Forever Edinburgh: Go out and rediscover your city as attractions are set to reopen
As we edge ever closer to coronavirus restrictions being lifted from Monday after four long months, businesses and attractions across the Capital are preparing to throw their doors open to welcome back locals and visitors alike in the safest way possible.
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Thousands of employees across the city have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that safety measures such as social distancing measures and santitising stations are in place as we venture back out to a fun-filled spring.
The Scottish Capital is spoilt for choice with exciting attractions each with unique stories to share, from historical tours to attractions that are out of this world, there is really something for everyone in the city we are lucky enough to call home.
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Speaking last month when the First Minister announced the easing of Covid restrictions, Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “We’re focused on the recovery of the industry, building a destination and visitor experience which allows tourism to thrive now and in the future. By working together with businesses and communities, we can all look forward to enjoying the best of Scotland to help our tourism industry get back on its feet, in a safe way.”
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is just one of the many attractions set to reopen on Monday April 26.
The site will be open 7 days a week until late, including until 9pm on Saturdays.
While the award-winning experience has been closed, the team has been using the opportunity to improve the building and exhibits, adding to the immersive and fun-filled encounters all ages can enjoy while visiting. Improvements include a refurbishment of the fifth floor Magic Gallery as well as getting up-close with the newest exhibits on the fourth floor in the Light Fantastic gallery.
All visitors will also receive 10 per cent off entry prices until October. The attraction hopes this will encourage people who’ve never been, or haven’t visited for a while, to come and try it out.
Andrew Johnson, general manager of Camera Obscura and World of Illusions said: “We are very excited to be welcoming visitors back from Monday. It’s been a long, dark winter, but brighter days are ahead and we’re ready to share our enthusiasm and fun with visitors of all ages. With entry numbers significantly reduced and all tickets discounted by 10 per cent, this is the perfect time to visit – without the usual crowds.”
Edinburgh Leisure’s Chief Executive, June Peebles, also welcomed the First Minister’s announcement on April 20, which means their leisure centres can reopen again.
As a charity responsible for running over 50 sports and leisure facilities across the Scottish capital and their Active Communities programme, which uses the power of physical activity and sport to tackle inequalities and combat the effects of inactivity, Ms Peebles is “looking forward to welcoming customers back and continuing to help local people enjoy active and healthy lives.
During lockdown, Edinburgh Leisure has continued to motivate their customers to keep active through their ‘Find Your Feel Good’ online hub, which has provided a range of home workout videos, as well as coaching activities and resources to support their customers to stay active and well.
Ms Peebles said: “Edinburgh Leisure is committed to ‘building back better’ to a sustainable Edinburgh Leisure and to continue making a positive impact to the citizens of Edinburgh’s health and wellbeing – as we have done for the last 23 years.
“We're very grateful for all the support we have received throughout lockdown from customers and the City of Edinburgh Council. The positive messages we've received from customers have boosted our spirits no end. The benefits of being physically active are more important than ever and we remain committed to helping Edinburgh keep active and well – always.”
For those looking for a more regal and historic experience as they rediscover Edinburgh, the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh is set to welcome back visitors to the home of Scottish royal history.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse offers the chance to explore the palace's close associations with some of Scotland’s most well-known historic figures such as Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, and learn how today it is used by The Queen when carrying out official engagements in Scotland.
Gwen Hamilton, superintendent and head of visitor operations at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming visitors back to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and The Queen’s Gallery this Monday. Our new exhibition, Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour, will present 80 watercolours collected by the royal couple as a record of their public and private lives together, including numerous works by Scottish artists on display in Scotland for the first time.
“A programme of drop-in talks and activities in May and June will also pay tribute to Queen Victoria, the monarch who first opened the Palace’s historic apartments to the public. We hope that visitors will enjoy the opportunity to explore the Palace’s four-hectare gardens in springtime and to discover the recently opened botanical garden, which can be freely enjoyed year round by the people of Edinburgh.
“The safety and wellbeing of our visitors and staff are our priority and we have a number of safety measures in place to ensure that visitors can return with confidence, including timed tickets, enhanced cleaning regimes and staff fully trained in Covid-secure procedures.”
While dozens of attractions are set to be rediscovered from Monday, some are waiting just a little bit longer before they open their doors again.
For something to look forward to a little later down the line, a number of attractions are set to reopen in the coming weeks such as the historic and iconic Edinburgh Castle on April 30, out of this world experiences at Dynamic Earth on May 8 and for those who dare, The Real Mary King’s Close on May 22.