NOW, are you sure you’ve got everything? Mask? Hand-sanitiser? Thirst for learning? Yes? I think we’re good to go then.

While we are still under the shadow of the virus, some things are beginning to come back, museums among them.

The last few days has seen the reopening of both the National Museum of Scotland and Kelvingrove Museum. 

And while access is controlled and there are limitations on where you can go, after months in lockdown the chance to visit your favourite museum (or possibly your favourite museum cafe) is surely to be welcomed.

Here’s 10 you might like to visit soon

...And remember to wear that mask when you’re indoors.

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Reopened on Wednesday on reduced hours (10.30am to 4.30pm daily), the National Museum of Scotland is once again the perfect retreat for those seeking refuge from the temperamental Edinburgh weather. Pre-booked timed entry, mandatory face coverings and one-way routes are all now in operation as the museum tries to return to (near) normal. Entrance will be by the west door on Chambers Street.

The museum’s reopening will be phased in. The entrance hall and level one are now open to visitors, but rooms with a high number of interactive displays, including the Imagine and Explore galleries, remain closed for the moment.

Inevitably, the museum has had to postpone a number of special exhibitions, but it is home to Scotland’s Precious Seas, an exhibition that explores the nation’s diverse sea life and the effect climate change is having on our maritime environment. It’s part of the Year of Coasts and Waters.

Visit for more details and to book entry

Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow


Pre-booking is also required for Kelvingrove which has reopened its doors to the public from 11am to 4pm daily. Tickets will be available up to two weeks in advance, with a maximum of six visitors for each booking, all from the same family. Entry will be timed and will allow visitors a two-hour slot. A one-way system has been introduced, but most of the main gallery spaces are open. Masks are required and there will be no catering facilities. But the toilets are open. Entrance is by the carpark side.

That only leaves one question. What’s the first thing you’re going to visit when you get back in? Are you there for the ancient Egyptian artefacts or for a catch-up with the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh?

PS, the Riverside Museum is reopening on August 31. Put it in your diary.

For more information and to book tickets, visit

National Museum of Flight, East Fortune

Booking in advance for timed entry is required for the National Museum of Flight in East Fortune. But at least you don’t need to self-quarantine when you get off the planes here. Some buildings are still closed unfortunately, but the Concorde Experience, the Parachute Store and the civil and military aviation hangars are all open, as well as the shop and cafe. One-way routes are in use.

And, of course, the airfield itself is open, which means you can have a look inside the planes – there’s a Vulcan, a Comet and a BAC 1-11 – on display. No passports required.

Visit for details and bookings.

The McManus art gallery and museum, Dundee

Named Scotland’s best visitor attraction not long before lockdown, the McManus reopened on Thursday and remains one of the most reliable boltholes in Dundee (even if there is more competition these days).

Now open daily from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, there is no booking necessary and exhibitions are free. The café has reopened with social distancing measures and the shop will only allow four customers at a time. Entry numbers to the museum will also be limited so you might have to queue.


Joseph McKenzie's photography at the McManus

Still, it will be worth it. To celebrate its reopening, two new exhibitions have just opened. Time and Tide: The Transformation of the Tay looks at the importance of the river in the continuing story of the city, while A Love Letter to Dundee: Joseph McKenzie Photographs 1964-1987 celebrates McKenzie’s evocative and nostalgic black and white images of Dundee as it once was.

Visit for more details

V&A Dundee, Dundee

Still a few days to wait. The V&A reopens its doors on Thursday. Pre-booked timed entry is now required, and social distancing measures and one-way systems have been introduced. But on the plus side the Tatha restaurant will reopen, as will the shop. As the ground floor café has closed, the Tatha will also offer cafe and takeaway options.

And along with the regular galleries, the museum reopens with a new exhibition celebrating the work of Mary Quant, the first international retrospective of the revolutionary fashion designer. As far as we know wearing a mini skirt is not a requirement for entrance. Just as well. Some of us don’t have the legs for it.

If you’re really keen, of course, you could double up with a trip to the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh where the current exhibition Mid-Century Modern also focuses on Quant along with Terence Conran.

Visit to book tickets

The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling

Ah, The Smith. There is no museum in Scotland I’ve spent more time in over the years. Having just reopened, it will now be accessible from Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm, with a one-way system in operation. No booking necessary.

The Stirling Story exhibition continues to occupy its main exhibition space. Artist and collector Thomas Stuart Smith bequeathed his own work and collection to the museum and it forms the heart of The Man Who Could Paint Anything: The Legacy of Thomas Stuart Smith in gallery two, supplemented by donations by subsequent benefactors. The work of Anne Redpath, William McTaggart and William Gillies are all represented in the exhibition. Paul Eames’ The Power of Flight, meanwhile, continues in gallery one until September 27.

Even better news. The Smith Cafe has also reopened. The Sunday afternoons spent eating cake there …

Visit for more information

Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth


Perth's Discovering Egypt exhibition

Advanced booking is required for a return to Perth which has also introduced timed entries and a new one-way system.

As well as all the usual attractions, Perth offers a number of exhibitions, including ICONS II: John Bellany and Conservation in Action. Discovering Ancient Egypt continues until October 4. And, of course, there’s New Ways of Seeing: Scottish Art Schools, drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, which contains work by the likes of Joan Eardley, Anne Redpath, John Byrne and Sir Robin Philipson.

The museum’s opening hours are Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 4pm, and Thursday from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.

Visit to book tickets and for more information

Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther

Wednesday is the day for the reopening of Anstruther’s Scottish Fisheries Museum. Pre-booked timed entry and one-way routes through the museum will be in operation, with card payments only in the cafe and shop. Summer opening hours, which cover Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 3pm, continue until the end of October.

If you haven’t visited before, the museum has 22 boats and an extensive collection of maritime artefats, photographs and paintings.

It also must be one of the best situated museums for anyone wanting to top up with a fish supper afterwards.

Visit for more information

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway

A substantial number of National Trust for Scotland properties have now reopened, including the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, which is open Thursday to Monday, from 10am to 4.30pm. Entry offers access not only to the museum but to the cottage where the Bard was born. And as the cottage was rethatched and restored just before lockdown this may be the best time to see it.

For more information visit

Jim Clark Motorsport Museum, Duns

This Borders museum celebrates the life and achievements of one of Scotland’s greatest sportsmen Jim Clark, twice Formula 1 world champion, who tragically died in 1968 on the track at Hockenheim.

The museum is home to the Lotus Cortina in which Clark won the 1964 British Saloon Car Championship and a Lotus Type 25, one of the most iconic Formula 1 cars, driven by Clark in 10 Grands Prix between 1963 and 1965.

For the moment, the museum is only open on Monday,Fridays and Saturdays between 10am and 4pm (closed 12.15pm to 1.15pm) Sundays from 1pm to 4pm. Numbers are limited, and advance booking is required.

Visit for more details and to book