National Trust to open dozens of outdoor sites to the public

More than 1000 slots have already been pre-booked in the first few days of tickets being made available online.

Dozens of gardens and estates operated by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) will open to the public on Monday for the first time since lockdown.

The charity has announced outdoor sites across Scotland will be available to welcome visitors as part of measures announced by the Scottish Government.

Of these, two will only open with timed entry to manage numbers and maintain safe physical distancing – Culzean Country Park in Ayrshire and Threave Garden in Dumfries and Galloway.

More than 1000 slots have already been pre-booked in the first few days of Culzean tickets being made available online.

It comes after the charity said some indoor facilities may not reopen until the 2022/23 season including Bannockburn Visitor Centre, Hill of Tarvit, House of the Binns, Kippen Smiddy, Leith Hall, Holmwood and Souter Johnnie’s Cottage.

The charity has also warned residents within the local lockdown in parts of Dumfries and Galloway “not to travel to its properties if it entails a journey beyond the five-mile limit”.

Some sites will have takeaway food and drink on offer but visitors are reminded to take litter home with them and toilet facilities will also be in place – though not at all properties.

Phil Long, the charity’s new chief executive, said: “It’s wonderful news that we’re able to start welcoming visitors back to so many of our properties around the country.

“Sadly, we can’t yet bring people inside the castles, houses and visitor centres just yet, but we’re hoping that we’ll be able to do so in the coming months and will make further announcements as soon as we are able.

“It’s an exceptionally challenging time for the Trust. Right now, we should be in the midst of our busiest period, with visitors from home and abroad returning to and discovering for the first time the magical places that we look after and finding out about the exceptional work done to conserve them.

“By opening now, our charity can start to make up for some of the income that we’ve lost this year, though this will not be enough to cover the charitable funds we’ve missed out on during the lockdown.

The full list of sites reopening on Monday (along with 22 properties already opened):

Aberdeenshire – Castle Fraser, Crathes Castle, Drum Castle, Fyvie Castle, Haddo House, Leith Hall (all garden and grounds); Craigievar Castle, Pitmedden (grounds only); Mar Lodge Estate (car parks only).

Angus – Barry Mill (grounds); House of Dun (garden and grounds).

Argyll – Arduaine Garden; Crarae Garden; Geilston Garden (Thursday–Monday).

Ayrshire and Arran – Brodick Country Park, Culzean Country Park (garden and grounds, Thursday–Monday).

Dumfries and Galloway – Threave (garden and estate, Thursday–Monday).

Edinburgh and Lothians – Inveresk Lodge Garden (Monday–Friday); Malleny Garden.

Fife – Culross Palace (garden, Thursday–Monday); Falkland Palace (garden); Kellie Castle (garden and grounds, Thursday–Monday).

Glasgow – Greenbank Garden (garden and grounds, Thursday–Monday).

Highlands – Brodie Castle, Inverewe (estate and garden); Culloden (battlefield).

Perthshire – Branklyn Garden.

Scottish Borders – Harmony Garden, Priorwood Garden.

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