Historic properties open for the summer


HISTORIC Scotland is opening its seasonal heritage sites to visitors.

The 25 properties across Scotland which will be opening to the public on 1st April range from Arnol Blackhouse in the Outer Hebrides to Edzell Castle and Garden in Perthshire to the 13th century Inchmaholme Priory set on an island in the Lake of Menteith and only accessible by boat.

Inchmaholme Priory is one of the properties opening on April 1  Photo:Bubobubo2

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said:  “Spring is a wonderful time to enjoy all that Scotland has to offer, from castles to cathedrals, cairns to standing stones.

“Scotland’s finest heritage attractions make for a great family day out with an opportunity to explore Scotland’s history and heritage.

“This is the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 and I am looking forward to many  exciting events to celebrate our amazing history and heritage.”

Stephen Duncan, Historic Scotland’s Director of Commercial and Tourism said:

“Now that the Easter holidays are almost upon us, it’s the perfect time to get children away from their x boxes, make them use their imagination and have fun at one of our fantastic sites as well as learn about Scotland’s fascinating history and heritage.

“Historic Scotland membership is a great way for families to enjoy great days for less than £7:00 a month. Membership also enables free admission to all of Historic Scotland’s 78 paid-entry visitor attractions throughout the country, as well as free entry to a host of special events taking place at them throughout the year, from jousting at Linlithgow Palace to medieval mayhem at Caerlaverock Castle.”

If you need the bracing sea air to get rid of the winter cobwebs, Tantallon Castle in East Lothian with its dramatic setting above the cliffs on the Firth of Forth is the perfect location. It also offers a great view of the Bass Rock with its colony of gannets and fulmars which nest on the cliffs below the castle.

Lochleven Castle in Perthshire is associated with many colourful events and has been visited by countless personalities during its history.  Some of those taking the boat across Loch Leven came of their own accord, including King Robert the Bruce in 1313 and 1323, but the most famous visitor was Mary Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned there in 1567 for almost a year.  Located within a National Nature Reserve, the loch supports the largest population of breeding ducks in Britain.

Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement in Shetland provides a fascinating insight into the way of life from the Bronze age through to the Middle Ages with oval-shaped Bronze Age houses, Iron Age broch and wheelhouses and Viking long-houses as well as a rich collection of artefacts

And if you need to burn off calories before feasting on Easter Eggs, a climb up Cairnpapple Hill, a former ceremonial site and also burial site boasts breathtaking views over Central Scotland and even as far as Goat Fell on Arran