ONLINE bookings for two of East Lothian’s most popular attractions are now open.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is preparing to open the gates to more than 20 ticketed sites, including Tantallon Castle, near North Berwick, and Dirleton Castle, across the country this month.

The historic sites will open on April 30 following the Scottish Government’s proposed dates for the reopening of the tourism sector and mainland Scotland moving to Covid protection level three.

New technology is also being implemented as part of HES’s new visitor offering.

Visitors will be able to explore the stories of many of the sites in innovative ways through downloadable maps, family trails, quizzes and quests, music, poetry and personal accounts to tell stories throughout the centuries, videos exploring Gaelic culture and words, and digital fly-throughs to areas usually restricted to visitors.

Visitors will be able to enjoy access to the historic outdoor spaces at both sites, as well as the Doocot, Gazebo, Hallyburton Range and first floor of the Ruthven Range at Dirleton Castle.

Dirleton Castle. Copyright G Laird and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Dirleton Castle. Copyright G Laird and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

All visitors, including members, will be required to pre-book tickets online and to use contactless payment where possible; one-way systems will be implemented in some locations; visitors must wear face coverings in any indoor/enclosed spaces, including retail and catering areas; and visitor numbers will be limited for safety reasons.

Alex Paterson, chief executive of HES, said: “We know how keen our members and visitors are to get back to our sites, so we’re delighted to reopen over 70 per cent of our properties on April 30.

“Scotland’s heritage sector is a key part of our tourism offer – from providing jobs to increasing our wellbeing – and, in addition to reopening the sites that reopened last year, we will also reopen further sites on a phased basis over the upcoming months.”

Tantallon Castle will open daily, 10am-4pm, from April 30, while Dirleton Castle will open on the same date and from then on will be open Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays between the same times.

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