GARDENS, views and television series Outlander are just some of the themes about which Scots have been dreaming during lockdown, according to the early results of tourism agency VisitScotland’s #HameTownTourist campaign.
As many of Scotland’s restaurants, bars and tourist attractions begin to reopen today, the marketing bureau has shared some of the social media posts featuring its campaign’s hashtag.
It turns out that Scots can’t wait to get back to some of the places where the Outlander series was filmed – including Glencoe, Dunure Harbour in South Ayrhire, and Falkland in Fife.
Parks and gardens are also high on many Scots’ hit lists, with VisitScotland highlighting the Japanse Garden at Cowden in Clackmannanshire, and the Gore Glen Woodland Park in Midlothian.
Historical sites such as Inveraray Castle in Argyll, Floors Castle near Kelso and Clava Cairns near Nairn in the Highlands are also high on the agenda for many Scottish staycationers.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland’s chief executive, said: “Scottish tourism is facing its biggest challenge in a generation and will need financial support for some time to come to help it recover.
“The Scottish public has a crucial part to play in helping this happen.
“It’s easy to not think of yourself as a tourist in your own country but many of the experiences that we often enjoy with loved ones, such as holidays, shopping or eating out, all contribute to our visitor economy.
“15 July marks a new era for the industry as we start to welcome back visitors and take our first steps on the road to a safe and responsible recovery.”
Tourist attractions reopen
News of VisitScotland’s early campaign successes comes as more tourist attractions unveil their reopening plans.
The grounds to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s two sites have been open during lockdown and today the gallery is launching some specially-created sculpture trails to welcome back guests officially.
Taymouth Marina is also reopening its marina, outdoor spa, water sports centre and self-catering accommodation from today.
Owner Eric Strickland said: “Within hours of opening, we had most of August sold and now we have only limited availability for July and September, with a number of enquiries for October and even December – clearly people want something to look forward to.”
Raising a dram to whisky’s return
Some of the sites along The Malt Whisky Trail through Speyside are beginning to welcome back guests today, with Glen Moray and Glenfiddich distilleries among those that are reopening partially.
Iain Allan, board member of The Malt Whisky Trail and brand ambassador and visitor centre manager at Glen Moray distillery, said: “At the moment, we won’t be offering tours, however we’ll be conducting tastings for small groups and offering designated driver packs.”
Further south, Kingsbarns distillery in Fife has reopened the café and shop at its visitors’ centre today, with limited tours and tastings beginning on 1 August.
And the Glenturret distillery at Crieff will restart its tours on Monday.
Food, glorious food
Diners will also be returning to a host of restaurants throughout Scotland from today, including The Vittoria Group‘s Taste of Italy, La Favorita and Vittoria on the Walk in Edinburgh, with the chain’s Vittoria on the Bridge and Bertie’s Restaurant & Bar following on 22 July and Divino Enoteca on 31 July.
Chef Paul Wedgwood will reopen his eponymous restaurant in Scotland’s capital tomorrow, with The Ivy on the Square in Edinburgh and The Ivy Buchanan Street in Glasgow following suit on Friday, with thermal cameras for temperature checks and tracking software for all employees, logging daily temperature readings over a seven-day rolling period.
Also on Friday, what’s billed as “Scotland’s largest restaurant and bar” will open beneath Glasgow Central Station.
Platform will cover 35,000 square feet, enough to seat 350 socially-distanced diners, and will offer food from companies including Gallus Pasta, Tiny Dancers and Ginger & Chilli.
Scott McCormick, owner of Platform, said: “Like most businesses, we have had to evolve and adjust to a new normal, and the opportunity to create Scotland’s largest casual dining restaurant and street food kitchen will hopefully be one of the few positives to come out of this pandemic.”
Read more stories about how Scotland’s businesses are bouncing back from the coronavirus lockdown on Scottish Field’s news pages.