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Gretna Green Ltd. Introduce ‘Alipay’Gretna Green Ltd. Introduce ‘Alipay’
Added: 20 Sep 2018
Family run business Gretna Green Ltd. have introduced the global online payment application “Alipay” to help cater to their international customers. Alipay is the world’s most popular financial application with around 400 million users and over 100 million transactions around the world.

The team at Gretna Green recognise the importance of easy payment methods for the visiting tourism market and made the decision to launch the mobile payment app this summer; creating a streamlined purchasing process and removing any issues regarding the use of cash payments by adapting their business to ensure they have the best shopping experience possible.
Alipay gives customers complete control over their finances, cutting out the need for currency conversion and use of expensive credit cards.

The new service was introduced at the award winning five-star visitor attraction in August 2018. Kevin Stewart, Head of Marketing says; “The introduction of Alipay to Gretna Green is the latest step in positioning our attraction as an international destination of choice for the visiting tourism market. We understand how important it is to cater to and meet the demands of our growing international visitor and ease of payment is so important in ensuring a seamless experience. We are always looking to improve our services on site and online and endeavour to keep up to date with the latest technological advances.”

Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop Attraction currently welcomes over 800,000 visitors each year to the Dumfries & Galloway region and is the most visited, privately owned tourist attraction in the country.
David Livingstone Centre marks start of £6m Birthplace ProjectDavid Livingstone Centre marks start of £6m Birthplace Project
Added: 15 Aug 2018
Work starts on site this week on the much anticipated £6.1 million Birthplace Project to transform The David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre into a world-class visitor attraction.

Clark Contracts Ltd. has been appointed as the main contractor on the multi-million pound operation to restore and renovate the 11-hectare Station Road site which includes the iconic Shuttle Row mill-workers’ tenement where the legendary explorer and missionary was born and raised.

The Birthplace Project is jointly funded by The National Lottery through The Heritage Lottery Fund (£4.1m), the Scottish Government (£1.3m) and Historic Environment Scotland (£575,000).

The funding will see David Livingstone’s birthplace redeveloped to provide a vibrant new museum, setting Scotland in a global context and celebrating the inspirational story of how a poor millworker became one of the most popular British heroes of the Victorian era and a hero of some Sub Saharan African countries today. The project will include the renewal of the historic buildings, a newly interpreted exhibition which will showcase artefacts from the Trust’s collection of 3000 objects and an upgrade of visitor facilities such as the café and shop.
Scottish Attraction Voted Amongst Best in World!Scottish Attraction Voted Amongst Best in World!
Added: 15 Aug 2018
Landmark Forest Adventure Park, located just outside Aviemore, has once again been named in the Top 1% of visitor attractions worldwide. The Scottish visitor attraction, which first opened its doors back in June 1970, has just been awarded the very prestigious Travellers’ Choice award by TripAdvisor for the second year running.

The Travellers’ Choice Award is based on reviews left by visitors via the online platform and is the highest honour that TripAdvisor bestows on visitor attractions around the world. As the only travel industry award based on millions of reviews and opinions from travellers around the world, these annual awards reflect ’the best of the best’ for service, quality, and customer satisfaction.

Not only has Landmark Forest Adventure Park been awarded the Traveller’s Choice Award again, but they have also moved up yet another place in TripAdvisor’s list of the Top 10 Amusement Parks in the UK. The family attraction is now named as one of the Top 4 parks north of London and the highest rated amusement park north of Blackpool.

Landmark Forest Adventure Park is one of many great family attractions located in the surrounding Aviemore area which make it such a popular holiday destination with families in the UK. Last year Aviemore and its surrounding area were visited by around 1.1m visitors, a testament to its high quality attractions, restaurants and range of accommodation.

Whilst the team at Landmark is understandably thrilled at their recent achievement, they are keen not to rest on their laurels. Commenting on their latest accolade, Danny Fullerton, General Manager, said “We’re all absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious award! With thousands of families returning to the park every year, we recognise just how important it is for us to continually improve as a visitor attraction. Hopefully this award is a good indication that we are going in the right direction! It is hugely encouraging as we make preparations to bring even more exciting attractions to the park over the coming years.”
ASVA welcomes new CEOASVA welcomes new CEO
Added: 19 Jul 2018
We’re delighted to welcome Gordon Morrison to the role of Chief Executive Officer of ASVA.

Gordon is a well known face within the attractions sector in Scotland, both through his work at VisitScotland as Quality & Tourism Manager, where he was responsible for the delivery of highly regarded Visitor Attraction Grading Scheme and, more recently as Commercial & Visitor Services Manager with Museums & Galleries Edinburgh. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience of the sector, particularly in relation to quality and improvement of visitor experience, and will use this knowledge and experience to help ASVA in our mission to support and inspire Scottish attractions to deliver sustainable, world class experiences.

