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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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Reopening FAQs

We want to keep you updated about how we are responding to the coronavirus situation. Below are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions in the light of current guidance and the gradual reopening of our sites. 

Planning your visit

The first sites to open will be the exterior areas of Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles from Saturday 1 August. We will also prioritise internal spaces where physical distancing can be maintained. The following 22 sites properties will be open during mid-August and mid-September.

Aberdour Castle Fort George
Blackness Castle Glasgow Cathedral
Caerlaverock Castle Huntly Castle
Craigmillar Castle Inchcolm Abbey
Dirleton Castle Jedburgh Abbey
Doune Castle Linlithgow Palace
Dryburgh Abbey Melrose Abbey
Dumbarton Castle Skara Brae
Dunblane Cathedral St Andrews Castle
Dunstaffnage Castle St Andrews Cathedral
Elgin Cathedral Tantallon Castle

Entry to our sites will be managed by means of timed ticketing with capacity limits for all time slots.

Initial capacities will be set at no more than 30% normal visitor levels or less depending on site specific requirements, whichever figure is lower.

Capacity levels will be reviewed after the first 2 weeks of opening following monitoring of the occupancy levels, visitor behaviour, and visitor flow arrangements within each site independently.

We are supporting NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect to help ensure the health and safety of all visitors to our sites. As such this will mean that we shall be recording the name and contact details of visitors making an online booking to visit our sites. This information shall be used to enable NHS Scotland to contact you should you have been at one of our sites at the same time as someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. For further information on how we shall process your data please see our privacy notice

We are required by law to take all reasonable measures to ensure that distance of at least 2m is maintained between all people at our sites, and everyone visiting our sites. Signage to remind visitors about distancing will be available on site which may also include one-way systems. Screens will be in place at ticketing points and till points to separate visitors from our staff.

The health and safety of our visitors is our main priority. On entry, a hygiene station will be located at all ticketed sites. We ask all visitors to clean their hands-on entry. Enhanced cleaning regimes will be in place at all ticketed sites, including all touch points and toilet facilities. Staff will receive full training before the sites are open to visitors and cleaning regimes will also be constantly under review and will be adjusted as required.

Please check our individual site listings to see whether your furry friend can join you on your visit.

We recommend checking with the recent Scottish Government Guidelines before travelling.

Some busier sites and those with limited space may introduce a two-hour stay limit. This information will be on the booking system before you book a ticket as well as on your ticket. Please check site web pages for the latest information and to book a ticket.

Where sites normally have toilets, they will be open. Please see individual site listings. Enhanced cleaning measures will be in place across all facilities.

Some shops may be open. The cafés at Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles and Fort George are open. Please see individual site listings.

For shops that are open, visitors are required to wear a face covering as per current government guidance and use hand sanitiser when entering. Entry will be managed on a 1 in 1 out basis, with capacity capped and queues managed by a member of the retail team.

We will not be accepting cash payment. Purchases can be made by card payments only.

We encourage you to bring a face covering with you when visiting our sites. In line with Scottish Government legislation and guidance, facing coverings are mandatory if you are visiting our shops and if you are entering our cafes and are not seating at a table. (subject to some exceptions).Please note masks will not be provided, so make sure you bring one with you.

Face coverings are not required while visiting external areas of the sites. Government guidance recommends wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces, so you may wish to consider wearing a face covering if you are in enclosed indoor areas or other enclosed spaces at the sites

If you feel wearing a face covering will make you more comfortable during your visit, then please wear one, as we want you to enjoy your visit as much as possible.

Travelling to our sites

Some of our sites do have parking however each site is different so you may need to book a car space when booking your ticket. Please check the information on the web page for the site you wish to visit.

We do have blue badge spaces at some of our sites. Please check the information on the web page for the site you wish to visit.

Please check the information on the web page for the site you wish to visit.

Booking tickets

We accept Visa, Visa Debit, Mastercard and American Express.

All tickets need to be booked online in advance - at the moment we do not have the facilities to process payments over the phone. 

No. Advance online booking is required to visit our sites and a card only service will be operated on site including our cafés and shops.

Yes, following government guidance and to help us with capacity management and physical distancing measures on site visitors, including members, will need to book in advance online a date and time slot that suits. Each time slot has a limited capacity and once these are full, we will not be able to accommodate additional visitors.

No, following government guidance and to help us with managing physical distancing you will need to book tickets online prior to arriving. However, you can book online on the day of your visit if there are tickets available.

We do not offer group discount.

Currently the maximum group number as per Scottish Government guidance is six visitors, from no more than two households, per transaction. Children under 12 from the two households do not need to be included, within the 6 person limit.

In line with best practice in the visitor attractions industry and as advised by Capability Scotland, visitors with disabilities are treated on an equal basis with all other visitors and entry is charged at the appropriate admission category rate - Adult/Concession/Child. Proof of disability is not required.

We recognise that some visitors with disabilities may need help to visit our sites and we offer free entry for carers accompanying visitors with disabilities. To book a free carer ticket, email ticketing@hes.scot and quote your order number.

Your tickets will be attached in your email confirmation in a PDF document. Please print your tickets and bring them with you for entry. You can also opt to collect your tickets on arrival and print them at the designated ticket collection points.

No, we are unable to post tickets. Tickets will be emailed to you.

Your email confirmation email should arrive shortly after booking. If you have not received this, please check your junk folder in the first instance. If you have not received this please contact ticketing@hes.scot with details of your booking (name on booking, email address used and site visiting) and they will investigate and get back to you as soon as possible.

If the web page is not displaying correctly, we advise you to clear the cache/cookies on your browser then close the browser and reopen it. The ticketing page should now load correctly. If this doesn’t work the date/time slot you wish may be sold out – please check for an alternative date/time.

