Iconic Eilean Donan castle to close until 2021

One of Scotland’s most famous castles has announced it will close until next year due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Eilean Donan Castle has now closed until 2021. PIC: Creative Commons/Syaxix Photography
Eilean Donan Castle has now closed until 2021. PIC: Creative Commons/Syaxix Photography

Eilean Donan near Kyle of Lochalsh had re-opened following the Spring lockdown but said it now had to close again with “immediate effect”.

It attracts in the region of 550,000 visitors every year and in 2019 reported its highest ever August visitor numbers.

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A statement said: “It is with much sadness and great regret that we have to announce the immediate temporary closure of Eilean Donan Castle and our Heilan Scran Takeaway until further notice."

The castle said that it had received “many messages of love and support” following the announcement.

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A further statement added: “Every single member of Eilean Donan team are fit, well and healthy thanks to the comprehensive systems and protocols we instigated three months ago.

"We’re closing simply because of the financial impacts of Covid-19, but the planning starts today for our eventual return in 2021.”

The gift shop and Eilean Donan Apartments will stay open for now but will remain under review.

Eilean Donan is the latest high-profile visitor attraction in Scotland to announce a further shutdown due to the pandemic.

Royal Yacht Britannia and the Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh are now closed.

The Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith, which attracted 390,000 visitors last year, will be closed until further notice after recording losses of £2.4m due to coronavirus restrictions.

Gordon Morrison, CEO of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions, said he was “not surprised” to hear of the temporary closure of Eilean Donan.

Mr Morrison said: “What we are finding is that attractions that re-opened in July are not being able to make significant income. It’s simple maths.

“There are not huge numbers of visitors and attractions were told to keep operating at two-metre physical distancing. The hospitality industry managed to get it down to one metre but the two-metre rule had a massive impact on the capacity of attractions.

"Now to top it all we have tighter restrictions on travel. Traditonal tourist attractions don’t tend to get visitors from their local area.”

He said attractions were closing given the furlough extension in England was now confirmed for Scotland.

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