May events at Historic Environment Scotland sites

For more information on any of these events visit Historic Environment Scotland here. Historic Environment Scotland Members’ discount available.

Forthside Lunchtime Litter Pick – Engine Shed – Thursday 2 May 2019

Join us on a litter pick on the banks of the River Forth for Clean Up Scotland. During April and May many organisations, businesses, community groups and individuals will be taking part in the Clean Up Scotland campaign run by Keep Scotland Beautiful. Through events like litter picks, the campaign aims to build community pride, and keep Scotland clean for future generations. If you would like to take part, book a place on our litter pick. We’ll meet at the Engine Shed before heading to the banks of the River Forth for our Forthside Lunch Time Litter Pick. After the litter pick, join us back at the Engine Shed for a well-deserved cup of tea or coffee.

Conservation 101 – Engine Shed – Friday 3 May 2019

Hear from Historic Environment Scotland experts as they take you through the building blocks of conservation. Discover the philosophy and ethics of building conservation. Learn how to identify common decay mechanisms and building defects and understand the listing process and what it means for you. These sessions are run in conjunction with the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). They will appeal to anyone with a working knowledge of buildings who is interested in learning more about traditional structures, including students and professionals. Conservation 101 is the first in a series of CPD events which will be run quarterly at the Engine Shed in Stirling. They will cover a range of topics.

Music through the Ages – Edinburgh Castle – Select from 2 dates through to Sunday 5 May 2019

Meet King James V’s musician. He has been asked by the King to explain some of the music and instruments that the King expects in his court. He will also tell tales of these instruments, some of which may even be true!

Meet your Maker – Duff House – Selected dates through to Sunday 5 May 2019 (select from available dates)

An exhibition of work by Banff Academy students from the Meet Your Maker project. The project – a collaborative partnership project between Craft Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and Aberdeenshire Council – has tasked senior art and design students with researching, developing and creating new pieces of contemporary art. Students have been working with three professional craft makers to develop contemporary design pieces inspired by Duff House, and the Early Silver exhibition from the National Museum of Scotland. Led by craft makers – David Powell (Willow Sculptor), Naomi McIntosh (Interdisciplinary designer) and Megan Falconer (Silversmith).

Guardian of the Loch – Urquhart Castle – Selected dates through to Sunday 5 May 2019

During the Scottish Wars of Independence the Castle changed hands many times. Come along and meet one of Robert the Bruce’s archers as he guards the walls of the Castle awaiting the next conflict.  Learn about his weapons and equipment used at the time. Included in admission price.

The Excise Man – Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery – Monday 6 May 2019 and Tuesday 7 May 2019

In Victorian Scotland, illicit stills pepper the Highlands. Learn about the tricks of the trade of the Scottish whisky smugglers.

Dawn Chorus – Holyrood Park – Saturday 11 May 2019

Reward an early start by experiencing one of nature’s great events and discover more about the birds headlining the performance.

Kilts and Captivity – Edinburgh Castle – Saturday 11 May 2019 and Sunday 12 May 2019

Find out why the Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745 failed as you meet a Highlander held prisoner the castle. Hear tales of Bobbing John, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the battle tactics of a Highland army and learn the secrets of Scotland’s national dress.

Seize the Day – Dirleton Castle – Saturday 11 May 2019 and Sunday 12 May 2019

It’s the early 1300s and the Scottish Wars of Independence rage. Meet Robert the Bruce and Aymer de Valence and learn how Robert’s army was routed at the Battle of Methven. Explore the living history camp, see weapons in the armoury, smell food cooking in the kitchens, play some medieval games and have a go at calligraphy with real iron gall ink!

National Mills Weekend – Multiple Venues – Saturday 11 May 2019 and Sunday 12 May 2019

Enjoy free entry to our two sites – Stanley Mills and New Abbey Corn Mill over the weekend as we celebrate National Mills Weekend. At Stanley Mills, don’t miss the Brick City LEGO exhibition, and join in with Lego themed activities running 12pm to 4pm each day. Help us create models of the different buildings in Stanley village, or make a model of your own house and bring it down to add to our model village (please get in touch to check dimensions first!). Find out more about our Model Village project. New Abbey Corn Mill will mark the 2019 National Mills Weekend with working demonstrations and a display of archive photography celebrating the theme ‘Our mill: a history in pictures’. The mill will be turning, with tours available over the weekend.