Gordon joined the organisation on the 16th of July. About working for ASVA, Gordon says:
I am absolutely delighted to join the organisation. The work ASVA does in supporting the attractions sector, providing advice, statistical information and inspiration to members via our website and communication channels, our development programmes and, of course, the truly outstanding annual ASVA conferences, is very highly valued by the attractions industry and I look forward to building on the organisation’s success in 2018 and beyond. I am taking over from a real institution in Eva McDiarmid and I am determined to continue her legacy, ensuring that ASVA remains one of the most respected organisations within the tourism sector.
My aim is to ensure that ASVA is truly representative of our members and is responsive in meeting the evolving wants and needs of the attractions sector in Scotland. I am determined to be an open, accessible and visible CEO and I look forward to meeting with and speaking to members and stakeholders from across the country over the upcoming weeks and months.’
Added: 25 Jun 2018
One of Scotland’s favourite paintings, Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí, has returned to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. The seminal artwork is now back on show, hanging in its bespoke gallery on the first floor of the museum. The painting had been on loan to the Royal Academy of Arts in London for their exhibition Dalí/Duchamp, before it travelled to The Dalí Museum in St Petersburg, Florida as part of the exhibition tour.

Painted in 1951 and purchased by the City of Glasgow in 1952, Christ of St John of the Cross continues to be one of the real draws for the million-plus people who visit Kelvingrove Museum each year. Before its recent travels, the painting hadn’t been on loan since 2010, when it was exhibited at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, USA.

Glasgow Museums is also launching a packed programme of free, fun, family events across all eight museums this summer. After admiring Dalí’s powerful artwork families can enjoy a full programme of workshops, activities and craft sessions at Kelvingrove and across the city’s other museums throughout the holiday period.

For more details on the Summer Family Events programme operating from July to September visit Many of the events are free and include highlights like the Mackintosh Bus Tour travelling between various museums on 21 July 2018, Kelvin Hall’s Dennis and Gnasher-inspired antics throughout the school holidays and GoMA’s Magical Summer programme, incorporating potion making, herbology, levitation and summoning in addition to the weekly Saturday Art Club. The People’s Palace will take inspiration from John Knox’s Glasgow Fair painting on display in the museum and host traditional fair-themed workshops such as Be a Clown and Circus Fun, while Riverside Beach is back from the beginning of July.
Wildcat kittens born at Highland Wildlife ParkWildcat kittens born at Highland Wildlife Park
Added: 25 Jun 2018
Two rare Scottish wildcats born at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo may help provide a lifeline for the iconic species.

The kittens will join a conservation breeding programme which it is hoped will save the species from extinction in the wild through future reintroductions

David Barclay, RZSS cat conservation project officer, said, “Scottish wildcats are facing severe threats due to cross-breeding with domestic and feral cats, disease transfer and accidental persecution.

“Wildcat populations have suffered a sharp decline in Scotland in recent decades with studies suggesting there may be as few as 115 Scottish wildcats left in the wild, making them one of the UK’s most endangered mammals. Our conservation breeding programme and work with partners in Scottish Wildcat Action, the national conservation project, is therefore vital.
“Every birth is a potential lifeline and improves the chances of a genetically healthy population that can act as a source for future wildcat release.”

Born in April, the kittens have recently started to emerge from their den and explore their habitat.

RZSS conservation and breeding programmes are supported by the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.
Although some similarities with domestic tabby cats exist, the two are not to be confused. The Scottish wildcat is the same species of wildcat found in continental Europe but has been separate since the end of the last ice age, around 9,000 years ago.

RZSS is a key partner in Scottish Wildcat Action, the first national project to save the highly threatened species from extinction. Scottish Wildcat Action brings together more than 20 other organisations in the conservation, scientific and land management communities, supported by Scottish Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Find out more -
Image - RZSS Sian Anderson
Added: 18 Jun 2018
Lothian (operators of Edinburgh Bus Tours) is expanding further and widening its portfolio with the launch of Lothian Motorcoaches, creating further jobs and boosting tourism in the Scottish economy.

From June, Lothian Motorcoaches will sit alongside and complement its Edinburgh Bus Tours operation by offering bespoke day tours to both resident and tourism markets across Scotland, as well as associated private hire services specialising in high-end corporate events and weddings.

Lothian have acquired five executive coaches for the operation. Working in close partnership with Plaxton, a subsidiary of Alexander Dennis, on both build and design; the upmarket Plaxton Panther executive coaches have been fitted to a superior standard offering customers a high quality, luxury experience featuring WI-FI, USB charging points, reclining seats with leather headrests and unique LED lighting, accented in a mild red effect to add to the interior ambience.

