Free entry to historic sites marks St Andrew’s Day



By Karrie Gillett

SCOTLAND’s most famous tourist attractions are opening their doors for free to celebrate St Andrew’s Day.

Admission charges at sites such as Edinburgh and Stirling castles, Dunfermline Abbey and Glasgow Cathedral have been waived to mark the national day.

Linda Fabiani, Culture Minister, announced today at the castle esplanade in Edinburgh that Historic Scotland would be opening nearly 50 of its sites free of charge over the weekend.

The minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture said: “People can come and see their history, see their heritage and do some learning.

“People are generally engaged in St Andrew’s Day and this is just a way of boosting this more by making it a real national celebration.”

She was joined by around 25 pupils from Lorne Primary School in Leith who painted their faces white and blue to take part in the launch.

Ms Fabiani said: “It’s amazing the joy that very young kids find when they come to an historic place.

“It’s not dusty old history, these sites are full of fun as well and young people right though to teenagers just love that.”

The 47 sites across Scotland – including some of the most iconic attractions – will be open for free on November 29 and 30.

In the north, Orkney’s ancient Skara Brae and Maeshowe will be open for free along with the artillery fortification, Fort George and Urquhart Castle.

The fully furnished Blackhouse in the Western Isles will also be dropping admission charges.

 Rebecca Hamilton, of Historic Scotland, said: “This is the first time we have opened all weekend for St Andrew’s Day.

“As Scots, we are very good at being proud of our nation and celebrating our Scottishness.

“At Historic Scotland, we have seen an 11% rise in membership over recent months – a clear indication of a loyalty to the heritage attractions we provide.”

In the Borders, the sites taking part in the free event are Dryburgh Abbey, Jedburgh Abbey, Melrose Abbey and Smailholm Tower.

And those in central Scotland can take advantage of no price on entry to Castle Campbell, Doune Castle, Dunblane Cathedral, Dunstaffnage Castle, Iona Abbey and Stirling Castle.

Sweetheart Abbey in Dumfries and Galloway will join a list of castles in the area to drop their charges.

And in the Lothians, Linlithgow Palace will open its doors along with a host of castles including Edinburgh.