A Model Village – Stanley Mills – Saturday 11 May 2019 and Sunday 12 May 2019

Calling all LEGO enthusiasts young and old. Join Alistair Jelks, local artist and LEGO enthusiast, and help us recreate Stanley village from LEGO as part of National Mills Weekend. Drop in during the weekend and help create models of the different buildings in the village – or make a model of your house and bring it down to add to our model village (get in touch to check dimensions first!). Our LEGO Stanley village will stay on display at the Mills until end June 2019.  This event is for ages 5+

Journey Inside Edinburgh’s Volcano – Holyrood Park – Sunday 12 May 2019

Join an expert Geologist from the University of Edinburgh and a Holyrood Park Ranger to learn more about this beautiful site in Scotland’s capital. Uncover more about Edinburgh’s volcano and discover some of the Park’s geological riches and their connection to James Hutton.

Wildlife Photography for Beginners (Linlithgow) – Linlithgow Palace – Sunday 12 May 2019

Photography is a great way to explore the natural world. Bring your camera down to Linlithgow Loch and learn some tips from a local wildlife photographer on how to get the best shot. Booking essential. Members get a 10% discount. Bring warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear with good grips. Participants must be aged 16 years or older.

Lowry’s Canal and Factories – Duff House – Selected dates through to Sunday 12 May 2019

View a masterpiece by one of the most popular British artists of the twentieth century. Laurence Stephen Lowry’s Canal and Factories, is the latest in the now long-established annual ‘Masterpiece’ loan from National Galleries of Scotland to the Georgian mansion in Banff. Largely inspired by his native Manchester and nearby Salford, Lowry’s cityscapes, populated by his famous ‘matchstick’ people, focused affectionately on the the mills, factories and smoking chimneys of industry. These composite scenes mixed reality and imagination to create Lowry’s own powerful and unforgettable vision of modern industrialism. Included in the normal admission price.

The Earl of Buchan and his Monuments – HES Archives and Library – Monday 13 May 2019

David Stuart Erskine, the 11th Earl of Buchan, was a conspicuous figure in the cultural life of Scotland in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth century. An enthusiastic proponent of cultural development, his mind brimming with ideas and new projects, he is best known today as the founder of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Buchan was an enthusiastic builder of monuments and memorials, using these to create a didactic landscape, intended to raise the sensibilities of the visitor. Sadly, what we see today is only a part of Buchan’s monumental landscape: much of the sculpture has been lost in the years since the Earl’s death. Join Dr Iain Fraser to examine what survives and to chase the ghosts of what has been lost. After the talk there will be an opportunity to browse archive material.

Bolts and Bodkins – Edinburgh Castle – Select from 5 available dates through to Friday 17 May 2019

Join castle archer, Rusty Bodkins for an explanation of how the Scots used the medieval longbow and crossbow. Learn about different types of arrowheads and how arrow wounds were treated.  Get dressed for battle and join the garrison!

The Lindsays and the Covenant – Edzell Castle and Garden – Saturday 18 May 2019 and Sunday 19 May 2019

In 1645 Scotland was in the grip of civil war. Meet the Lindsays, their officers, clansmen and retainers who will tell you more about the Covenanters. Walk through a working living history camp, enjoy a tour of Edzell Castle and its beautiful gardens, handle weapons of the period, and watch as the soldiers perform an impressive pike drill. You will also have a chance to see a display of colours, including the Lindsay colour which is new for 2019!

Spring Wildlife Walk – Holyrood Park – Sunday 19 May 2019

Come along and join the rangers on a spring walk around Holyrood Park. Learn about the amazing flora and fauna and discover why spring is a great time to visit.

The Architecture of Worship – HES Archives and Library – Monday 20 May 2019

Come along to John Sinclair House as we showcase original material from the HES Archives to accompany the displays in the search room.

Master Builders: Working with Earth – Engine Shed – Saturday 25 May 2019

Join us for earth building day, part our Master Builders programme, where families can get hands-on with the materials used to conserve Scotland’s traditional buildings. Earth used to be one of Scotland’s widely used building materials. You can see it in traditional buildings like The Blackhouse at Arnol, and it can still be used in sustainable buildings today. Learn the traditional skill of earth building. Get messy as you build a rammed earth wall and try your hand at wattle and daub. Do you have what it takes to become an earth builder? Don’t forget to pick up your Master Builder Log Book and to collect a stamp each time you visit to become a Master Builder!

Viking Invasion – Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel – Saturday 25 May 2019 and Sunday 26 May 2019

Watch fearless Viking warriors in thrilling clashes. Wander through the camp to find out how they lived, what they ate, how they made their weapons and clothes. Why not have a go at Striking a Viking coin, make some flour and try on a helmet or two. Listen to a Viking scald tell a saga and find out why they did not wear horned helmets!

An Audience with Mary, Queen of Scots – Multiple Venues – Select from 8 available dates through to Sunday 26 May 2019

It’s the summer of 1566. Scotland rejoices that Mary, Queen of Scots has safely given birth to Prince James, heir to the throne. Her grace is spending the weekend here with a favoured courtier and will grant you the opportunity to congratulate her personally. Explore the site and pay your respects at your convenience.