Richard Hall, Managing Director for Lothian said: “We are delighted to launch Lothian Motorcoaches, offering coach tours and private hire services for the residents and visitors of Edinburgh, the Lothians and beyond. Our specially trained drivers and guides aim to deliver an unrivalled customer experience, which combined with outstanding vehicles proudly built in Britain, offer a unique package for both the residents of Edinburgh and the Lothians and the important incoming tourism market that Scotland is lucky enough to enjoy. We look forward to commencing operations and welcoming the first of many customers aboard.”

Paula Ward, Regional Leadership Director, VisitScotland said: “Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand. The launch of Lothian Motorcoaches demonstrates a real commitment to further enhancing the tourism offering in Edinburgh and beyond.

“The new tours will encourage visitors to our capital city to visit some of the beautiful surrounding countryside and world-class attractions that can be enjoyed in Scotland. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is integral to sustaining communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change.”

The live-guided coach tours will take customers to various historic and picturesque locations across Scotland, including Loch Lomond, Stirling and St Andrews. Linking in with Lothian’s subsidiary Edinburgh Bus Tours, visitors and residents will be spoilt for choice as to ways to explore all that Scotland has to offer.
Making The Great Tapestry Of Scotland opens at NEW LANARKMaking The Great Tapestry Of Scotland opens at NEW LANARK
Added: 23 May 2018
New Lanark, an 18th century cotton-spinning Mill Village and one of Scotland’s 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is delighted to turn their newly developed Exhibition Gallery into the home of the Great Tapestry of Scotland for six weeks until the 1st July 2018 (10am-5pm).

New Lanark first hosted the tapestry back in 2014, exhibiting it to over 13,000 visitors. Now in 2018, The Great Tapestry of Scotland returns to New Lanark as you’ve never seen it before. Discover the story of the tapestry’s creation through original sketches, photography, memorabilia and memories from those closest to the project. For the first time ever, panels from ‘The Great Tapestry of Scotland’ will be exhibited alongside fascinating insights from Dorie Wilkie, Lead Stitcher and her team of 1000+ stitchers who worked on the project across Scotland. The exhibition will also include original sketches and personal works by Andrew Crummy, the man behind the tapestry’s beautiful illustrative designs depicting key moments in Scotland’s history.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland was the brainchild of one of the world’s best-loved writers, Alexander McCall Smith. The 44 Scotland Street author, together with historian Alistair Moffat, and with the artistic talents of Andrew Crummy, (not to mention more than 1000 stitchers from all areas of Scotland) formed a team set to produce the world’s longest tapestries through one of the biggest community arts projects ever to take place in Scotland.

Taking 65,000 hours of stitching and using over 300 miles of wool (enough to lay the entire length of Scotland), illustrating 420 million years of Scottish history in 160 panels, this beautiful tapestry depicts the entire history of Scotland.

Textile production and innovation has been the continuous thread throughout New Lanark’s history, from the village’s early years as the one-time largest cotton manufacturer in Scotland, to now producing over 60 shades of high-quality woollen yarn using historic textile machinery and launching the world’s first Organic Tartan in 2015. Through this exciting partnership with the Tapestry makers, New Lanark offers the perfect backdrop for this wonderful exhibition which will be on show until the beginning of July 2018.
The Lost Words @ the BotanicsThe Lost Words @ the Botanics
Added: 21 May 2018

This summer the RBGE is delighted to be showing The Lost Words exhibition on both floors of Inverleith House. The exhibition of hauntingly beautiful paintings by Jackie Morris and exquisite spell-poems by Robert Macfarlane is being seen for the first time in Scotland just six months after The Last Words book was released. Rising quickly to the top of the book charts and recently awarded Children’s Book of the Year, The Lost Words celebrates the relationship between language and the living world, and nature’s power to spark the imagination.

Coinciding with the opening of The Lost Words, is our Connect with Nature Writing Festival. A two day literary event offering a unique opportunity to connect or re-connect with the natural world through inspirational talks by leading authors, lively Q&A sessions, workshops and tours.

19 May to 2 September 2018, 10.30am - 5.30pm daily
Scottish stars back National Trust for Scotland’s biggest ever campaign Scottish stars back National Trust for Scotland’s biggest ever campaign
Added: 15 May 2018
Some of Scotland’s most recognisable public figures have thrown their weight behind the National Trust for Scotland’s most ambitious campaign ever with the aim of boosting member numbers by more than a third to 500,000, doubling paid visits to 1 million and increasing regular donors and member visits over the next five years.

