Article Source: Historic Environment Scotland
First Published: 22 July 2020 12:18
Updated: 22 July 2020 12:25
Online booking opens today (Wednesday 22 July) for three of Scotland’s most iconic castles as Historic Environment Scotland (HES) prepares to open the gates to Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle.
The historic sites, which have been closed since 18 March following the outbreak of COVID-19, will reopen on Saturday 1 August, and will be the first Historic Scotland ticketed sites to reopen. A further 23 ticketed attractions will then reopen on a rolling basis during August through to mid-September.
Visitors will be able to enjoy access to outdoor spaces, including the grounds at all three sites opening on Saturday 1 August and the Queen Anne Gardens at Stirling Castle, as well as exploring historic locations such as the Great Hall, War Memorial and St Margaret’s Chapel at Edinburgh Castle, the Great Hall and Chapel Royal at Stirling Castle, and part of Grant Tower at Urquhart Castle.
Used by Mary Queen of Scots to host lavish banquets, the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle was completed in 1511, while the Great Hall at Stirling Castle is the largest of its kind in Scotland and was completed in 1503. Visitors to Edinburgh Castle can also enjoy seeing the firing of the One O’clock Gun.
It is anticipated that by the end of August further indoor spaces will open at all three sites, however, this will be assessed in line with Scottish Government guidance.
New safety measures have been put in place on site, with cash payments no longer being accepted for the foreseeable future, and visitors being asked to use contactless payment where possible. One-way systems will be in place in some locations, and access will be restricted to small enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible.
Visitors will be required to wear face coverings when entering the retail shops, in line with Scottish Government guidance. The cafés on site will be open to visitors, providing a take-away offer. Visitors to Edinburgh Castle can also enjoy tea, coffee and snacks from the Red Food Truck on the esplanade, and the ice cream van at Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle will be open.
Visitor numbers will be limited for safety reasons with timed ticketing slots, and all visitors must book tickets online in advance. Contact information will also be collected from visitors when booking tickets to assist contact tracing as part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said: “We very much look forward to welcoming Historic Scotland members, and members of the public back to Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle.
“Since lockdown began – which is the first time since the Second World War that all of our visitor attractions have been closed – we have been working hard to implement new safety measures at our sites in line with Scottish Government guidance.
“We want our visitors to not only be safe, but feel safe too, whilst experiencing Scotland’s heritage sites with all they have to offer again.
“I’m sure that many of our visitors will be eager to cross the drawbridge of three of Scotland’s most iconic sites now that lockdown restrictions are easing as well as our other sites across the country which will be re-opening on a rolling basis. We’ve worked hard to get our sites ready to welcome visitors, and as before, a fun and enjoyable experience awaits to explore and discover the fascinating history within these world-renowned castles.”
HES is Scotland’s biggest operator of visitor attractions, with over 300 properties in its care. Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s top paid-for visitor attraction, and Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle the second and third most visited HES sites.
All three sites have also been approved by Visit Scotland as part of the UK-wide ‘We’re Good To Go’ scheme to provide confidence for visitors, communities and tourism businesses alike as the tourism sector works towards reopening.
Ticket prices have been reduced while some indoor access is restricted and must be booked in advance. Tickets cost £15.50 for an adult, £12.40 for concession and £9.30 for a child for Edinburgh Castle; £14 for an adult, £11.20 for concession and £8.40 for a child for Stirling Castle; and £9.60 for an adult, £7.70 for concession and £5.80 for a child for Urquhart Castle.
Tickets must be purchased online from the HES, Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle websites. To book tickets, visit: www.historicreopening.scot
For information on further HES sites reopening, visit:
Bloody Scotland International Crime Festival reveals the winners of the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize and the McIlvanney Prize 2020 to be two debut women writers.
Just when you thought your Christmas show had been cancelled, Horrible Histories comes to the rescue with their own unique take on the festive season!
Macdonald Houstoun House has seen a 25% spike in enquiries after launching a series of flexible wedding packages created specially to help couples tie the knot following lockdown.
Macdonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa has seen a 25% spike in enquiries after launching a series of flexible wedding packages created specially to help couples get married following lockdown.
Bannockburn House Trust is set to host a series of virtual events this month, starting with Doors Open Day this weekend (19-20 September).
The Beat the Street Forth and Clyde physical activity game is off to a great start this week with 1,062 players signed up and a total of 1,600 miles travelled!
With the festive season in sight, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, Dobbies Garden Centres, announces its Christmas events offering for 2020.
Forth Valley Food Festival will return this October with a series of virtual and socially distanced events showcasing local food and drink producers, growers, brewers and eateries.
itison have announced that GlasGLOW will return to Glasgow's Botanic Gardens from the 29th October to the 8th November with early bird tickets on sale on the 16th September!
Food Safety Awareness is one of the new topics added to Go Forth Stirling’s free online training programme this month.
Stirling’s business community is set to welcome new students as they arrive at the University of Stirling this weekend.
The Dog Ate My Homework, CBBC's BAFTA nominated comedy panel show, is back for a eighth series and they need you!
Come fly with us in 2021! Join Team SBH Scotland for an exhilarating Charity Skydive at Errol Airfield, Perthshire.
Kids in Museums are delighted to announce that they are once again partnering with Walker Books on an exciting half term activity for families: Where's Wally? Spooky Museum Search!
The SAY Award have today announced an outstanding line-up for this year’s Live at the Longlist event as Free Love, Kinnaris Quintet and Sacred Paws all take to the stage ahead of the 2020 reveal.
Runners and walkers across Scotland will be taking to the streets this weekend (5 & 6 September) in a virtual event in support of the Eilidh MacLeod Memorial Trust.
Tennent's is giving fans the ultimate staycation at a lighthouse to celebrate their latest beer, Tennent's Light, hitting shops and supermarket shelves!
Bannockburn House Trust has gifted a train planter to local tots to help teach them about growing their own food and plants.
The team at Stirling company Angels’ Share Glass, an award-winning family firm, has created a new spirits glass – The Angels’ Share Glass.
Judges Karen Robinson, Stuart Cosgrove and James Crawford today reveal the finalists for The McIlvanney Prize 2020.
Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce has launched a data collection app for the area’s business community.
A brand renowned for its sweet treats is set to grant a popular wish – by awarding a lifetime supply of its famed ice cream to a lucky fan!
As part of the Scotland Loves Local campaign, Scotland's Towns Partnership is on the search for our High Street Heroes!
Only 1 week left to submit youth made short films for inclusion in the 2020 festival programme and competition.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced reopening dates for a further 10 ticketed iconic sites throughout Scotland.
Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival reveals its 2020 programme today - an entirely on-line festival over the same weekend it should have been taking place in Stirling.
A winner and runner-up for Scotland will be chosen from seven Scottish groups shortlisted for this year’s Epic Award and Stirling Photography Festival is on the short list!
Studio Lambert North and Channel 4 are on the hunt for a new wave of brave Scottish singletons willing to bare all for series seven of the hit show Naked Attraction!
Loch Lomond Shores have announced the postponement of the Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival until 4th and 5th September 2021.
A series of online workshops to support artists and creatives with their careers has been launched by Stirling’s Place Partnership project.