Renaissance Lotions and Potions – Linlithgow Palace – Sunday 26 May 2019

Join a Ranger and expert Anna Canning for some foraging at Linlithgow Peel. Discover the natural health remedies and fabulous beauty products enjoyed by the people of the Palace, both upstairs and downstairs.

Schiltron! – Edinburgh Castle – Select from 3 available dates through to Sunday 26 May 2019

Edinburgh Castle is steeped in war. From the Wars of Independence through to the Civil Wars of the seventeenth century, Scots relied on pikes in battle. Come along, find out what a Schiltron was, how pikes were used and have a go yourself. One for the whole family to get involved in and enjoy!

Rebels and Redcoats – Edinburgh Castle – Tuesday 28 May 2019 to Friday 31 May 2019

The Jacobite war of 1745 was one of the most turbulent in Scottish history. Come along and learn what role the castle played in this great conflict and meet characters from the period. This presentation includes a weapons and costume demonstration.

Secrets of Melrose Abbey Museum Tour – Melrose Abbey – Select from 7 available dates through to Tuesday 11 June 2019

Join us on a guided tour and learn more about Melrose Abbey’s fascinating past through some of the artefacts that are on display in the Abbey’s museum. You may be surprised by some of the things that you will learn about Medieval Abbey life! The tour is included in the normal admission price but pre-booking is essential. Please phone Melrose Abbey on 01896 822 562 to reserve your place. The tour lasts approximately 30 minutes.

Brick City – Stanley Mills – Select from 71 available dates through to Sunday 23 June 2019

Brick City is a celebration of iconic buildings from cities around the world, carefully recreated in LEGO® bricks by artist Warren Elsmore and his team. Access information: Please note there is no step-free access to the exhibition at Stanley Mills. Lift access is available to the floor below from where there are 15 wooden steps to reach the exhibition. These are wide and have a handrail either side.

Water Safari – Linlithgow Palace – Selected dates through to Sunday 21 July 2019 (booking essential)

Discover Linlithgow Loch by Canadian canoe with the assistance of fully qualified instructors. Experience a different view of the Palace, loch and its wildlife from duck level. Suitable for beginners or those with some paddling experience. Families and groups of two or three can share a canoe. Not suitable for children under 8yrs old. 8-16 year olds must be accompanied by an adult. Members get a 10% discount. Meet at Low Port Reception. Bring a change of clothes and footwear.

A Sword for my Chief – Urquhart Castle – Select from 12 dates through to Saturday 3 August 2019

Meet one of the loyal clansmen of the Lord of the Isles as he prepares to join his fellow Highlanders in the siege of Urquhart Castle. This presentation incorporates a weapons and costume demonstration involving members of the public. Included in admission price.

In the Footsteps of John Muir – Multiple Venues – Selected dates through to Tuesday 6 August 2019

Exploring the landscape that inspired John Muir, a leading Scottish American environmental conservationist and known in America as the “Father of the National Parks”, this photography exhibition traces Muir’s travels from his childhood in Dunbar to the American National Parks he helped to establish. Presented by the American Scottish Foundation, the works of Scottish photographer Ken Paterson shares the beauty of both Scottish and American wilderness that John Muir was so passionate about.

James Watt: Power to the World – Engine Shed – Select from 104 available dates through to Friday 23 August 2019

Explore the life, work, and legacy of James Watt and his reinvention of the steam engine in our new exhibition. On 25 April 1769, James Watt patented the ‘seperate condenser’. This invention revolutionised the steam engine, and became the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution. In our new exhibition ‘James Watt: Power to the World’, learn all about who James Watt was, and how he worked hard to create a more effective steam engine. Discover the impact he had on Britain’s industry, architecture, and engineering, which you can still see today.

Arthur’s Secrets – Holyrood Park – Select from 45 available dates through to Tuesday 27 August 2019

Join us on a guided walk to learn more about Arthur’s Seat’s turbulent past, created by fire and ice. Find out about the people who lived and worked in the Park from 7 000 years ago up until the present day and learn more about the rare wildlife that makes the Park so special.

Man at Arms – Dirleton Castle – Selected dates through to Wednesday 28 August 2019

Join us at Dirleton Castle for one of our special ‘Man at Arms’ talks, which tell tales of siege warfare and castle life, with a selection of medieval weapons on show. No booking required.

Arthur’s Amble – Holyrood Park – Select from 22 available dates through to Saturday 31 August 2019

Come along on a gentle guided walk around Hunter’s Bog and St. Margaret’s Loch where you’ll learn more about Arthur’s Seat’s turbulent past, created by fire and ice. Find out about the people who lived and worked in the Park from 7,000 years ago up until the present day and learn more about the rare wildlife that makes the Park so special.

