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10 August 2020

Reopening dates announced for historic sites across the country

We are reopening a further 12 ticketed sites throughout Scotland after the sites closed their doors in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Aerial view of Caerlaverock Castle

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) announces reopening dates for 12 ticketed sites throughout Scotland after the sites closed their doors in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The roll-out of reopening sites will take place throughout the country with Blackness Castle reopening on Monday 17 August, followed by Inchcolm Abbey, Huntly Castle and Melrose Abbey on Wednesday 19 August, and Elgin Cathedral and Caerlaverock Castle on Friday 21 August. Tickets for these sites are on sale as of today (Monday 10 August).

Doune Castle, Dunstaffnage Castle and Linlithgow Palace will then reopen the following week on Wednesday 26 August, followed by Skara Brae, Tantallon Castle and Glasgow Cathedral on Friday 28 August.

We are on track to reopen a further 10 ticketed sites in September, and this will be assessed in line with Scottish Government guidance.

This follows the successful reopening weekend for Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles – the first of our ticketed sites to reopen – where tickets for Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle sold out, and 97% of tickets available for Urquhart Castle were sold.

New safety measures have been put in place on site, with cash payments no longer being accepted for the foreseeable future, and visitors being asked to use contactless payment where possible. One-way systems will be in place in some locations, and some indoor areas may be closed, such as small enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible. Visitors can enjoy access to outdoor spaces including historic courtyards, as well as some indoor areas which will be capacity limited such as the Commendator’s House at Melrose Abbey and the Mid Tower at Blackness Castle. Tickets must also be booked online in advance.

Visitors will be asked to wear face coverings when entering any retail shops, cafes and internal enclosed spaces at sites, in line with Scottish Government guidance.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES said:

“From Melrose Abbey in the Borders to Skara Brae in Orkney, we are reopening sites up and down the country, allowing visitors in most regions of Scotland to visit heritage sites in their area.

“I am very pleased that we are on track to open 23 ticketed sites by mid-September, and this is all down to the efforts of all of our staff to ensure these historic sites are ready to safely welcome visitors once again.

We hope the reopening of these iconic sites will help to further demonstrate that Scotland’s tourism industry is open for business, and we thank everyone who has already helped kick start the tourism industry by visiting Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart castles since they reopened at the beginning of this month.”

Tickets must be booked online in advance. For more information about visiting sites once they reopen 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:

Stacey Dent 
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Mobile: 07721 959 962