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13 August 2020

Historic reopening as Arbroath Abbey once again welcomes visitors

Arbroath Abbey grounds to open for first time since lockdown

A general view of the ruins of Arbroath Abbey, with some stone foundations visible in the foreground.

Arbroath Abbey will reopen its iconic grounds and exterior to the public on Saturday 15 August for the first time since the site closed its doors in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Abbey which was at the centre of the historic Declaration of Arbroath, one of Scotland’s most famous historical documents, will initially open as an un-ticketed site allowing those visiting the Abbey to explore its magnificent grounds, free of charge.

Arbroath Abbey’s visitors centre was nearing completion in time for the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath when lockdown measures meant that work had to stop prematurely. As a result, the visitor centre will remain closed until the completion of the refurbishment, which has been rescheduled for early 2021, in time for the exhibition to be open as part of the anniversary celebration programme.

Following the Scottish Governments safety guidelines regarding small enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible, access will be restricted to ground level external areas only, including the Abbots house.

Given these restrictions and the rescheduling of the visitor centre refurbishment, we have waived the entrance fee. Opening hours have also been reviewed and the site will be open 10am to 4pm, 4 days per week (Friday to Monday).

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 70% of our sites open by mid-September.

“We know how keen people are to access historic sites and are pleased to be able to open up the grounds and exterior of Arbroath Abbey for free so many people as possible can enjoy the magnificent surroundings of the Abbey.

“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.

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 tourism sector will be central to Scotland’s national recovery, and our historic attractions are a key part of that tourism offering, including secondary spend. We’re also encouraging people across Scotland to visit historic sites in their local area and rediscover the rich history on their doorstep.”

More information on Arbroath Abbey

Find out more about our plans to reopen more sites as restrictions ease 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 
communications@hes.scot

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