January and February events at Historic Scotland sites

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

Antiquarians, curious travellers and picturesque tourists – Holyrood Park – Saturday 19 January 2019

The first Ancient Monuments came into state care in 1882 – but by that time they were already fixtures on the Scottish tourist scene. This talk will look at what prompted the state to get involved in ancient monuments.  We’ll also explore how many of these sites were already tourist honey-pots in 1790s Scotland – and remain so today! This event is free to attend, but booking is essential.

The Red Clydesider – Edinburgh Castle – Thursday 24 January 2019

World War I needs engineers as well as soldiers and Davie Kirkwood works in a munitions factory in Glasgow. He’s got himself in a spot of bother and ended up here! Come and hear his story.

Wild Work: Conserving Edinburgh’s Wilderness – Holyrood Park – Saturday 26 January 2019

Join Holyrood Ranger Will to learn about what our Rangers do to conserve Edinburgh’s ‘wilderness’ – Holyrood Park. Try one of their jackets on for size, and see if you can solve one of the many challenges facing a ‘wild’ area in the heart of Edinburgh. Feeling inspired? Then hear how you can get involved with every aspect of Ranger work. This event is free to attend but booking is essential.

Burns for Beginners – Edinburgh Castle – Jan 27 – 30 2019

Robert Burns is one of Scotland’s literary greats, but what exactly was he talking about? Come along for a light-hearted introduction to the bard and some of his works. Crowd participation highly encouraged! (Included in admission price)

Meet the Barbersurgeon – Edinburgh Castle – Thursday 31 January 2019

It’s 1573 and once more Edinburgh Castle is under siege! In the midst of the flying cannon balls and crumbling walls is ‘barber surgeon’ Hector Cadaver. His normal routine is cutting hair and pulling teeth, but now you can glimpse the grisly world of a 16th century doctor as he removes musket balls and amputates shattered limbs in the days before anaesthetic. Discover some of nature’s remedies used for treating wounds and see the tools of the surgical trade in Hector’s medical cabinet. Visitors will be asked to participate – you have been warned! Included in admission price.

The Friends of Duff House Talks – Duff House – Selected dates through to Thursday 31 January 2019

The Friends of Duff House present a serious of talks on Thursday afternoons open to all with no need to book. Timed to allow a delicious light lunch in the tea room and/or afternoon tea afterwards! There is disabled access to all floors. There is no extra charge to those with entry to Duff House and to members of the Friends of Duff House. For those who do not wish entry to the rest of Duff House the cost is £4.40. Important: The Friends Talks are a perfume/aftershave free zone please.

Sand Cards – The Engine ShedSelected dates from Saturday 2 February 2019 to Saturday 9 March 2019

Find out why Scotland is a very colourful place while you learn about the different types of sands found throughout Scotland. You can find sands and other ‘aggregates’ in lots of different places in a building. They are used in mortars to hold together the stones in the walls, and in outside wall coverings such as render. Sand comes in many different colours, depending on the region and type of stone it comes from. Use different coloured sands to create a card inspired by the natural materials of Scotland. Additional information: Suitable for ages 6+. Parental/guardian supervision is required for the duration of the activity.

In the Footsteps of John Muir – Stirling Castle – Saturday 2 February 2019 to Sunday 28 April 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.

Crime and Punishment in Medieval Scotland – Edinburgh Castle – Feb 7 – 12 2019

Gilbert Savage was an Englishman and a prisoner of the Scots who was given the choice to kill or be killed. He is now the Executioner. He recounts the nature of crime and punishment during the turbulent times in Medieval Scotland. All manner of crimes demanded horrendous punishments, but the bloodiest punishment was reserved for the most serious of crimes: treason! (Included in admission price)

Rome’s North-western Frontier: The Antonine Wall – Holyrood Park – Saturday 9 February 2019

The Antonine Wall is Scotland’s Roman World Heritage Site. It runs from the Firth of Clyde in the west to the Firth of Forth in the east. Find out more about this fascinating site and the lives of the Roman soldiers who lived in Scotland nearly 1,900 years ago. This event is free to attend but booking is essential.

