About Us

28 March 2024

Historic sites across Scotland get ready to reopen their doors

Castle which held Mary, Queen of Scots prisoner, iron age fort and defences from the Napoleonic wars among more than 20 iconic attractions set to welcome visitors back

Aerial view of Lochleven Castle

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced that over twenty sites across the country are set to reopen their doors to visitors this weekend. Familiar and popular seasonal sites will be welcoming visitors again as we head into spring, as well as several heritage locations reopening following high-level masonry inspections. 

With Lochleven Castle, which famously held Mary, Queen of Scots prisoner on her return from France, Iron Age archaeology at the Broch of Gurness and dark historical tales from Hermitage Castle just a few of the visitor experiences on offer, there truly is something for everyone to experience over the coming months. 

From Easter weekend, visitors can head to attractions including Inchcolm Abbey, Spynie Palace and Newark Castle. Also reopening will be Stanley Mills, home to fascinating industrial history and the prehistoric Cairnpapple Hill.  

Visitors can find out more about sites reopening in their area and plan their visits at www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place

Several sites will also reopen this spring following high-level masonry inspections. Access restrictions were put in place at some sites as a safety precaution while HES introduced new measures to manage the impact of climate change on its heritage assets. While this is not an issue unique to Scotland, HES is one of the first to proactively tackle it. Some additional sites that will be welcoming visitors following their inspections include Elcho Castle, Lochranza Castle and Bothwell Castle.  

Stephen Duncan, Director of Marketing & Engagement at HES, said: 

It’s fantastic to be able to welcome visitors back to so many of our iconic sites this season. These historic attractions contain invaluable stories about Scotland’s past, and we’re thrilled that these places can once again be enjoyed by people across the country. 

“We’re also pleased to be able to reopen and increase access at further sites following high-level masonry inspections, with over 90% of our estate open for the public to explore and enjoy.” 

Some partial restrictions may remain in place at some sites while the high-level masonry programme is ongoing. Booking in advance is recommended at all ticketed sites. Information about individual sites, including opening dates and times, can be found at historyawaits.scot. 

Seasonal sites opening in March and April: 

  • Balvenie Castle 
  • Bishop’s Palace 
  • Burleigh Castle 
  • Broch of Gurness 
  • Cairnpapple Hill 
  • Cambuskenneth Abbey 
  • Castle Campbell and gardens 
  • Crossraguel Abbey (shop and grounds access only) 
  • Dundrennan Abbey 
  • Glenluce Abbey (shop, museum and grounds access only) 
  • Hackness Martello Tower & Battery 
  • Hermitage Castle 
  • Inchcolm Abbey 
  • Inchmahome Priory
  • Innerpeffray Chapel 
  • Kildrummy Castle 
  • Kinneil House 
  • Lochleven Castle 
  • Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum 
  • Newark Castle 
  • Smailholm Tower 
  • Spynie Palace 
  • St Serf’s Church and Dupplin Cross 
  • St Vigeans Stones and Museum 
  • Stanley Mills 
  • Tolquhon Castle 
  • Trinity House 
  • Tullibardine Chapel 

Visit www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place for further opening details for each site. 

All seasonal sites will close on 30 September unless otherwise specified. 

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.

Follow HES

X: @HistEnvScot | @welovehistory
Facebook: @HistoricEnvScotland | @VisitHistoricScotland
Instagram: @HistEnvScot | @historicscotland

For further information, please contact:

Laura Ely
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
07721 959 962