An extraordinary cast from Hollywood A-listers to TV favourites and sports legends have all given their time for free to support the charity. The celebrities appear alongside less familiar faces in a film which takes the unconventional approach of asking Scots what they hate about Scotland before finding out what they love about the country. The film entitled For the Love of Scotland debuted on STV on the 29th of April, taking over the whole of a prime-time ad break. At three minutes, this is thought to be the longest Scottish TV advert ever made.

The cast includes Hollywood actors Brian Cox and Gerard Butler; sporting royalty Sir Chris Hoy, Judy Murray, Alex McLeish and international rugby players Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell; TV presenter Andrea McLean and musician Evelyn Glennie. The stars were joined by a host of less well known National Trust for Scotland supporters from across Scotland as they revealed not only what gets them down about Scotland but what fires them up about the country.

Sir Chris Hoy hates potholes but loves how Scots can be the best in the world. Brian Cox hates having to work so far away from Scotland but loves how Scots all have a sense of home. Gerard Butler loves mountains, glens and lochs and naturally, Burns, but hates midges and smirr! With a nod to her passion for tennis, Judy Murray hates when ‘rain stops play’ but she loves our national treasures. Scotland manager, Alex McLeish, of course, hates Glorious Defeat, but loves how Scots all pull together as a team.

Mark Bishop, Director of Customer and Cause at the National Trust for Scotland said: “Everything we do is for the love of Scotland. The hundreds of thousands of members, donors, volunteers, visitors and staff do what they do because they care about Scotland and we thought it was time to recognise that. The National Trust for Scotland isn’t just here for a lovely day out, it stands for something much bigger than that.

“We’re about coastlines and castles, art and architecture, wildlife and wilderness. We’re here to protect our natural and national treasures for everyone to enjoy.

“We’ve set ourselves an ambitious target to do two things – firstly to help people better understand what we do and why we do it and secondly to protect the Trust for the future by increasing our members, donations and visitors.

“In creating this campaign, we’ve been heartened by the extraordinary passion we’ve tapped; from multi-award winning actors and sporting royalty to our hard working staff and volunteers and everyone else who champions our work. We have harnessed that support to help us shout louder about the important role we play in caring for Scotland now and forever.”

The For the Love of Scotland film can be seen at the National Trust for Scotland’s website
Three cheers for 30 years of The Scotch Whisky ExperienceThree cheers for 30 years of The Scotch Whisky Experience
Added: 15 May 2018
The Scotch Whisky Experience is toasting 30 years as a whisky visitor attraction with the creation of a new and exclusive bottled blend and some special events.

Since opening in 1988, the five-star Royal Mile attraction has welcomed 6.8 million whisky fans through its doors, who have sampled a whopping 8 million drams.

Now, it has released the unique 30 year old Scotch to commemorate three decades of whisky tourism in the capital. The blend is limited to only 550 bottles, each individually numbered and visitors undertaking the Platinum Whisky Tour over the coming months will have the exclusive opportunity to sample it.

In addition to the celebratory bottling, a series of events will also be running throughout the month of May.

During May, the bar within the Amber restaurant will be offering a unique flight of four whiskies, including one from each decade over the last 30 years. This will include Cu Bocan 1988, Balblair 1991, Glenrothes 2001 and Benromach Organic 2010.

At the end of May, two special members of the team will be hiding a time capsule in the attics of the building which was originally built as Edinburgh’s Castlehill Primary School. This will include a photo of the 90-strong team and a commemorative message in an empty bottle of the new blend. The team members are general manager, Susan Morrison and head of technical, Dave Wilson who have worked at the attraction since it opened 30 years ago.
A visit by local MSP Ruth Davidson will also be taking place later this month.

Susan Morrison, director and general manager at The Scotch Whisky Experience, said: “This is a huge milestone for us at SWE and we wanted to do something truly special to commemorate – so what better way than doing what we do best and creating an exclusive new Scotch Whisky?

“We pride ourselves on providing a unique experience for all our guests, whether it’s a whisky tasting or blending session, or an intimate private dining experience and we have had a huge amount of success over the past three decades.

“It’s incredible to think that we have shared some of world’s best whiskies with 6.8 million visitors from all around the globe in the past thirty years and we are very excited to see what the next thirty will bring.”
New exhibition at City Art Centre explores therapeutic art and designNew exhibition at City Art Centre explores therapeutic art and design
Added: 15 May 2018
Each painting in ‘The Human Comedy’ series by James Pryde (1866-1941) depicts a facet of the human condition alongside a trademark imposing large four-poster bed. From that series, this exhibition at the City Art Centre features ‘The Red Bed’ (1916) from the City of Edinburgh collection, alongside work from Lothian Health Services Archive and the Alt-w Fund.

The legacy of Scottish neurosurgeon Prof Norman Dott (1897-1973) guides the exhibition. Originally an engineer, he retrained in medicine following a long spell in hospital recovering from a motorcycle accident. He constantly innovated with respect to his designs for neuroscience including the design and creation of the spherical Dott operating theatre at Edinburgh’s Western General.

