As lockdown eases, TFN looks at some of the great days out you can embark on whilst giving much needed support to charities #NeverMoreNeeded
With the days getting longer and lockdown restrictions (seemingly) beginning to ease, the majority of Scots are looking forward to escaping the confines of their council area. And with rules on meeting indoors remaining in place for at least the next few weeks, it’s the perfect time to get out and visit some attractions. The charities behind some of Scotland’s favourite sites need your help more than ever, so TFN has compiled a list of Good days out for you to enjoy.
Bridge 8 Hub, Edinburgh
Bridge 8 Hub is Scotland’s first canal based outdoor activity centre and is situated in south west Edinburgh. Whether participants are looking for taster sessions or more adventurous trips, it offers canoeing, raft-building, kayaking, archery, mountain biking and rock climbing. Bridge 8 also provides canoe, kayak and stand-up paddle board hire while mountain bikes can be hired from the Go Bike Hub. The hub reopened on 19 March, however social distancing guidelines still apply. For more information visit the Facebook page or ring 07808 534028.
Situated on the shores of Loch Ness, you can discover more than 1,000 years of stirring history centred on the Great Glen. Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart saw great conflict during its 500 years as a medieval fortress. Control of the castle passed back and forth between the Scots and English during the Wars of Independence. The power struggles continued, as the Lords of the Isles regularly raided both castle and glen up until the 1500s. The castle reopens to visitors on Friday 30 April.
The Falkirk Wheel
Nothing like the Falkirk Wheel has ever been built before anywhere in the world. Boat lifts might be nothing new but a rotating boat lift is a massive feat of engineering. The result is awe-inspiring and beautiful: the largest piece of functional sculpture you will ever see. And it has also become one of the country’s most popular family days out. Operated by the charity Scottish Canals, the 50-minute boat lift takes you to the Union Canal 35m above before returning to your starting point. The wheel has also become a pop-up theatre during the summer months hosting everything from children’s shows to productions of Macbeth. As TFN went to publication, a full reopening date hadn’t yet been announced, however keep your eyes peeled on social media over the next few weeks. The play area and outdoor catering are available though.
Edinburgh Zoo has been frank in revealing the financial challenges Covid-19 has created for the attraction. The park staved off closure last year through securing emergency support, and is desperate for visitors to return. It is now open to guests. The zoo is one of the finest in Europe, with animals living there including Asiatic lions, an array of penguins and of course the Giant Pandas Yang Guang and Tian Tian. For more information, visit the website.
Scottish Seabird Centre
The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick was saved by a public fundraising appeal last year. The centre underwent a major renovation at the end of 2019, and now has an interactive visitor experience that helps people discover the wonders of Scotland’s marine habitats and learn more about the risks they face. The centre is set to reopen on Monday 26 April, and has a range of measures in place to ensure the safety of visitors.
Situated around 20 minutes’ drive from Stirling, Doune Castle has shot to prominence since hit TV show Outlander aired. The castle was originally built in the thirteenth century, and lies in a scenic site on the River Teith. As well as featuring as Castle Leoch in the Outlander series, the castle was also used as Winterfell in the first season of Game of Thrones and in the legendary film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Reopening on Friday 30 April, visitor numbers are limited and advanced booking must be made. Find out more on the website.
RSPB Loch of Strathbeg Nature Reserve
Many of the RSPB’s 77 sites across Scotland have remained open to local residents during Covid-19. As Britain's largest dune loch, Strathbeg in Aberdeenshire is a vital wintering and staging post for up to a fifth of the world's pink-footed geese. It's also home to a wide variety of wetland wildlife, such as breeding terns and gulls, migrating waders and wintering wildfowl. At time of publication, the car park, trails and toilets at the loch were open, but the hides and visitor centre remained closed. Visit the Strathbeg website for more info.
Glasgow Science Centre
The science centre has been providing lots of at home experiments for children to get to grips with during lockdown. The outdoor space at the centre has been getting a makeover in recent weeks, adding another attraction for when visitors are allowed to return. The centre is closed for now, but is set to reopen on Friday 25 June. The centre is particularly exciting for children, with lots of experiments to try out.