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23 Mar 2020

Coronavirus emergency: all events suspended and properties closed

Mountainous landscape at Glencoe with stormy skies.
Following the latest developments on the coronavirus emergency, we’ve taken the difficult decision to close all our properties.

Our priority, first and foremost, is the wellbeing of our visitors, volunteers and staff. As a result of the latest advice and developments, our charity is:

  • Closing all gardens and car parks, along with Culzean Country Park and Brodick Country Park, as well as the grounds of properties such as Crathes and Brodie castles
  • Closing all holiday let properties and cancelling bookings
  • Asking people not to travel to our island properties in order to protect communities

We have decided that this is the best course of action in the light of calls by the Scottish Government for people to suspend unnecessary travel, especially to more remote areas, and for the owners of all hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation to close.

The decision was also influenced by a busy weekend at some properties where social distancing guidance was not being followed and the potential threat this was causing to the wellbeing of both visitors and the Trust’s staff.

We’re cancelling all holiday let bookings up until at least 30 April, and will extend this if needed. We will not accept any new bookings for stays before 4 June, again with this date subject to review.  

Our staff are contacting people who have made bookings to offer alternative dates in the future, a voucher that can be exchanged for up to a year ahead or, if necessary, a full refund.  

Chief Executive Simon Skinner said: ‘As I have said before, our absolute priority is to ensure the wellbeing of our visitors and workforce. It is this that has led us to today’s very difficult decision.

‘To support non-essential travel instructions, we are closing all our remaining open properties, including gardens, grounds and country parks along with our car parks and holiday let properties. I am truly sorry for the disappointment and inconvenience this is causing but for the safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff this is the right course of action.

‘We are already in touch with those affected to rearrange holidays and events. 

‘The Trust is also asking people not to travel to our island properties at this time, albeit that this is difficult due to ferry restrictions in any case. We were aware of the serious concerns of residents in places like Canna and Fair Isle, which are remote from healthcare provision and especially vulnerable. For their sakes, no-one should travel to island communities unless it is on essential business.

‘While this is a very difficult time, the National Trust for Scotland is carrying on with its vital work of protecting and conserving Scotland’s irreplaceable heritage. We know that our heritage is important to individuals and families, contributing to our individual and national memories, wellbeing and identity.  

‘We will continue to care for the places that mean so much to us, and we hope that people will enjoy these when better days return. In the meantime, I want to offer my profound thanks to our members and to donors, and the public at large, who have pledged to continue supporting our ongoing work.’

Commercial bookings, such as weddings and some holiday lets, as well as Thistle Camp working holidays, are suspended at least until the end of May, subject to ongoing review. 

Full refunds will be offered to anyone who bought tickets for events – in the first instance you should contact the property where you made the booking. But please be patient – due to the likelihood of a high volume of calls, and the fact that many of our staff are dispersed and working from home, it may take some time to arrange refunds.  

Of course, if you wish your ticket price to be used as a donation, we’d be very grateful as this will help our charity through this disruptive period and allow us to keep on conserving our buildings, protecting our wildlife, cleaning our coastlines and looking after our landscapes, even in these most difficult of circumstances.

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