If you cannot find the email confirmation please email ticketing@hes.scot with your booking details (name on booking, email address used and site visiting).

All visitors aged 60 and over and UK visitors who are unemployed are eligible for Concession tickets. You will be asked to show proof of eligibility on arrival.

No, however Young Scot cardholders receive £1 entry in 2020. Tickets must be bought online in advance and applies to the cardholder only. You will need a valid Young Scot card on arrival at the site. 

Current members of the British Armed Forces receive free entry to Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Fort George. Please make an online booking for the paying members of your party. To book a free ticket, please email us at ticketing@hes.scot, quoting your order number. You will need to bring a valid MOD 90 card when you arrive at site. Please note free entry only applies to the serving member.

The time on your ticket is when you should arrive on site. You can spend as long as you like at the site from your entry slot until closing for the majority of sites. Some sites may have a maximum visit time of 2 hours. Please check the specific site web page for further details.

Not all sites have the facilities so if you have selected Print at Home as your delivery method, please print your tickets and bring them with you for entry. You can also opt to collect your tickets on arrival and print them at the designated ticket collection points.

Visitors arriving at our sites will have their tickets scanned for entry by staff who will adhere to physical distancing.

No, the time shown is the earliest you can arrive, and you can arrive at any point within your chosen time slot.

We’ll do our best to fit you in if we can, but if we’ve reached capacity for the time slot when you arrive, you will have to wait until the next available time slot.

Cancellations, refunds and exchanges

In the event of severe weather such as strong winds or snow, we may need to close our sites. The sites will close if the weather presents a hazard and a risk to visitors.

We recommend that you check our website or our Twitter account (#HSclosure) on the day you are going to visit, especially if severe weather is forecast, as a closure notice will be posted here first. Customers will then be contacted by us shortly afterwards with details regarding how to re-book or how to claim a refund. If you have not been contacted within 48 hours please contact ticketing@hes.scot.

All tickets purchased are non-refundable as per our terms and conditions however if tickets are available for different dates then we can alter your existing booking. Please contact ticketing@hes.scot with your booking details.

If we have availability then yes, we can alter the date of your tickets, please contact ticketing@hes.scot with your booking details.

Please do not visit if you feel unwell with any symptoms of COVID-19 or have come into contact with anyone who may have symptoms. Contact us at ticketing@hes.scot with your booking details to re-arrange your visit.

Historic Scotland Members

Members were sent an email (or letter if we had no email address for you) explaining the process for booking tickets.

Yes, all visitors, including members, need to book a ticket in advance. As a member you have free access to our sites but to help us with physical distancing and capacity management you must book a date and time slot. Please remember to only book if you know you can attend as capacity is limited to keep all visitors safe.

Historic Scotland Life members can take guests free of charge. Tickets for guests should be included in the member ticket order.

If you are an annual member and wish to bring a non-member with you, then a paid admission ticket will need to be booked for the same time slot. Paid admission tickets can be found at www.historicreopening.scot

Yes, membership can be purchased online. If you wish to visit once you have purchased membership, you will then be able to reserve member tickets online. You must take your membership confirmation email with you as proof of membership (printed or on your phone).

No, please contact members@hes.scot or call 0131 668 8999 we can arrange for a replacement card and an email confirmation which can be used straightaway. Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee entry if you do not have a valid membership card/email confirmation.

You should make your booking online for the number of tickets as per your membership category allowance. An email confirmation will then be sent. You must take the email confirmation with you for your visit, on your phone or printed. Your valid membership card will be required to be scanned for entry.

  • Adult/Concession membership – 1 ticket
  • Adult/Concession plus children membership – max of 6 tickets (1 adult/concession plus up to 5 children)
  • 2 Adults/Concessions membership – 2 tickets
  • 2 Adults/concessions plus children membership – max of 6 tickets (2 adult/concessions plus up to 4 children)
  • Life/Senior Life – max. of 6 tickets - 3 adults or 1 adult & 5 children or 2 adults & 3 children
  • Joint Life/Senior - max of 6 tickets – 6 adults or 2 adults & 4 children per card or 4 adults & 2 children

Any children under 5 should also be added into your booking, regardless of your membership category.

Please adhere to current Scottish Government guidance on group numbers and households.

If you have children under 5, please add these onto your booking. Under 5s visit free and do not affect your membership but will need to be added into your online booking.

No, each visit requires its own booking.

Yes, your membership card will be required for entry as it is proof of your membership. If you have recently purchased your membership online, or at another site, take your temporary membership certificate or membership email confirmation as this is your proof of membership.

You need proof of membership in addition to your pre-booked tickets to visit. If you do not show valid membership cards/email confirmation on the day then we cannot guarantee entry.

Book your member tickets via www.historicreopening.scot, and if you have recently purchased your membership online, or at another site, take your temporary membership certificate or membership email confirmation with you on your visit as this is your proof of membership. You need proof of membership in addition to your pre-booked tickets to visit.

No, due to the restrictions in place since coronavirus we are having to limit the number of visitors to our attractions. The safest and simplest way to do this is to ensure all tickets are pre-booked in advance.

There is an option to add on car parking when booking your tickets.

For members who do not have internet access you can call to reserve tickets in advance on 0131 668 8831, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

Associate Members

Members of English Heritage, CADW and Manx National Heritage have reciprocal arrangements for entry to our sites. However, all tickets need to be booked online in advance. If you are a first-year member you receive a 50% discount on the ticket price, if you are a renewal member your entry is free. You can book under the ‘associate member tickets’ area to visit. You must bring your valid membership card, and pre-booked tickets, with you to ensure entry.

You should only book the number of tickets that you are allowed as per your membership category up to a maximum of 6 people.

Please adhere to current Scottish Government guidance on group numbers and households.