In addition to works from the partners’ collections, a major focus of the exhibition is the current work of the NHS Lothian’s Art & Therapeutic Design programme and winners of the Alt-w Production Award. Exploring the activity and research interests of the Department of Clinical Neuroscience (DCN) in Edinburgh, Susana Cámara Leret, Tomoko Hayashi, Stacey Hunter, Gavin Inglis, Jack King-Spooner, Alex Menzies, Aidan Moesby, Florence To and Sven Werner present their work across design, music, graphic novels, film including interactive elements and 3D design.

The exhibition forms part of NHS Lothian’s Beyond Walls programme of art and therapeutic design, which is curated by Ginkgo Projects and funded by the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation. The Alt-w LAB at the City Art Centre has hosted a series of fellowships and residencies as part of this programme.

The exhibition runs until Sunday 8th July.
Added: 15 May 2018
Tomatin Distillery has announced that once again its 18 Year Old Single Malt has been awarded with ‘Double Gold’ at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition. This is the 5th time the judging panel of over 40 industry experts crowned the malt with this medal making it the most consistently highly awarded malt in their core range.

Stephen Bremner, Tomatin Sales Director, said: "We are delighted that our whiskies have yet again been recognised at these prestigious awards. With such stiff competition, we’re thrilled that such a breadth of Tomatin whiskies have been recognised and awarded not only Silver and Gold medals, but Double Gold awards too.”

The judging panel went through four days of blind tastings before going on to judge each entry on its own merit. Awarded to the very few entries that receive a Gold medal, Tomatin’s 18 Year Old is rated by all members of the judging panel as among one of the finest products in the world.

The 18 Year Old has been awarded nine gold awards and one silver since 2008 and is matured in oak casks and first fill Oloroso Sherry butts. Featuring flavours of honey and soft oak, the dram develops into a hint of dark chocolate with a citrus bite before a sustained sweet and slightly dry finish.

Tomatin received 13 medals in total at the spirits ‘Oscars’, with the 12 Year Old receiving its fifth gold in a row, while Tomatin’s travel retail range saw its 15 Year Old and 40 Year Old awarded gold, the latter receiving double gold. And for the first time ever, Tomatin’s Cask Strength was awarded a gold medal.

Founded in 2000, each year the San Francisco World Spirit Competition recognises exceptional products in the spirits industry and some of the finest products from around the world.
Scottish Botanical Art in Groundbreaking International ExhibitionScottish Botanical Art in Groundbreaking International Exhibition
Added: 30 Apr 2018
Botanical artists are showcasing Scottish native plants in a major new international initiative involving more than 25 countries. Art societies across the globe are collaborating to exhibit contemporary paintings of native plants, both on-line and at venues in each of the countries, to raise awareness about biodiversity and flora.

Scotland’s exhibition, Flora Scotia, organised by the Scottish Botanical Art Collective (SBAC), features over 56 pieces of work by 34 artists. These have been chosen from more than 70 entries by a selection panel of prestigious artists and scientists. The exhibition is now being staged in the John Hope Gateway at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) until Sunday 3 June.

Digital slide shows are being created for the inaugural Worldwide Day of Botanical Art on Friday 18 May. The Flora Scotia show, featuring 25 slides, will be shown at RBGE and around the world.

Senior Lecturer in Botany at RBGE, Dr Greg Kenicer explained: “It is important to recognise native plants. Flora Scotia has been a wonderful exhibition to be involved in – it is a privilege to be part of this global collaboration among artists and botanists. The exhibition uses a series of beautiful pieces to explain the story of Scotland’s plants – from the rarest threatened species to everyday ‘weeds’. The sheer range of styles and subjects is stunning, so it really showcases the diversity of botanical illustration in Scotland, the skill of the artists and the emotive power of their work.’’
He added: “The work of RBGE weaves a thread through the whole exhibition. Conserving the rare species, understanding how our landscape and plants may respond to modern rapid environmental change, and the fundamental importance of plants to Scottish society through the ages all crop up as themes. For me, this was an added delight, to see just how many places our work touches on the Scottish Flora.”

The primary aim of the initiative being led by the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) is to link people with plants through botanical art.
Treasure of Fyvie Castle goes Dutch at High Society exhibition Treasure of Fyvie Castle goes Dutch at High Society exhibition
Added: 25 Apr 2018
One of the National Trust for Scotland’s most-celebrated and well-known paintings is being displayed in Amsterdam, as part of an exhibition which showcases the work of some of the great masters of art.

