Thu 25 Jun 20
Conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland is preparing to welcome visitors at dozens of gardens and estates across the country, as lockdown continues to ease.
The Trust’s countryside sites, such as St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve and Ben Lawers have been open for local access in line with Scottish Government guidelines for a few weeks.
With the move into Phase 2 confirmed, the charity is now preparing to re-open around 30 of its estates and gardens from 6 July onwards, including Culross Palace gardens, Falkalnd Palace gardens and Kellie Castle gardens and grounds.
The conservation charity closed all properties in March when the coronavirus emergency hit Scotland.
Trust Chairman Sir Mark Jones said: “We are hard at work preparing to open up dozens more of our beautiful places once again.
“Our staff are coming back from furlough, we’ve redesigned the visitor routes at some places and, of course, we are closely following all the advice on safety and hygiene measures, so that everyone can enjoy their trip to the Trust.
“As we all adapt to the ‘new normal’ there will be some changes on the ground at properties, and we hope that our members, supporters and visitors will be patient and work with us during this time of transition. We would also please ask visitors to stick to the latest guidance on travel distances.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming our local visitors back and we hope that this helps us all emerge back into the light, after being confined for so long.”
The charity is also advising people to avoid visiting at traditional peak times, as much as possible and to check at www.nts.org.uk for latest opening information, ahead of travel.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a serious impact on the charity’s income for the year, creating a £28 million shortfall. The Trust has been forced to take emergency action to save money, with all projects paused, some property re-openings postponed and 429 staff being put at risk of redundancy. The charity has also launched the Save Our Scotland appeal which aims to raise £2.5 million to help the Trust continue its vital work to protect Scotland’s built and natural heritage.
Sir Mark: “We would like to thank all the members who have stuck with us during this crisis and those who have donated to our Save Our Scotland appeal. Your support means that we can continue the work we do to protect Scotland’s natural and national treasures.”
Selected castles, houses and visitor centres are scheduled to open in August and in line with Scottish Government advice, travel to our islands is currently limited to residents only.