The historic Scottish ship that will now be charging for admission to preserve future

The historic vessel, which was built in 1896, is moored beside the Riverside Museum on the Clyde in Glasgow

An admission charged is being introduced for the first time for one of Scotland’s best loved heritage ships in a bid to guarantee a “more certain and hopeful future” for the vessel.

As first flagged by The Scotsman, the Glenlee, which is moored in Glasgow, will reintroduce an admissions charge for visitors coming onboard from July 1. The vessel had been the only free-to-visit historic ship in the UK, but those preserving the ship have been forced to make the move to keep it afloat.

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Glenlee. which is owned by The Tall Ship Glenlee Trust, originally abolished admission charges in 2013 following its move to beside the free-to-enter Riverside Museum on the Clyde.

The vessel Glenlee. Picture: John Devlin/The ScotsmanThe vessel Glenlee. Picture: John Devlin/The Scotsman
The vessel Glenlee. Picture: John Devlin/The Scotsman

The trust that runs and maintains the ship said the decision to charge visitors had been taken following careful analysis of the challenging funding landscape and rising costs.

Under the changes, adults will be charged £4.50 for admission, with tickets costing £2.70 for children and £12.70 for a family of four. Concessions will be in place for students and pensioners, with under-fives admitted free of charge.

Fiona Greer, development director at The Tall Ship Glenlee, said: “As an independent charity, we are facing a similar situation as many other historic vessels and museum attractions across the UK who have expressed shared challenges.

"We know The Tall Ship Glenlee holds a very special place in many people’s hearts, both here in Glasgow and around the world, and we now need the public’s support to ensure we can continue to thrive.

"The ship is an icon of change that has adapted to survive over 127 years and is now embarking on its next chapter, and a more certain and hopeful future.”

The Glenlee is the only one of last five Clyde-built steel-hulled cargo sailing ships in the UK. The former merchant sailing vessel is 127 years old and has circumnavigated the globe five times.

The Scotsman revealed last year how extra money was required to keep decks watertight and help fund new interactive displays to attract more visitors, including a planned “smell trail”.

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That immersive visitor experience, funded by Museums Galleries Scotland, will launch for the first time this summer.

Three distinct soundscapes will take visitors through chapters of the vessel’s history, from a brewing storm in the cargo hold to the rumble of the diesel engines. The “smell trail”, similar to those at the Yorvik Viking Centre in York and Brunel’s SS Great Britain in Bristol, is designed to bring the realities of being at sea to life.

Ms Greer said: “We are incredibly grateful for all the critical support we receive from current funders and supporters. However, there is a significant gap that needs to be filled.

"We have looked to fix the admissions fees at a level far below the UK average museum attraction entry charge to ensure the ship continues to attract and be accessible to as large and diverse an audience as possible, while fairly reflecting the unique, quality experience of exploring an iconic ship like the Glenlee.”

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