle following essential work.

Constructed around the time of the Reformation in 1560, Elcho Castle illustrates a transition in Scottish building styles, from castle to mansion. It combines an imposing exterior with an interior that gave its noble occupants and their guests considerable comfort and privacy. The castle has changed little since it was built, apart from a new roof and new window glazing added in the 1830s.

Access restrictions were put in place as a safety precaution while HES, who manages the site, introduced new measures to manage the impact of climate change on its heritage assets, an issue which is affecting heritage owners globally, as part of its high level masonry programme. Elcho Castle, Rothesay Castle and Whithorn Priory are among the latest sites to reopen following inspections and necessary repairs to the masonry, with over 90 per cent of total HES sites across the estate now accessible.

The High-Level Masonry Programme is the result of ongoing risk assessment and sample surveys and assesses the impact of climate change on sites as well as the scale of deterioration caused by a number of other factors, including the materials used in the building’s construction, its age and physical location. Whilst this is not an issue unique to Scotland, HES is believed to be amongst the first heritage managers to approach it in this way, with the results shared with peer organisations.

Liz Grant, Regional Visitor and Community Manager (Central) at HES, said:

Elcho Castle is a fantastic site and we’re pleased to be able to welcome visitors back. Situated near the River Tay and home to an extensive history, work at the site has helped us to ensure that this important piece of our heritage can be enjoyed by visitors once more.

For opening times and to pre-book visit the Historic Environment Scotland website.

More information about the high level masonry programme can be found on the Historic Environment Scotland blog.

Several HES seasonal sites will also reopen this spring, including Lochleven Castle, Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum, St Serf's Church & Dupplin Cross and Stanley Mills. Visitors can find out more about sites reopening in their area and plan their visits on the Historic Environment Scotland website.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead body for Scotland’s historic environment, a charity dedicated to the advancement of heritage, culture, education and environmental protection. It is at the forefront of researching and understanding the historic environment and addressing the impacts of climate change on its future, investigating and recording architectural and archaeological sites and landscapes across Scotland and caring for more than 300 properties of national importance. We are also the lead on delivering Scotland's strategy for the historic environment, Our Past, Our Future.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle, and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
  • View our press pack and keep up to date by registering to receive our media releases. Already registered? You can unsubscribe at any time by following the unsubscribe link, included in every email.

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For further information, please contact:

Laura Ely
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
07721 959 962