More historic attractions to open in May and June across Scotland


19 May 2021
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Broch of Gurness, Orkney, copyright Rob Burke
Historic Environment Scotland has announced the next set of reopening dates for a number of its properties, including Broch of Gurness and Bothwell Castle.

The latest roll-out of the phased reopening of sites will see Broch of Gurness on Orkney, Bonawe Iron Furnace in Argyll and Spynie Palace in Moray reopen their doors on 24 May.

As Moray and now Glasgow currently remain in Level 3 COVID restrictions, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is, in line with SG guidance, advising visitors against travelling to or from these areas until the situation is again reviewed.

Dundrennan Abbey in Dumfries and Galloway and Edzell Castle in Angus will then open their doors again to visitors on Friday 4 June.


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Further sites, including Bothwell Castle in South Lanarkshire, Elcho Castle and Huntington Tower in Perth, Kildrummy Castle in Aberdeenshire and Maeshowe visitor centre on Orkney, will then reopen on 21 June.

The Maeshowe chambered tomb itself will remain closed due to space restrictions required under current COVID guidelines. Visitors, however, will be able to enjoy an introductory talk highlighting Orkney’s heritage, interpretation of Maeshowe tomb and its world heritage Ranger base as well as the on-site facilities and shop. Tickets for the visitor experience should be booked in advance via the HES website.

Phased reopening arrangements

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES said: “We are pleased to announce even more of our sites reopening up and down the country, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy much loved heritage attractions once again."

“We are opening a further 13 of our ticketed sites to visitors over May and June, including a number of seasonal sites, joining over 70% of our attractions which opened at the end of April with additional sites to follow."

“With over 5,000 years of history in our care, we’ve adopted a phased approach to reopening, providing as diverse a mix of attractions as possible, as well as reviewing and implementing the individual reopening requirements of each site, in line with Scottish Government guidance. We are now looking forward to welcoming visitors back to even more sites, providing further opportunity to enjoy Scotland’s diverse and globally renowned historic environment.”

Re-opening run-down

Reopened on 10 May

  • Iona Abbey

24 May opening 

  • Bonawe Iron Furnace
  • Broch of Gurness
  • Spynie Palace (Moray remains in Level 3 regarding COVID restrictions, and people are advised against travelling in or out of the region

June opening (4 June)

  • Dundrennan Abbey
  • Edzell Castle

June opening (21 June)

  • Bothwell Castle
  • Elcho Castle (grounds initially with no charge)
  • Huntington Tower
  • Kildrummy Castle
  • Maeshowe Visitor Centre, Stenness. Please note, the monument will remain closed given the small internal space

June opening (30 June)

  • Dumbarton Castle
  • Rothesay Castle

Pre-booking is essential at all sites. Visit the HES website.

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