Historic Scotland's St Andrews Free Weekend

by Lexa Pennington /
Lexa Pennington's picture
Nov 13, 2009 / 0 comments





With St Andrew’s Day fast approaching, Scots both at home and abroad are once more preparing to celebrate 30th November.


Historic Scotland is preparing for the St Andrews Free Weekend - which this year forms a part of Homecoming Scotland Finale celebrations - with confirmation that they will offer free entry to 47 of their outstanding heritage attractions across Scotland over the weekend of 28th and 29th November.  There will be extra events at some sites and a few surprises.


Since 1996, Historic Scotland offered free entry to Edinburgh Castle and St Andrews Castle and Cathedral on the national day.  However, to make St Andrew’s Day more of a national day of celebration, Historic Scotland took the decision three years ago to waive admission charges to a wide range of its properties for a special Scotland-wide St Andrew’s promotion – a move which has proved extremely popular with visitors from this country and overseas. This year, there’s an even greater choice of sites to visit for free.


Edinburgh Castle will play a key focus in the celebrations with the free entry applying to three days – 28th, 29th and 30th November.  There will also be special events taking place such as costumed performers and fireworks in the evening.


The St Andrew’s Free Weekend offer covers a superb selection of historic attractions across the length and breadth of Scotland.


This comprises sites in Orkney and the Western Isles – Skara Brae and the Arnol Blackhouse; in the North and Grampian – including Corgarff Castle, Elgin Cathedral, Fort George and Urquhart Castle; in Perthshire, Kinross and Angus - including Arbroath Abbey, Edzell Castle, and Huntingtower Castle; in the Central and West region – including Castle Campbell, Doune Castle, Iona Abbey, and Stirling Castle; in Edinburgh and the Lothians – including Edinburgh Castle, Craigmillar Castle and Dirleton Castle; in the Glasgow and Clyde region – including Bothwell Castle, Dumbarton Castle, and Glasgow Cathedral; in Fife - including Dunfermline Palace and St Andrews Cathedral, in the Borders - including Melrose Abbey and Smailholm Tower, and in Dumfries and Galloway - including Caerlaverock Castle, New Abbey Corn Mill, and Sweetheart Abbey.


The weekend also signifies the Year of Homecoming 2009 Finale. Historic Scotland have been heavily involved in Homecoming 2009 celebrations with developments in ancestral clan trails, publications, on-line resources, events and living history performances and partnerships with other heritage organisations.


Peter Bromley
, director of properties in care, said: “This is such a great opportunity to get out and see the wealth of fascinating historic attractions we have on our doorstep as part of the Homecoming Finale celebrations and in recognition of our national day. Our sites spread all the way across the country, which means you won’t be too far away from a free Historic Scotland attraction over the St Andrew’s Free Weekend.”



Free admission on 28th and 29th November is offered at the following Historic Scotland properties:


o        Aberdour Castle

o        Arbroath Abbey

o        Arnol Blackhouse (not open on 29th November, Sunday)

o        Blackness Castle

o        Bothwell Castle

o        Caerlaverock Castle

o        Cardoness Castle

o        Castle Campbell

o        Corgarff Castle

o        Craigmillar Castle

o        Craignethan Castle

o        Dallas Dhu Distillery

o        Dirleton Castle

o        Doune Castle

o        Dryburgh Abbey

o        Dumbarton Castle

o        Dunblane Cathedral

o        Dunfermline Palace

o        Dundrennan Abbey

o        Dunstaffnage Castle

o        Edinburgh Castle

o        Edzell Castle

o        Elgin Cathedral

o        Fort George

o        Glasgow Cathedral (normally a donation only based site without admission charges)

o        Huntingtower Castle

o        Huntly Castle

o        Iona Abbey

o        Jedburgh Abbey

o        Linlithgow Palace

o        Maeshowe Visitor Centre

o        Melrose Abbey

o        New Abbey Corn Mill

o        Rothesay Castle

o        Skara Brae

o        Smailholm Tower

o        Spynie Palace

o        St Andrews Castle

o        St Andrews Cathedral

o        St Vigeans

o        Stanley Mills

o        Stirling Castle

o        Sweetheart Abbey

o        Tantallon Castle

o        Tolquhon Castle

o        Trinity House

o        Urquhart Castle


·        Opening times for Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle are from 9.30am to 5pm. For all other properties listed above, opening times are from 9.30am to 4.30pm.


·        There are over 40 events taking place across Scotland as part of the Homecoming Scotland Finale Celebrations and many more around the world, creating the biggest ever St Andrew’s day celebration. Details can be found at www.scotland.org/standrewsday.


·        Historic Scotland has 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For details of all sites visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/places. For information on Edinburgh Castle, visit: www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk and for details on Stirling Castle, visit www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk


·        Historic Scotland’s Mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.


·        Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.



Information provided by Historic Scotland.