Normally resident at Fyvie Castle, Ellon, the life-size Pompeo Batoni portrait of Colonel William Gordon (1736-1816) – wearing the uniform of the 105th Regiment of Foot and Huntly Tartan – is currently on show at the Rijksmuseum, the Dutch national museum dedicated to art and history.

The Batoni is one of thirty-five historic paintings of Europe’s rich and powerful from all over the world being displayed at the museum’s High Society exhibition, which runs until 3 June 2018.

Painted in Rome during his "grand tour" of Europe in 1766, the portrait depicts William Gordon as a swaggering Scotsman in the guise of a Roman hero – a style preferred by the aristocracy of the time – standing before the ruins of the Colosseum, swathed in toga-like tartan.

The Colonel is holding his sword, which he famously threatened to use to quash a revolt in the Houses of Parliament in 1780, and is seen receiving the orb of authority and laurel wreath of victory from the figure of Roma.

David Hopes, Head of Collections and Interiors (Policy) at the Trust, said: "The inclusion of the portrait in such a high-profile exhibition is testament to its quality and importance – Batoni was one of the most famous artists of his time and the painting of Colonel Gordon is one of his seminal pieces. This isn’t the first time the painting has gone on tour; it’s an ambassador for the Trust, having previously been displayed in Washington D.C., Edinburgh and Monza. It’s a special piece and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share it with the wider world."

Temporarily taking the Batoni painting’s place at Fyvie Castle is a picture of Colonel Gordon’s former scullery maid and housekeeper, Isobel "Belle" Black. Isobel was also his mistress, bearing him a son known as William Gordon of Fyvie, before becoming his wife.

Vikki Duncan, Curator North, for the Trust, said: "This is the first time we will be displaying the portrait of Isobel Black at Fyvie Castle – we only re-discovered the painting at Mar Lodge last summer. It had been in storage for years and we then managed to work out who she was. When the portrait of Colonel Gordon returns from Amsterdam, we might look to re-unite the family, displaying them together in one room temporarily in what would be another first for the Trust."
Added: 25 Apr 2018
The largest ever exhibition of Canaletto’s paintings in Scotland opens on 11 May at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The exhibition includes Canaletto’s famous series of 12 paintings which create a near complete journey down the Grand Canal, Venice’s most famous waterway.

Through over 100 paintings, drawings and prints from the Royal Collection’s exceptional holdings, the exhibition presents the work of Venice’s most famous view-painter alongside that of his contemporaries, including Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Francesco Zuccarelli, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta and Pietro Longhi and explores how they captured the essence and allure of Venice for their 18th century audience, as they still do today.

In 1762, the young monarch George III purchased virtually the entire collection of Joseph Smith, an English merchant and later British consul in Venice. Smith had built an outstanding art collection of 18th century Venetian art. One of the most important of Smith’s commissions from Canaletto was the series of 12 paintings of the Grand Canal, which together create a near complete journey down the waterway.

Venice also boasted a thriving opera and theatre scene, especially during carnival season. Many artists such as Canaletto, worked for the theatre, where they learned how to manipulate perspective to heighten drama. Included in the exhibition is a Marco Ricci stage design and his caricature of the internationally famed castrato Farinelli.

In paintings, prints, drawings and books, the exhibition brings the splendour and many delights of this most beautiful city to The Queen’s Gallery, Edinburgh.

Image: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018
The Great Tapestry of Scotland returns to New Lanark - as never seen before!The Great Tapestry of Scotland returns to New Lanark - as never seen before!
Added: 03 Apr 2018
New Lanark, an 18th century cotton-spinning Mill Village and one of Scotland’s 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is delighted to announce the return of the Great Tapestry of Scotland with a brand new exhibition open this spring & summer, MAKING OF THE GREAT TAPESTRY OF SCOTLAND from 18th May – 1st July 2018.

After first exhibiting the tapestry in 2014, to a record 13,000 visitors, New Lanark are delighted to be welcoming the tapestry back as never seen before. The new ‘making of’ exhibition, curated internally by New Lanark’s Exhibitions Officer Evelyn Whitelaw, will allow visitors to discover the story of the tapestry’s creation through original sketches, photography, memorabilia and memories from those closest to the project.

For the first time ever, panels from ‘The Great Tapestry of Scotland’ will be exhibited alongside fascinating insights from Dorie Wilkie, Lead Stitcher and her team of 1000+ stitchers who worked on the project across Scotland. The exhibition will also include original sketches and personal works by Andrew Crummy, the man behind the tapestry’s beautiful illustrative designs depicting key moments in Scotland’s history.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland was the brainchild of one of the world’s best-loved writers, Alexander McCall Smith. The 44 Scotland Street author, together with historian Alistair Moffat, and with the artistic talents of Andrew Crummy, (not to mention more than 1000 stitchers from all areas of Scotland) formed a team set to produce the world’s longest tapestries through one of the biggest community arts projects ever to take place in Scotland.

