Free Entry to Historic Scotland
For the last four years, Historic Scotland has opened its doors, free of charge, to some of its properties in celebration of St Andrew’s Day. This year it has trumped itself by extending the free opening to cover four days starting tomorrow and ending on the day itself.
From 9.30am, you’ll be able to enter one or as many as you can manage of 48 heritage sites throughout the country. The choice open to you varies for cathedrals like Elgin and Dunblane, to abbeys like Jedburgh, Dryburgh, Dundrennan (where Mary, Queen of Scots spent her last night on Scottish soil) and Sweetheart to even a distillery, Dallas Dhu. Not to be forgotten, of course are the many castles and palaces in the care of Historic Scotland. There is Urquhart Castle by the shore of Loch Ness, the triangular Caerlaverock Castle near Dumfries, Stirling and Edinburgh Castles – the two most famous of all and Edzell with its secret garden. Don’t forget on Orkney, Skara Brae, the best preserved stone age village in Europe where even beds and tables made 2,000 years ago remain or Iona, a key site in Celtic Christianity where St Columba established a monastery there.
For details of all the sites that are open, see www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/places.
It isn’t just properties owned by Historic Scotland that are open free of charge this weekend. Traquair, Scotland’s oldest inhabited house has its Christmas Opening with staff in Victorian dress and Russian music on Sunday.