National Trust for Scotland: This is when visitors can return to dozens of historic estates across the country

Culzean, Brodick, Brodie and Crathes castles are set to reopen their gardens and grounds early next month as lockdown easing continues.

The historical properties are among a number across the country that will welcome back visitors to their outdoor spaces from July 6 after being closed since March.

The interiors will remain off limits for the time being, and toilet facilities at some sites will not be accessible.

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The announcement comes from the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), which cares for the properties and hundreds of others across the country.

Culzean Castle is one of the iconic National Trust for Scotland properties that will reopen its gardens and grounds on July 6

In order to protect both staff and members of the public, the trust has rejigged visitor routes at some places and put in all required safety and hygiene measures.

“We are hard at work preparing to open up dozens more of our beautiful places once again,” said NTS chairman Sir Mark Jones

“As we all adapt to the new normal there will be some changes on the ground at properties, and we hope that our members, supporters and visitors will be patient and work with us during this time of transition.

“We would also please ask visitors to stick to the latest guidance on travel distances.

Culzean Castle, on the Ayrshire coast, has been closed since lockdown began in March

“We are really looking forward to welcoming our local visitors back and we hope that this helps us all emerge back into the light after being confined for so long.”

The NTS is the country’s biggest conservation charity, caring for important cultural, historical and environmental sites - including the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Glencoe national nature reserve, the island of St Kilda, Mar Lodge national nature reserve, Culloden and Bannockburn battlefields and Ben Lomond.

Some of its most open countryside sites have already reopened, such as Corrieshalloch Gorge,

Glencoe and the Grey Mare’s Tail.

The interiors of the castle and many other historical properties will remain shut until August

The coronavirus pandemic has had a serious impact on the charity’s income for the year, creating a £28 million shortfall.

The trust has been forced to take emergency action to save money, with all projects paused, some property re-openings postponed and 429 staff being put at risk of redundancy.

It has also launched the Save Our Scotland appeal, which aims to raise £2.5 million to help continue vital work to protect Scotland’s built and natural heritage.

Visits to island sites are currently restricted to residents only, in line with Scottish Government travel rules.

Selected castles, houses and visitor centres are scheduled to open in August.

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