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Many historic places are still open for visitors, outwith Level 4 COVID protection areas. Book in advance and check if Scottish Government travel restrictions apply before travelling.

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Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

Protecting Scotland’s historic environment, communities and our people

The terraced garden at Aberdour Castle

1 Overview

Many of the historic sites we care for are open with safety precautions in place and in line with government guidance.

Visitors are welcome to pre-book for our ticketed attractions and visit free sites that remain open in Scottish Government’s Level 1 and Level 2 COVID-19 protection areas.

In Level 3 areas, local visitors are welcome to pre-book for our visit ticketed attractions and visit free sites in their local council area, in line with government legislation.

All of our sites in Level 4, including free and unstaffed sites, are closed to visitors. Any visitors to these sites with pre-booked tickets from Friday 20 November until Friday 11 December will be automatically refunded. Please allow up to 30 days for the funds to show on your bank statement.

aerial image showing ruined castle on curved coastline with sea behind it

Travel Restrictions

Before booking or making a journey to our sites, please check the Scottish Government website to confirm if travel restrictions apply to your area.

Scottish Government website

Where can I visit?

We can only accept advance bookings at the following sites. Please don’t travel to these sites to gain entry without a booking already in place as we can’t currently accept walk up visitors.

You can also visit over 150 free sites where physical distancing can be readily maintained.

These sites do not need to be booked in advance but if somewhere you plan to visit is likely to be busy and you think that it may be difficult to maintain physical distancing, please consider visiting another nearby location or visiting at another time instead.

Before making a journey to our sites, please check the Scottish Government website to confirm if travel restrictions apply to your area.

Staying safe on your visit Frequently Asked Questions

Keep in touch

Keep up to date with our latest news via our website and social media accounts, including FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 

Contacting us at this time

Thank you for your ongoing patience and support.

2 Staying safe on your visit

We all have a part to play during the pandemic to help keep everyone safe.  

If you plan to visit any of our sites, please continue to follow physical distancing and current government guidance. 

Here are things you can do to help when visiting a site: 

  • please check the Scottish Government’s website to confirm if travel restrictions apply to your area 
  • stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other visitors 
  • avoid touching surfaces, bring hand sanitiser to use if you do 
  • wear a face covering when visiting any indoor or enclosed spaces 
  • if a free to access site is likely to be busy and you think that it may be difficult to maintain physical distancing, please consider visiting another nearby location or visiting at another time instead 
  • keep Scotland looking beautiful by taking your litter and any waste home 
  • for general advice on access to outdoor spaces during the Coronavirus outbreak see the Scottish Outdoor Access Code 
An aerial photograph looking down at the ruin of a cathedral set within a graveyard beside a small town and a bay.

COVID-19 Symptoms

If you’re showing any of COVID-19 symptoms, or if you've been in contact with anyone that has the virus in the last 14 days, please don’t visit.

COVID-19 advice from NHS Scotland

Our standards for reopening 

Our diverse estate is made of over 300 buildings, monuments and landscapes of different shapes and sizes.  

We carefully assess changes needed at these unique places to help visitors and staff be safe and feel safe, before we reopen the doors. We have reopened sites in consultation with local communities and with consideration of the circumstances in each area as much as possible. 

Find out more about our standards and approach for reopening 

3 Working with the sector

In these unprecedented and challenging times, we are working closely with the historic environment sector to develop a long term vision and better understand the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In October 2020, we launched a new £2.6 million fund to support the recovery of Scotland’s historic environment sector from the impacts of COVID-19.

Find out how to apply

We are part of the COVID-19 Historic Environment Resilience Forum, a collaborative space for partners in Scotland’s historic environment sector. Together, we will plan, coordinate, and communicate strategies and guidance for the sector to support Scotland’s national recovery.

To best support this recovery phase, we have published our Policy and Guidance for the safe reopening of historic sites, and are compiling reliable and comprehensive data on how all parts of the historic environment sector in Scotland have been affected.

In April 2020, we received hundreds of responses to our online survey from all over Scotland. The full analysis and data is now available to download.

4 Contacting us at this time

With staff working from home where possible and appropriate, many of our business functions continue to operate as normal.

In some areas response times may be slower and we have limited access to our offices to collect mail. Please contact us by phone or email where possible.

Historic Scotland Members

We appreciate the support you give us as a member especially during these challenging times. Our members make such a vital contribution to protecting our national assets including our historic sites and archives, and you play a crucial role so that current and future generations can enjoy these.

We do recognise that the current situation may lead to changes in some members personal circumstances. If you have any queries, please contact us at members@hes.scot.

Archives and Historic Environment Records

Our physical archive reopened in September with new safety measures to help keep everyone safe. Pre-booking via archives@hes.scot is essential.

Visiting the HES Archives and Library

If you aren't able to make it to the building, there are over 1 million archive records available to enjoy online at canmore.org.uk

Planning, consents and statutory consultations

We will continue to review and process applications for scheduled monument consent, statutory consultations and more. Due to the office closures, we cannot process any applications or consultations submitted by post. Email submissions are welcome.

Grants

Our grants function will aim to provide normal service as far as possible. Existing grantees should contact their nominated Grants Manager by email. For any other enquiries, please visit our Grants Coronavirus Guidance page or email grants@hes.scot

Keeping in touch

Please do keep connected via our social media channels or if you need to get in touch with a specific query you can also use the channels below:

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