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More of our sites are now available to pre-book in advance of their opening later this month. We are working hard to open other sites in the coming weeks

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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 thrilled to be welcoming visitors back to Scotland's historic sites in phase three of the Scottish Government’s route map out of current lockdown.

Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle will be open from Saturday 1 August with safety precautions in place. Some interior spaces will not be accessible at this time and booking in advance is essential.

Book ahead

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

The grounds and green spaces at three of our paid for sites, which would normally be staffed, will also be open for free:

Be sure to check a site has reopened before you travel.

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’re carefully assessing changes needed at these unique places to help visitors and staff be safe and feel safe, before we reopen the doors.

This means we are opening sites in phases. By the end of September, we hope to have reopened 70% of the sites we care for.

Find out more about our standards and approach for reopening

These sites will open in consultation with the local communities and reflecting circumstances in each area as much as possible.

While we focus on reopening doors to these sites that are open year-round, our seasonal sites will not be opening for the 2020 season, with the exception of Inchcolm Abbey.

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 a site, 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
  • 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.

As all our staffed sites remain closed, facilities aren’t open including toilets and cafés, except at Holyrood Park

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.

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

While our physical archive will be closed until further notice, 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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