15 things to do this weekend in Scotland as lockdown eases

And as we’re all getting used to like taking on its new normal, we pulled together a list of things to do this weekend to get you out of the house.

Here are the top 15 things to do this weekend:


While the actual castle is currently closed, the grounds and green spaces of Caerlaverock Castle are now open for free as one of Scottish Tourism’s

open-air sites. The castle’s wide moat, towered gatehouse and battlements make it look like something straight out of a fairytale.

Border Telegraph: Caerlaverock CastleCaerlaverock Castle

In fact, the castle has been a popular filming location, featuring in films such as the Decoy Bride starring David Tenant. Gaze up at the formidable red sandstone defensive walls, unique in Britain for the triangular shape, and take in a piece of Scottish history.

Caerlaverock Castle, Glencaple, Dumfries, DG1 4RU. 01387 770244.


The Royal Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh opened back up to the public last Saturday. Located underneath (yes, you read that right) the Royal Mile, this five-star attraction features uniquely preserved 17th-century streets and has spent lockdown redesigning its tours to ensure the safety of staff and visitors alike – including preparing some exciting new tour features.

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The tours will run at 50% capacity and staff will be wearing masks and gloves where possible, maintaining a social distance at all times. The attraction has been given “Good to Go” status by VisitScotland, so visitors can be sure their safety is a priority. Delve into Edinburgh’s murky history and explore places once inhabited by some of the city’s most influential people.

The Real Mary King Close, Warriston’s Close, 2 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PG. Tours run from 10am-4.30pm. Tickets from £15, can be booked online


Put down the takeaway menus and get yourself out for a good, old-fashioned sit-down, pub meal. Since 1797 Sloans has been serving thirsty Glaswegians and this week they finally reopened their doors to the public.

With a fully heated and covered outdoor courtyard, book yourself a spot outside. Or, if it’s a little chilly and you want to stay inside, it has plenty of indoor seating on offer.

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Like everywhere, Sloans has made some important changes to ensure the safety of customers and employees alike, including social distancing, online bookings and contactless payments only, as well as regular cleaning and hand-sanitiser stations throughout the pub.

Sloans, 62 Argyll Arcade, 108 Argyll Street, Glasgow, G2 8BG. Monday-Sunday, noon-11pm. 0141 221 8886.


One of the lesser known spots in St Andrews, The Saint’s beer garden is the perfect place to relax with a pint in the fresh air. After reopening its doors earlier this month, the Saint has put several measures in place to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

These include temperature checks on arrival, as well as submitting your details for contact tracing. Booking in advance is mandatory and tables are limited to six people. But don’t worry – you’ll still have ample time to enjoy your drinks as you have your reservation for just less than two hours. There’s plenty of space to enjoy a relaxing drink not too far away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre.

The Saint Bar & Kitchen, 170 South Street, St Andrews, KY16 9EG.

Monday-Sunday 12-9pm. 01334 473186.


Head to the Scottish Gallery this weekend for your artistic fix! The gallery reopened (by appointment) earlier this month and visitors can call or email the gallery to plan their visit ahead of time.

There’s a host of exhibitions on show this month including Davy Brown at 70 – Brown’s 70th birthday exhibition with the gallery (pictured) – showcasing his still life and landscape painting.

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As well as The Edinburgh School exhibition, featuring pieces from artists associated with the Edinburgh College of Art after the First World War.

The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ. Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm and Saturday 11am-1pm (all by appointment only)

0131 558 1200.


If you’re looking for something educational to do in the north of Scotland in the coming weeks then the Highland Folk Museum is the place to go. They’re reopening on Wednesday and will be open every Wednesday through to Sunday, with visitors needing to pre-book their visit online.

The collections on display at the museum mainly reflect the social and rural way of life in the Scottish Highlands from the 1700s all the way through to the mid-1900s. Some of the collections include the Agricultural Collection (with several thousand items!) and the Domestic Collection with items ranging from cooking material through heating, lighting and laundry to traditional house fittings and furniture, along with many other collections, giving you ample opportunity to learn about all aspects of the history of the Scottish Highlands.

Highland Folk Museum, Kingussie Road, Newtonmore, PH20 1AY. Wednesday-Sunday 10.30am-4pm (pre-booking is essential). 01349 781650.


For a fun activity that doesn’t even involve getting out of the car, this scenic drive from Aberfoyle to Callander, via the Three Lochs Forest, is a perfect weekend activity.