Taking 65,000 hours of stitching and using over 300 miles of wool (enough to lay the entire length of Scotland), illustrating 420 million years of Scottish history in 160 panels, this beautiful tapestry depicts the entire history of Scotland.

Textile production and innovation has been the continuous thread throughout New Lanark’s history, from the village’s early years as the one-time largest cotton manufacturer in Scotland, to now producing over 60 shades of high-quality woollen yarn using historic textile machinery and launching the world’s first Organic Tartan in 2015. Through this exciting partnership with the Tapestry makers, New Lanark offers the perfect backdrop for this wonderful exhibition which will be on show until the beginning of July 2018.
Queen Victoria exhibition opens at Blair CastleQueen Victoria exhibition opens at Blair Castle
Added: 03 Apr 2018
Following the nation’s interest and intrigue in the life of Queen Victoria, Blair Castle opened its doors on Friday 30th March to a new exhibition ‘Victoria at Blair Castle’, which aims to reveal the monarch’s connection with the highland estate and her close friendship with the Duchess of Atholl.
This special exhibition will celebrate the re-opening of the castle in time for Easter and over the next ten weeks guests will be treated to a memorable experience, that will look back at the royal’s close connection with Atholl Estates and Blair Castle. This new feature to the castle guarantees the perfect day out for fans of ITV’s award-winning series ‘Victoria’ and includes some of the stunning costumes from the period drama.
The castle’s archivist has curated an educational and engaging showcase of images and artefacts relating to the time Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the region, alongside key facts and anecdotes which illustrate the role they played in the history of Atholl Estates.
The setting for episode 7 in the second series of the ITV programme, Blair Castle has a long history with the royal family. Visitors to the exhibition will see the beautiful bedroom suite purchased by the Duke of Atholl specifically for Queen Victoria’s visit. With no expense spared on the furniture and décor, Queen Victoria later wrote in her journal: “We went to look at the old and really handsome rooms in which we lived.”
First visiting Scotland in 1842, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert quickly fell in love with the country and subsequently chose to return in 1844, when they stayed at Blair Castle for three weeks.
Julia Sim, Head of Sales and Marketing at Blair Castle, said: “Blair Castle is a truly fitting venue to host this Queen Victoria Exhibition. Not only did Queen Victoria and Prince Albert develop a close relationship with the Duke and Duchess of Atholl, but they were also advocates of Blair Castle and enjoyed their initial visit to the region so much that they chose to return for, what in those days was, a long stay.
“The combination of old and personal artefacts belonging to Queen Victoria, alongside the replica costumes from the ITV period drama all help bring the stories from the past back to life. They also paint a picture of the relationships and happy times enjoyed by the royal couple at Blair Castle. Whether you’re a history buff or simply want to find out more about the royal family’s Scottish connections, the exhibition has something for everyone.”
The Queen Victoria Exhibition will run from Friday 30 March until Sunday 10 June. Access to the exhibition is included in the entrance fee of £12 per adult, with annual season passes for access to Blair Castle and the grounds available at a cost of just £20 per adult.

Image copyright Craig Stephen Photographers
Added: 29 Mar 2018
Charles Rennie Mackintosh Making the Glasgow Style charts Glasgow’s contribution in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a time when there was an energetic and radical outpouring of new ideas across all the arts in Europe, most notably in the fields of design and architecture. In Glasgow, this gave birth to the Glasgow Style, a distinctive variant of Art Nouveau centred on The Glasgow School of Art. At the heart of it was the work of ’The Four’: Mackintosh, his future wife Margaret Macdonald, her younger sister Frances, and Frances’ future husband, James Herbert McNair.

The exhibition features more than 250 objects, which highlight the diverse spectrum of media Mackintosh and his contemporaries mastered. These include: stained glass, glass, ceramics, mosaic, metalwork, furniture, textiles, stencilling, needlework and embroidery, posters, books, interior and tearoom design, and architectural drawings.

Key highlights include a section of lathe and plaster wall with a stencilled design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Miss Cranston’s Ingram Street Tearooms. An early example, from 1900 of his internationally renowned rose motif, this wall section was salvaged just prior to the building being gutted and repurposed into a hotel in 1971. Meticulously conserved, this stunning piece of architectural history will be on display for the first time since its removal from the former tearoom premises. This will be shown alongside a number of other decorative elements and fittings from the interiors of the Ingram Street Tearooms, again for the first time on public display; conserved especially for this show.

