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15 March 2016

Season starts for family days out

Spring is coming early this year as over 30 historic sites across Scotland prepare to open their doors to the public once again.

A general view of Hermitage Castle.

Spring is coming early this year as over 30 historic sites across Scotland prepare to open their doors to the public once again. From Shetland to Skipness, castles, cairns, and chapels will open their doors on 25th March, just in time for the Easter weekend.

Historic Environment Scotland has recruited 50 new and seasonal staff across the country, now in post and ready to welcome visitors. Meanwhile, in keeping with the spring time reveal, other sites have updated their interpretation boards to give visitors new insight into the stories of some of these iconic places.

Susan Loch, Head of Visitor Operations and Community Engagement at Historic Environment Scotland1 said, “These cherished local sites range from castles to churches, and from prehistoric forts to atmospheric ruins. They are steeped in stories, and visiting them helps bring the Scotland’s fascinating history to life. We’ve got all sorts of resources to help people understand and enjoy these places, from recently refreshed interpretation panels at many sites to our free visitor app, which helps visitors build their own historic itinerary.

“There’s never been a better time to get involved with the history and heritage of your local area – why not see how many historic sites your family can visit this year!”

You can also become a Historic Scotland member, which gets you entry to over 70 historic places across the country as well as to our daytime events.

Historic attractions re-opening on 25th March include:

  • Tolquhon Castle, one of the most picturesque castles in the Grampian countryside
  • Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace, one of the most complete charcoal-fuelled ironworks in Britain founded in 1753
  • Skelmorlie Aisle, whose painted ceiling shows what Largs looked like 350 years ago
  • Hermitage Castle, a site steeped in tales of torture, treason and trysts
  • Whithorn Priory, one of the oldest Christian monuments in Scotland
  • Torphichen Preceptory, the Scottish headquarters of the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (also known as the Knights Hospitaller)
  • Inchcolm Abbey, the best-preserved group of monastic buildings in Scotland, and a great spot for seals and other wildlife
  • Newark Castle, once home to the bloodthirsty Sir Patrick Maxwell
  • Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum, home to 26 pictish carved stones dating from the late eighth to the late tenth centuries

Find further information on places to visit, prices and opening times.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • As of the 1st October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland is a sub brand of HES.
  • View our press pack and keep up to date by registering for media release email alerts. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us.

Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

2016 is the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design (IAD). Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland's position as an "innovation nation", its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and supported by a variety of partners.

Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

Follow Historic Environment Scotland

Twitter: @HistEnvScot | @welovehistory 

Facebook: @HistoricEnvScotland @VisitHistoricScotland


For further information

Ali George 
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct Line: 0131 668 8714
Mobile: 07853 018 790