Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is set to reopen the doors to Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, on Wednesday 26 August for the first time after closing in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.
This follows the recent reopening of nearby Blackness Castle, which started welcoming back visitors on Monday 17 August.
New measures for the safety of staff and visitors will be in place at both sites, including one-way systems in some locations and the closure of some indoor areas, such as small enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible.
Visitors to Linlithgow Palace will be able to enjoy access to all outdoor areas of the site as well as the Great Hall and Chapel, the Royal Apartment and the Queen Margaret Bower. Areas above the second floor of the site will currently remain closed to the public.
Visitors will be required to pre-book tickets via the HES website and there will only be limited parking available for visitors with a pre-booked ticket.
Blackness Castle, known as “the ship that never sailed” due to its design, will be operating at a much reduced visitor capacity, with pre-booking essential for access to all areas of the Castle and its grounds.
Visitors will be able to access all external areas of the site, as well as key features including the Mid Tower, which will have capacity management measures in place, and the Stern Tower up to the Great Hall level. The castle’s car park has limited spaces available for those that have pre-booked tickets.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said: “Our historic sites are internationally renowned symbols of Scotland, and their reopening is an important milestone not only for our organisation, but for the country as a whole as we continue on our journey to recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know how keen people are to access our historic sites and are pleased to now be able to again open up Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace to visitors.
“We are on track to open 23 ticketed sites by mid-September, and this is all down to the efforts of all of our staff to ensure these historic sites are ready to safely welcome visitors once again.
“I’d also like to thank visitors for their patience throughout this period of uncertainty and offer reassurance that the safety and quality of their visitor experience has been at the forefront of our preparations.
“The tourism sector will be central to Scotland’s national recovery, and our historic attractions are a key part of that tourism offering, including secondary spend. We’re also encouraging people across Scotland to visit historic sites in their local area and rediscover the rich history on their doorstep.”
Linlithgow Palace reopens from Wednesday 26 August, and will be open daily from 10am to 4pm with last admission at 3:15pm.
Blackness Castle is open daily from 10am to 4pm, with last admission at 3:30pm. Tickets for both sites must be purchased in advance from HES website.
For more information about visiting Linlithgow Palace and Blackness Castle, as well as HES’s plans to reopen more sites as restrictions ease, visit www.historicreopening.scot.