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9 July 2021

Rolling programme of reopening sites continue across the summer

More historic sites across Scotland are set to reopen their doors as part of our rolling programme to welcome back visitors after the recent lockdown.

General view of Duff House

From today (Friday 9 July) Duff House in Banff joins the growing list of sites reopening across Scotland, with the Blackhouse, Arnol, in Lewis, following on Monday 12 July.

The reopenings come as Dumbarton Castle reopened its doors on 30 June with the resumption of guided tours of the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces in Kirkwall, Orkney from 1 July.

Maeshowe visitor centre on Orkney has also recently reopened with visitors able to enjoy an introductory talk highlighting Orkney’s heritage, browse interpretation in-formation about the cairn and its world heritage Ranger base as well as accessing the on-site facilities and visitor gift shop.

Elsewhere, Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh also opened its doors to visitors on Thursday 1 July.

The latest site reopenings are part of our ongoing phased programme across the country, with more than 70% of ticketed and free to access attractions opening again since the end of April.

Chief Executive, Alex Paterson, said:

We are pleased to have more of our sites reopening up and down the country, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy much loved heritage attractions once again.

“With over 5,000 years of history in our care, we’ve adopted a phased approach to reopening, providing as diverse a mix of attractions as possible, as well as reviewing and implementing the individual reopening requirements of each site, in line with Scottish Government guidance. We are now looking forward to welcoming visitors back to even more sites, providing further opportunity to enjoy Scotland’s diverse and globally renowned historic environment.”

As before, safety measures will be in place at all sites, with visitors wearing face coverings in indoor locations and in some enclosed spaces where social distancing can’t be easily maintained. There will also be an initial capacity management on numbers and one-way systems will be in place in some locations. For the parts of several sites where access is currently restricted, a programme of agile interpretation has been developed which can be accessed via QR codes and includes digital film or audio to further enhance the visitor experience.

All sites will follow the HES minimum operating standards, which were developed to set a benchmark for the safe reopening of historic sites and resumption of operational activities.

Tickets should be booked online in advance from the HES website and are now on sale. To book and for more information on further HES sites reopening visit: restarthistory.scot

About Year of Coasts and Waters 2021

The Year of Coasts and Waters (#YCW2021), led by VisitScotland, will be showcased throughout 2021. Activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink - whisky.

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 further information, please contact:

Barry McPherson 
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Mobile: 07221 959 962