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11 September 2023

Some of Scotland’s most iconic heritage sites set to offer free admission this winter

Access to Historic Scotland winter ticketed attractions will be free on the first Sunday of each month until March 2024

Three woman standing in front of a castle holding an oversized ticket

Some of Scotland’s most iconic heritage sites, such as Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Doune Castle, and Duff House, will welcome visitors for free this winter.

Scottish residents are invited to explore the country’s rich heritage with Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) Historic Sundays. For six months, people can get free admission to participating Historic Scotland visitor attractions, which is part of Historic Environment Scotland, on the first Sunday of the month (1 October 2023 through to 3 March 2024). People living in Scotland can access Historic Scotland’s winter ticketed sites by simply pre-booking online and showing their proof of address on arrival.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said:

“With over 5,000 years of history in our care, our historic buildings and monuments can tell us so much about the past, and how it continues to shape our world today, from being the backdrop to film locations to attracting millions of people from around the world and closer to home.

We think it’s vital people living in Scotland feel history belongs to us all, and through our Historic Sundays initiative we hope more people will take the opportunity to discover the history on their doorstep, or explore further afield to sites they may not have seen until now. Engaging with heritage has lots of proven benefits, including wellbeing, and we very much hope people take the opportunity to explore these sites and be part of history.”

The winter Historic Scotland ticketed sites, which ordinarily charge an entry fee, include Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots; the historic barracks and fortifications of Fort George; and Skara Brae, the best-preserved Neolithic settlement in Western Europe.

Advance online booking is required. To sign up for news alerts and to book visit historicsundays.scot.

Image © Rob McDougall

Historic Sundays sites

  • Aberdour Castle
  • Arbroath Abbey
  • Blackness Castle
  • Bothwell Castle
  • Caerlaverock Castle
  • Craigmillar Castle
  • Dirleton Castle
  • Doune Castle
  • Dryburgh Abbey
  • Duff House
  • Dumbarton Castle
  • Dunstaffnage Castle
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Elgin Cathedral
  • Fort George
  • Huntingtower Castle
  • Huntly Castle
  • Jedburgh Abbey
  • Linlithgow Palace
  • Maeshowe Chambered Cairn
  • Melrose Abbey
  • New Abbey Corn Mill
  • Skara Brae
  • St Andrews Castle
  • St Andrews Cathedral
  • Stirling Castle
  • Tantallon Castle
  • Urquhart Castle

High Level Masonry Project

We are currently undertaking a programme of essential conservation work, in the face of accelerating climate challenges on Scotland’s historic environment, with access restrictions in place at some sites. Information on any access restrictions can be found on our site pages.

Find out more about conservation work happening across our sites

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

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


For further information, please contact:

Julia Woolman
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
07721 959 962