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Book in advance to visit Scotland’s historic places. Before you travel, please check the latest Scottish Government guidance.

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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

We’re reopening the places you love gradually, safely and in line with government guidance.

We have now reopened 75% of the sites in our care, including 28 of our ticketed properties across Scotland, with safety precautions in place.

Book ahead

Visitors can also travel to over 200 free sites where physical distancing can be readily maintained.

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. Please also bring your own hand sanitiser.

Be sure to check a site has reopened and the latest travel advice before you start your journey.

Find a place to visit Frequently Asked Questions

Phased 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.

Find out more about our standards and approach for reopening

We have reopened sites in consultation with local communities and with consideration of the circumstances in each area as much as possible.

We’ve prioritised our resources to reopen as many of our year-round properties as possible, and to ensure we have sites open to visit in every region of Scotland. Unfortunately, this means there are a number of sites that we will be unable reopen until Spring 2021 at the earliest.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions and guidance, there are also a number of sites we are unable to reopen as we cannot safely maintain physical distancing at these sites. We will continue to monitor this in line with any updated guidance from the Scottish Government.

We know it’s disappointing that some of our sites will have to keep their doors closed for now. However, we’ll be using this time to carry out important conservation and maintenance work at our properties and their collections to ensure they’re at their best when we’re able to welcome you back.

Keep in touch

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

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

Contacting us at this time

Thank you for your ongoing patience and support.

2 Visiting sites during COVID-19

If you visit any of our sites, please continue to follow physical distancing and current government guidance to help keep everyone safe.

We need to continue working together to keep everyone safe. Here are things you can do to help when visiting a site:

  • 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

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

Our Ranger Service at Holyrood Park and Linlithgow Peel continue their reduced patrols of these areas for essential safety and security checks but are not available on site for support.

Find out what to expect on your visit

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

We continue to operate the rest of our business functions as far as possible, though response times may be slower as many staff are currently on furlough.

With staff working from home where possible and appropriate, the services we continue to deliver include our grants programme, membership, planning and casework, and online services.

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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