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Great Family Days Out now Spring is here

27 March 2012

Now that Spring is here, Historic Scotland’s seasonal heritage sites are opening their doors to welcome visitors.

The 25 seasonal properties across Scotland which will be opening to the public on 1st April range from Arnol Blackhouse in the Outer Hebrides to the stunning Edzell Castle and Garden in Perthshire to the 13th century Inchmaholme Priory set on an island in the Lake of Menteith and only accessible by boat.  

Visitors looking for inspiration can visit a special web page and insert their postcode to find out about exciting properties in their area.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said:  “Spring is a wonderful time to enjoy all that Scotland has to offer, from castles to cathedrals, cairns to standing stones.  

“Scotland’s finest heritage attractions make for a great family day out with an opportunity to explore Scotland’s history and heritage.  

“This is the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 and I am looking forward to many  exciting events to celebrate our amazing history and heritage.”

If you need the bracing sea air to get rid of the winter cobwebs, Tantallon Castle in  East Lothian with its dramatic setting above the cliffs on the Firth of Forth is the perfect location. It also offers a great view of the Bass Rock with its colony of gannets and fulmars which nest on the cliffs below the castle.

.Lochleven Castle in Perthshire is associated with many colourful events and has been visited by countless personalities during its history.  Some of those taking the boat across Loch Leven came of their own accord, including King Robert the Bruce in 1313 and 1323, but the most famous visitor was Mary Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned there in 1567 for almost a year.  Located within a National Nature Reserve, the loch supports the largest population of breeding ducks in Britain.

Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement in Shetland provides a fascinating insight into the way of life from the Bronze age through to the Middle Ages with oval-shaped Bronze Age houses, Iron Age broch and wheelhouses and Viking long-houses as well as a rich collection of artefacts

And if you need to burn off calories before feasting on Easter Eggs, a climb up  Cairnpapple Hill, a former ceremonial site and also burial site boasts breathtaking views over Central Scotland and even as far as Goat Fell on Arran

Stephen Duncan, Historic Scotland’s Director of Commercial and Tourism said:

“Now that the Easter holidays are almost upon us, it’s the perfect time to get children away from their x boxes, make them use their imagination and have fun at one of our fantastic sites as well as learn about Scotland’s fascinating history and heritage.

“Historic Scotland membership is a great way for families to enjoy great days for less than £7:00 a month. Membership also enables free admission to all of Historic Scotland’s 78 paid-entry visitor attractions throughout the country, as well as free entry to a host of special events taking place at them throughout the year, from jousting at Linlithgow Palace to medieval mayhem at Caerlaverock Castle.”

For more information, please visit the Historic Scotland website,

Notes for editors:

Images are available on request from Paul Spence 0131 668 8731 or email

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

                                                Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

Jennifer Johnston-Watt
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8070 or 07827 956 866