Opening times

Daily except Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4.30pm

Open on Mondays for pre-booked group visits only.




The HES Archives began with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) in 1908. Today, it holds more than five million items and continues to record all aspects of the historic environment in Scotland and beyond.

Recording the historic environment

The Ancient Monuments Protection Act was passed in 1882, providing the first state protection for ancient monuments in the UK. In the early 1900s, there was a call to compile a comprehensive and detailed list of all the significant monuments in Scotland to help with this new legislation.

Following a brief consultation by Sir John Sinclair, the Secretary for Scotland, King Edward VII established RCAHMS on 14 February 1908.

Since 1908, thousands of historic places have been recorded and the archive now holds around:

  • 400,000 architectural drawings, plans and maps
  • 700,000 photographic prints
  • 40,000 library books
  • journals and periodicals

Today, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) continues this work and our archive and survey teams add new records to the archive every day.

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Use one of our fantastic locations on your next shoot for an awe-inspiring backdrop to your work.

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Our 300+ historic places serve as creative inspiration for all sorts of learning activities – and for learners of all ages.

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See the past brought to life by the imaginative year-round programme of events at our properties.