Other feature objects include delicate watercolours not shown in a generation, including Pinks, Grey Iris and Part Seen, Imagined Part. Unique pieces of furniture, including a high backed chair from the Ingram Street Tearooms, 1900, and a chair for the drawing and music room at Hous’hill, Nitshill, 1904. Four beautifully repoussé-lead framed symbolic watercolours by Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s wife Margaret Macdonald and her sister Frances Macdonald entitled The Seasons, of 1897–98 will be shown together for the first time since the early 1980s, together with a stunning poster for The Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts designed by the Macdonald sisters and James Herbert McNair.

The exhibition is given a deeper context by the inclusion of work never before seen on public display by some of Mackintosh’s key Glasgow Style contemporaries, including a standing clock by Peter Wylie Davidson, an illustrated score cover for Wagner’s Götterdämmerung by Dorothy Carleton Smyth, and sketchbooks owned and filled by Talwin Morris. Also on show are original drawings for both the exterior and interior designs for some of his architectural masterpieces.

The exhibition at Kelvingrove Museum is one of the highlight events in a yearlong celebration throughout 2018 entitled Mackintosh 150. It is co-ordinated by Mackintosh heritage partners from across Glasgow and beyond and includes a programme of events at The Lighthouse and at Mackintosh Queen’s Cross, as well as the re-opening of Mackintosh at the Willow, Miss Cranston’s original tearooms in Sauchiehall Street. The Glasgow School of Art, The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow, House for An Art Lover and the new V&A Dundee will all play host to dedicated event and exhibition programmes.

From Friday 30 March until Tuesday 14 August 2018. Tickets cost £7 per adult/ £5 per concession, children under 16 free.

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Growing greener credentials at Logan Botanic GardenGrowing greener credentials at Logan Botanic Garden
Added: 14 Mar 2018
Logan Botanic Garden, one of Dumfries & Galloway’s leading visitor attractions, has underscored its commitment to saving the environment by being one of the first Gardens in Scotland to install an electric vehicle charge point.

The Garden, which already holds a Gold Green Tourism Award, received a 75 per cent grant from the Energy Saving Trust, for the double 7KW charge point which has been installed in the visitor car park.

Garden Curator Richard Baines said: “I believe Logan to be the first Garden in Scotland to install an electric charge point for vehicles. We are now able to attract electric car users from far and wide. They will have the confidence to visit because they know they will have power for the return journey.’’

He added: “Logan is continually looking at ways to improve its green credentials. We wholeheartedly support the eco-movement towards electrically operated vehicles to safeguard our planet by reducing harmful emissions and greenhouse gases. By reducing climate change we will aid plant conservation and reduce habitat destruction.

“Being part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh - with a Mission Statement dedicated to conserve, explore and explain the world of plants for a better future- it is important to integrate the organisation’s work with the wider ecological benefits of creating a far greater sustainable environment, as a whole, and to show all our visitors what everyone could achieve with a bit of work”.

Other green practices at Logan include the solar PV and air source heat pumps running the carbon-neutral Logan Conservatory to being part of the new initiative Refill D&G to reduce plastic waste.

The range of eco-friendly and recycled goods sold in the gift shop is also vast and very in keeping with the sustainable theme that the staff operate on a daily basis.
The Scotch Whisky Experience adds sign languages to its toursThe Scotch Whisky Experience adds sign languages to its tours
Added: 14 Feb 2018
In a pivotal move to enhance accessibility, the Scotch Whisky Experience have invested over £50,000 into multi-functional audio guides which feature interpreters conducting tours in both British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL).
As 80% of visitors to The Scotch Whisky Experience come from overseas, subtitled tours in German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch and Swedish will also be launching, allowing deaf visitors from these countries to enjoy the tour in their own language.
The addition of the new BSL and ASL devices means that they now offer whisky tours in a total of 20 languages at the Scotch Whisky Experience.
Lenka Whyles, Head of Operations at The Scotch Whisky Experience, said: “Investing in American and British Sign Language to enhance our suite of languages shows both our commitment to accessibility and our wish for all our visitors to enjoy a 5-star experience in their own language.
“Careful consideration has been given to the background colour of the screen on the new devices, as well as the clothes of the interpreters to make them as user-friendly as possible and we also flew one of the American signers over from the USA.
“We are really excited that this project is ready to go live and very much look forward to welcoming our first BSL and ASL customers.”
The BSL and ASL tours at the Scotch Whisky Experience were officially launched from Tuesday 23rd January.
In 2017, the visitor attraction continued its commitment to accessibility and made upgrades to allow increased flexibility for wheelchair users, enabling them to experience the new audio-visual tour elements in full. A wheelchair was also purchased for visitors to use on a free of charge basis.
The full list of languages offered at The Scotch Whisky Experience is as follows: British Sign Language, American Sign Language, Gaelic, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Japanese, Czech, Russian, Mandarin, Hindi, Hungarian, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese and Cantonese.
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