British Sign Language Tour – Edinburgh Castle – Select from 2 dates through to Saturday 21 September 2019

Join Edinburgh-born Deaf historian John Hay for a BSL tour of the castle. Explore the Castle with Deaf tour guide John Hay, whose BSL tour will be translated into English by interpreter Linda Duncan. Carers and Historic Scotland Members go free (valid membership card required for each ticket).

St Vigeans Open Days – St Vigeans Stones and Museum – Select from 6 available dates through to Sunday 22 September 2019

It’s hard to believe that sleepy St Vigeans was once the centre of a royal estate and of huge religious importance. Yet the Angus village bustled with pilgrims and monks more than 1,000 years ago. Tickets can be purchased on arrival.

Standing Stones of Stenness Walk –  Stones of Stenness Circle and Henge – Selected dates through to Wednesday 25 September 2019

Join the Orkney Ranger Service for a free guided tour of our oldest stone circle, and explore the fascinating links with the nearby Neolithic village of Barnhouse.

Ring of Brodgar Walk – Ring of Brodgar Stone Circle and Henge – Selected dates through to Thursday 26 September 2019

Explore the area around the Ring of Brodgar during a guided walk around Scotland’s largest stone circle which forms part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Meet in the car park by 1pm.

Romantic Scotland – Duff House – Through to Sunday 29 September 2019

Bringing together treasures from the National Gallery of Scotland’s and Historic Environment Scotland’s collections, Romantic Scotland contrasts the romantic depictions of Scotland’s changing landscapes created by artists and writers in the 19th century, with the reality of ordinary life. The exhibition includes works by renowned painters Sir John Lavery, Patrick Nasmyth, and Sir James Guthrie, whose dramatic landscapes continue to shape perceptions of Scotland, and stunning early photography and historic objects that reframe these works in their historical contexts.

Explore your Local and Family History – HES Archives and Library – Select from 2 dates through to Monday 30 September 2019

Discover more about how to use our online services to find out more about Scotland’s past. After a basic overview of Canmore, Scran, NCAP and Britain from Above, you will have the opportunity to experiment yourself with expert staff on hand to help and answer your queries.

British Sign Language Tour (Stirling) – Stirling Castle – Select from 2 available dates through to Saturday 5 October 2019

Join us to explore the Castle with Deaf tour guide John Hay, whose BSL tour will be translated into English by interpreter Linda Duncan. The tour at Stirling Castle is included in the admission price. Carers and Historic Scotland Members go free (valid membership card required for each ticket). You can buy your tickets on the day, or book your place in advance. On the same day at 3pm, we’re running a free BSL tour of the Engine Shed – Scotland’s national conservation centre.

Biggar Gasworks Steam Days – Select from 8 dates through to Sunday 20 October 2019

Enter the last remaining town gasworks in Scotland – the only surviving example of a once familiar sight. For more than 130 years, this industrial plant made coal gas for Biggar and beyond before the advent of natural gas in the 1960s. See the coal fired boiler put to work and the steam driven machinery in action. Learn the secret of how gas was produced from coal from our guides on site.

Guided Building Tours – Engine Shed – 12 dates through to Saturday 7 December 

Join us for a free guided tour of our building – Scotland’s dedicated building conservation centre. Our building in Stirling was once a military goods and transfers shed, built sometime between 1896 and 1913. The exact details of its construction were subject to an information blackout and are still unknown today. In 2017, after an extensive restoration, we opened our doors to the public. During the guided tour, you’ll learn more about our building including how it was made using traditional materials in a contemporary way  and how we’ve recycled or restored many other traditional materials during the restoration.

Wee Builders – Engine Shed – Select from 5 dates through to Thursday 12 December 2019

Join us for our exciting under 5’s sessions. Wee Builders will explore a monthly theme through creative play in a fun, child-led and sometimes messy environment! For wee-er builders, a sensory area will be available. Wee Builders take place on the second Thursday of the month (term time only, excluding September). Please note: Parental/guardian supervision is required for the duration of the activity.

Relaxed visiting hours – Engine Shed – Select from 7 available dates through to Saturday 14 December 2019

Our Relaxed Visiting Hours are a time for young people with autism to explore and enjoy our conservation centre. During these times adjustments will be made to lighting and sound, and a quiet space with sensory toys will be available. Relaxed Visiting Hours take place on the second Saturday of the month (excluding September). Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.

Scotland from the Sky – Multiple Venues – Select from 275 dates through to Sunday 19 January 2020

Scotland from the Sky brings a selection of the breathtaking aerial photography, featured in the book of the same name, on a tour of some of our most atmospheric properties. See Scotland from the Sky at: Fort George from 12 April to 7 July; Arbroath Abbey from 11 July to 6 October; Blackness Castle from 10 October 2019 to 19 January 2020

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