Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced the reopening of Dundrennan Abbey in Dumfries and Galloway after closing its doors to visitors in December due to nationwide COVID restrictions.
From Friday June 4, visitors are welcomed back to the historic site in Kirkcudbrightshire as part of HES’s ongoing phased reopening of sites across the country, with more than 70% of its ticketed and free to access attractions opening again last month. More ticketed sites are set to reopen across the summer on a rolling basis.
Now a ruin, the 12th-century abbey was home to a community of Cistercian monks for 400 years. The peaceful woodland location fitted very much with the Cistercian ideal, described by Abbot Ailred of Rievaulx as: “Everywhere peace, everywhere serenity, and a marvellous freedom from the tumult of the world”.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES said: “We are pleased to announce even more of our sites reopening up and down the country, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy much loved heritage attractions once again.
“As well as attractions such as Dundrennan Abbey, we are opening a further 12 of our ticketed sites to visitors over May and June, including a number of seasonal sites, joining over 70% of our attractions which opened at the end of April with additional sites to follow.
“With over 5,000 years of history in our care, we’ve adopted a phased approach to reopening, providing as diverse a mix of attractions as possible, as well as reviewing and implementing the individual reopening requirements of each site, in line with Scottish Government guidance. We are now looking forward to welcoming visitors back to even more sites, providing further opportunity to enjoy Scotland’s diverse and globally renowned historic environment.”
As before, safety measures will be in place at all sites, with visitors wearing face coverings in indoor locations and in some enclosed spaces where social distancing can’t be easily maintained. There will also be an initial capacity management on numbers and one-way systems will be in place in some locations. For the parts of several sites where access is currently restricted, a programme of agile interpretation has been developed which can be accessed via QR codes and includes digital film or audio to further enhance the visitor experience.
All sites will follow the HES minimum operating standards, which were developed to set a benchmark for the safe reopening of historic sites and resumption of operational activities.
Tickets should be booked online in advance from the HES website and are now on sale for the sites opening in May. Tickets for sites opening in June across Scotland will be available to book from Thursday May 27. To book and for more information on further HES sites reopening visit: restarthistory.scot