On this quiet forest road you can venture through the woodlands of the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, which stretches almost eight miles, taking you past three enchanting lochs – Lochan Reoidhte, Loch Drunkie and Loch Achray.

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The drive only takes about an hour and 15 minutes but there are several car parks on the drive, as well as picnic areas and some short trails if you fancy a walk to stretch your legs.

Access the entrance to the Three Lochs Forest Drive from the A821 just north of Aberfoyle (driving the route costs £2 per vehicle). Departure point: Aberfoyle.


Although farmers’ markets returned this month, they look very different, but are still a great day out. All traders will be at least two metres away from one another and there will be no hot food (but still plenty of traders selling their food prepacked cold for you to reheat at home).

There’s also no craft stalls at the moment, but there’s plenty of fresh food for visitors to browse and purchase. Social distancing measures are being enforced and all staff are wearing masks.

Leith Market Dock Place, EH6 6LU.

Open every Saturday from 10am-4pm.


This tranquil spot on the banks of Loch Lomond is the perfect place for a summer’s day picnic. Take in the views of the loch and even go for a paddle at Rowardennan before you eat.

Afterwards, the Ben Lomond Memorial Trail is a short, easy walk that ends at the Ben Lomond Memorial Park, which features the award-winning sculpture from artist Doug Cocker framing the peak of Ben Lomond.

G63 0AR is the nearest postcode – follow the signs from Drymen.


Nestled away at the south of Harris is the remote Horgabost Campsite, perfect for a weekend staycation.

The views here stretch out over the water, interrupted only by the gentle rise of Taransay Island. Its remoteness makes it the perfect place to stargaze. And, being so far north, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Horgabost, Isle of Harris, Hebrides, HS3 3HR. 01859 550386.


Inspired by the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow are modelled after Kate Cranston’s Ingram Street Tea Rooms from the early-1900s and is the perfect place to indulge in some afternoon tea in style.

Although booking is not mandatory, customers are encouraged to book in advanceto guarantee a table, minimise queues and prevent congestion at the entrance to the Willow. They will also be serving a reduced menu for the first few weeks while they get to grips with this new way of dining – but it

just gives you an opportunity to try something new!

97 Buchanan Street, Glasgow, G1 3HF Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; Sat 9am-6.30pm; Sun 10am-5.30pm. 0141 204 5242.


Dawyck Botanic Garden is a five-star garden, known for its seasonal

displays of flowers such as snowdrops, bluebells, rhododendrons and

azaleas. Surrounded by the hills of the Scottish Borders, Dawyck has an almost continental feel to its climate during the summer months allowing plants from places including China, Nepal, Japan and North America to thrive.

Take a look at some of the plants on display, including Heritage Trees and blue poppies. The cafes are also open, offering a range of refreshments to take away that you can enjoy in the gardens.

Dawyck Botanic Gardens, Stobo, Scottish Borders, EH45 9JU. Open daily from 10am-5pm. Tickets from £7. 01721760254


Trees growing down to the water’s edge is not a common sight among Scotland’s beaches, but trees andsand together can be found on the beach at Roseisle in Moray near Elgin. In the woodlands beside the beach, there are plenty of walks and trails to take on.

Beside the sea, there are interesting historical objects, such as pillboxes and concrete blocks dating back to the Second World War. On the horizon, you can gaze upon the cliffs surrounding Cromarty Firth and the long line of northern hills.

Kinloss, Forres, Morayshire, IV36 2UB.


Lockdown has been the perfect time to learn new skills. If you haven’t already, why not make one of themkite flying – the ideal socially distanced activity. And Pettycur Bay in Fife is a great spot to learn to kite fly.

When the tide is out, there’s a mile-and-a-half of solid beach to work with. Although kite surfers also use the beach, you can easily kite-fly alongside. However, be careful as when the tide is in there is no beach.

Pettycur Bay, Burntisland KY3 9SB.


A family favourite day out, trips to the zoo are back! Edinburgh Zoo has reopened with a wide range of safety measures in place to protect visitors and staff alike, including new one-way routes and wearing face coverings in indoor areas.

Visitors also must book a time slot in advance to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Almost all of their indoor animal areas are open but keeper talks and public animal feeds have been postponed until further notice.

Edinburgh Zoo, 134 Corstorphine Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh EH12 6TS

Tickets from £20. Open daily from 10am-5pm. 0131 334 9171.

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