Scotland is gradually reopening as restrictions ease and new measures are put in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
However, before visiting any attraction it’s best to check its website for updates before setting out.
You can also consult the Scottish Government website at www.gov.scot and VisitScotland’s website www.visitscotland.com
Look out too for the We’re Good to Go logo.
This is a new industry-wide standard and consumer mark developed to demonstrate that the business has completed a Covid-19 risk assessment to ensure it has everything in place to open safely.
Aberdeen Art Gallery
Much to the delight of locals and visitors alike, Aberdeen Art Gallery has reopened following a five-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Visitors need to book online in advance to get a free, two-hour timed ticket.
Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson, said: “Aberdeen Art Gallery is a safe and enjoyable place to meet and spend time with family and friends.
“A visit helps our wellbeing with inspiring surroundings and exceptional collections to explore.
“Things may feel a little different at first, but together we’ll adapt to the ‘new normal’ and begin to rediscover the rich visitor experiences we have on our doorstep here in Aberdeen.”
To book a visit log on to www.aagm.co.uk. Initial opening hours are Thursday-Monday, 10am-4pm. The reopening of Aberdeen Maritime Museum and The Tolbooth Museum will be announced at a later date.
Mapping it out
To help intrepid explorers of all ages discover new and exciting places to visit, Museums Galleries Scotland has launched an interactive map as part of its #MuseumsAreGo campaign showing which venues are open.
The new interactive map is updated daily and provides useful information.
Among them is the National Museum of Scotland, on Chambers Street in Edinburgh.
Changes include an online booking system and timed tickets.
The reopening of the galleries will be phased, with the entrance hall and level-one galleries including the Grand Gallery opening first, and further floors in due course.
Shout! The Scottish Music experience is a brand-new exhibition, bar/café and performance space in the heart of Edinburgh’s Waverley Mall.
The exhibition goes through the history of Scottish music from the 1950s to the present day with photos, memorabilia and listening posts covering artists from Lulu all the way to Lewis Capaldi.
Tickets to the exhibition are £5, available at the box office or online, and children under five go free.
Teas & tours
Glenesk Hotel and Conference Centre in Edzell has created a new Teas & Tours package offering guests luxury afternoon tea in the four-star hotel before being driven to a visitor attraction, for a pre-booked visit, in the comfort of a luxury, chauffeur-driven vehicle.
Hotel owners Dylan and Alena Wren are hoping it will appeal to small groups of two to three people as a day or half-day out with a difference.
Getting closer to nature
The Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey is running a super programme of walks, talks and field trips this autumn led by celebrities, local guides and experts, and all are free to hotel guests.
Highlights include a visit from ecologist and wildlife TV presenter Mike Dilger (September 26-October 1); Red deer-themed week (October 11-18); wildlife TV presenters Nick Baker (October 25-31), and Nigel Marven (November 4-10); Sea duck-themed week (November 8-15); and wildlife TV producer Stephen Moss (November 16-22).
There’s a special “birdfair” offer at the hotel of four nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast from £299 per person in a standard room.
Visit www.bwwc.co.uk/wildlife-breaks.php for more details on the special weeks and guides.
Family fun times
Conifox, the family-run adventure park on the outskirts of Kirkliston, close to Edinburgh Airport, has reopened its doors to welcome back kids and adults in need of a little outdoor “wild” escape.
Facilities include a pedal go-kart race track, off-road pedal tractors, nine-hole footgolf course, giant jump pillow, trampolines and a giant sand pit.
There’s also an ever-changing calendar of events and entertainment ranging from princess parties to living-room magic.
Although the park’s bistro is currently closed, refreshments and a barbecue (weather permitting) are available.
To keep everyone safe, visits must be pre-booked and some attractions will be closed at certain times throughout the day for deep cleaning.
Festive treat on the Northern Belle
A “cracker” of a trip, designed to get everyone on the right track for Christmas, takes place on the luxurious Northern Belle train, on Sunday December 6.
Passengers can board in Glasgow or Edinburgh, and after settling into their plush seats, enjoy a champagne reception.
Lunch will be a slap-up affair with seven courses and all the trimmings, served at tables lavishly set with bespoke china, crisp white linen and sparkling glassware.
Meanwhile, liveried stewards will attend to your every need as you sit back, relax and enjoy the ever-changing views.
Tickets for the six-hour round trip are priced at £265 per person and expected to sell out quickly.
The price also includes a bottle of wine per couple, coffee, tea and petits fours and entertainment from table magicians.
Contact northernbelle.co.uk or 01270 899681.