Winter Wildlife Wander – Linlithgow Palace – Sunday 10 February 2019

Join a Ranger on a walk round the loch whilst keeping a look out for the wildlife. Booking is essential.

Snowdrop in to Dryburgh – Dryburgh Abbey – Sunday 17 February 2019

Join the Rangers to learn more about the beautiful snowdrops, heritage trees and wildlife of this special site. There will be a Ranger led walk at 12 noon. Included in normal admission price. No need to book.

Rob Roy MacGregor – Edinburgh Castle – Selected dates through to Friday 22 February 2019

Often remembered by some as a hero and by others as a rogue. Come hear stories of Rebellion, clan warfare and self-preservation. This performance is included in the Edinburgh Castle admission price.

Pollen grains and people: Reconstructing past environments – Holyrood Park– Saturday 23 February 2019

Researchers from University of Stirling share their results of new investigations into the archaeology of Holyrood Park. This event is free to attend but booking is essential.

The Road to Bannockburn – Edinburgh Castle – Monday 25 February 2019 to Thursday 28 February 2019

Meet one of Robert the Bruce’s men who served under the command of Thomas Randolph during the capture of the Castle in 1314. Learn about the medieval weapons and tactics of a Scottish foot soldier. Included in admission price.

Scotland’s Early Silver – Duff House – Dates through to Sunday 17 March 2019

Discover the story of Scotland’s early silver, and how this precious metal helped to shape the first kingdoms of Scotland, in Scotland’s Early Silver at Duff House. Featuring spectacular objects dating from AD75 to AD1000, and supported by The Glenmorangie Research Project on Early Medieval Scotland, Scotland’s Early Silver explores the part that silver played in the transformation of society in Scotland throughout the first millennium AD. Scotland’s Early Silver is a National Museums Scotland touring exhibition.  #EarlySilver

Arthur’s Amble – Holyrood Park– Selected dates through to Sunday 17 March 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. Booking is essential.

Music through the Ages – Edinburgh Castle – Selected dates through to Friday 22 March 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! This performance is included in the Edinburgh Castle admission price.

Soap Carving: Masons’ Marks – The Engine ShedSelected dates through to Saturday 23 March 2019

Did you know that stonemasons carve symbols or ‘marks’ into the very stone they work with? Follow in the tradition of Scotland’s stonemasons and try your hand at carving your very own mason’s mark – into soap! See our latest exhibition “The Scots Who Built The White House” to learn all about mason’s marks. Look at a special mason’s log book which master stonemasons used to sign using their very own marks, and take inspiration to design and carve your own into soap. Additional information: Workshops suitable for ages 5+. Parental/guardian supervision is required for the duration of the activity. Please note: No need to book in advance, just drop in and have a go!

Brick City – Blackness Castle – Dates through to Sunday 24 March 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. Included in normal admission price. Please note: this exhibition is accessed via a stone staircase.

Women of Independence – Edinburgh Castle – Selected dates through to Wednesday 27 March 2019

War is traditionally a male domain but during the Wars of Independence, women were among some of Bruce’s strongest and bravest supporters. Some suffered for their loyalty and others rose to the challenge. Hear about the role they played and how the castle fared during this bloody and brutal time. Included in admission price.

Ring of Brodgar Walk – Ring of Brodgar Stone Circle and Henge – Selected dates through to Thursday 28 March 2019

Explore the area around the Ring of Brodgar during a weekly guided walk with a ranger and discover the special significance of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.

Schiltron! – Edinburgh Castle – Selected dates through to Sunday 31 March 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! Included in admission price.

Standing Stones of Stenness Walk – Stones of Stenness Circle and Henge – Selected dates through to Wednesday 3 April 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.

Scotland from the Sky – Glasgow Cathedral – Dates through to Sunday 7 April 2019

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.

The Scots Who Built The White House – The Engine ShedSelected dates through to Friday 12 April 2019

In 1794, seven Scottish stonemasons left Edinburgh New Town for Washington DC to help build the official residence of the President of the United States. Explore their story in our new exhibition. Discover how the stonemasons honed their craft in Edinburgh New Town, and left their mark on the U.S. Presidential Residence at the White House. Learn how their legacy still survives in modern Scottish stonemasonry, and how we are celebrating our links across the Atlantic.

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.

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