Castles, cathedrals and museums announce reopening dates

By Rory Murphy

Dumbarton Castle, the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight and the National Museum of Rural Life will reopen from April 26 with others to follow.

The country’s heritage venues have been closed over the last three months due to the coronavirus lockdown, but the easing of restrictions mean they can soon open their doors.

The National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight and the National Museum of Rural Life will reopen from April 26, while the National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle, will welcome history lovers from May 1.

From April 30, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will unshutter its locations including Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Fort George and Caerlaverock Castle.

Dryburgh Abbey, Dunblane Cathedral and Dunfermline Abbey will also be among locations reopening.

More than 70% of HSE’s free-to-access and ticketed properties will open on April 30.

Alex Paterson, chief executive of HES, said: “Scotland’s heritage attractions are a key part of our tourism sector both nationally and at a local community level, and contribute to our individual wellbeing, so we’re delighted to once again be opening sites up across the country.

“This will see us reopen all of the sites we reopened last year on April 30 as well as further sites across the country on a phased basis over the upcoming months.

“As always, the safety of our staff and visitors has been at the forefront of our planning, enabling safe access to our properties in line with Scottish Government guidance and our minimum operating standards which underpin our approach.

“We’re also pleased to tell the story of the sites through technology so visitors have the opportunity to experience the old and the new when they are exploring some of our most iconic sites and enjoying a piece of 5,000 years of history.”

The French Prison, Robert the Bruce, Mary, Queen of Scots and a guidebook to Dumbarton Rock.

Visitors returning to Scotland’s national museums will be able to see Viking treasure and ancient Egyptian artefacts among the exhibits.

Pre-booked timed slots, face coverings and one-way routes will be among the Covid-19 measures in place and museum shops and cafes will take cashless payments only.

Summer exhibitions at the National Museum of Scotland include the Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasure, from May 29 to September 12.

It features rare Viking-age objects buried around the beginning of the 10th century.

Other exhibits include the Discovering Ancient Egypt display at the John Gray Centre, Haddington, extended until July 24, and The Typewriter Revolution  running from July 24 to April 17 2022.

Chris Breward, director of National Museums Scotland, said: “We can’t wait to welcome visitors back once again to all our museums. I know that our many visitors, just like me, will have missed visiting our museums and enjoying the wonderful collections on display.

“We are re-opening once more with our full range of safety measures in place to ensure everyone can have a safe and enjoyable visit.

“And, from the end of May, visitors to the National Museum of Scotland will also have the opportunity to visit our Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasure exhibition, and wonder at this unparalleled collection of precious metal and jewelled objects.”

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