Coronavirus: Dryburgh Abbey reopens to visitors

DRYBURGH Abbey has reopened to visitors, having closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The abbey, which dates back to 1150, is the burial place of Sir Walter Scott. It has been described as the most beautiful abbey in the Borders.

Visitors were welcomed back on September 4, with Historic Environment Scotland (HES) also announcing the reopening date for Jedburgh Abbey.

HES chief executive Alex Paterson said: “Our historic sites are internationally renowned symbols of Scotland, and their reopening is an important milestone not only for our organisation, but for the country as a whole as we continue on our journey to recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The first HES property to reopen was Kelso Abbey on July 15, followed by Melrose on August 19, and Dryburgh on September 4.

At Dryburgh, visitors will be able to see assets such as the transepts, which are among some of the best Gothic church architecture in Scotland, and the burial places of famous figures including Sir Walter Scott and Field-Marshal Earl Haig, though the stone cellars and spiral stairs in the dormitory will be closed to the public.

At Jedburgh Abbey, which will reopen on September 18, a number of procedures have been put in place to maintain social distancing, including one-way systems in some locations and the closure of some indoor, enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible.

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^ Jedburgh Abbey is due to reopen on September 18

Visitors will be able to explore the remains of ancillary buildings, where the brethren ate and slept, and also walk through the cloister garden.

The viewing gallery and stone display will remain closed.

All tickets must be booked online in advance. Visitors are asked to wear face coverings when entering internal enclosed spaces, in line with Scottish Government guidance.

Mr Paterson added: “We know how keen people are to access our historic sites and are pleased to be able to open up Dryburgh Abbey and Jedburgh Abbey, following the reopening of Melrose Abbey, which was one of the first of our sites across Scotland to reopen last month.

“We are on track to open 23 ticketed sites by mid-September, and this is all down to the efforts of all of our staff to ensure these historic sites are ready to safely welcome visitors once again.

“I’d also like to thank visitors for their patience throughout this period of uncertainty and offer reassurance that the safety and quality of their visitor experience has been at the forefront of our preparations.

Mr Paterson continued: “The tourism sector will be central to Scotland’s national recovery, and our historic attractions are a key part of that tourism offering, including secondary spend.

“We’re also encouraging people across Scotland to visit historic sites in their local area and rediscover the rich history on their doorstep.”

Dryburgh Abbey is open daily from 10am to 4pm, while Jedburgh Abbey will be open daily from 10am to 4pm from Friday, September 18.

Visitors must book their tickets online in advance from the HES website.

For further information, visit www.historicreopening.scot

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