We are delighted to announce an extension to our visitor season in response to Skye’s growing popularity as a year-round visitor destination. An exciting programme of exhibitions and events will complement the extended opening.
Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles will remain open this year until 30 November, from Wednesday to Sunday (10am – 3pm). We will re-open on 1 March, with full summer opening hours operating from 1 April. The extended opening will enable visitors to enjoy the changing seasons at our magnificent gardens, and offer more opportunities to explore the permanent and temporary exhibitions at the acclaimed Museum of the Isles.
The new café-bar, Gasta at Armadale Castle, will remain open throughout the year. Run by the team behind Deli Gasta in Broadford, Gasta has established an excellent reputation since taking over management of the Stables Restaurant earlier this year. It will continue to offer lunches and light refreshments during the day, plus tapas-style dining three evenings a week. Regular traditional live music nights and a late bar are also on the menu.
An autumn programme will complement the extended opening. On show in the Museum of the Isles until end September is a special exhibition, ‘Coming Home: WWI in the Highlands – Impact, Memories, Lasting Legacy’. A number of museums and archives have collaborated on the exhibition, working with artists, volunteers and communities to explore individual experiences and local changes in the Highlands after the First World War. The exhibition includes a ‘mini mobile museum’ with visual artworks, animations and a suitcase of activities and resources for visitors of all ages.
During October and November, Armadale will be celebrating its impressive tree collection as part of the Discover Scottish Gardens Scottish Tree Festival. Visitors will be able to follow a special tree trail, and youngsters will enjoy tree-themed half-term family activities.
With so much going on, the team at Armadale will be taking a break from their Christmas Craft fair this year and helping to promote similar initiatives elsewhere, including the fair at nearby An Crubh. There will be plenty of Christmas cheer, however, with a charity carols event in aid of Marie Curie on 1 December as well as festive fare on the menu at Gasta.
Sue Geale, Museum Manager and member of the Management Committee, said: “We have been having a very successful season so far this year and are very pleased to be extending our opening hours to meet demand. We hope that visitors will enjoy our autumn colours and spring flowers in these quieter months. And with our wonderful self-catering accommodation open all year, we can even offer an all-in holiday experience on the estate.”
Visit Scotland Regional Leadership Director Chris Taylor said: “It is great news that Armadale Castle will be extending its season to the end of November and more visitors will be able to experience the 5-Star visitor attraction. The spectacular scenery, the culture and the warm welcome of the locals make Skye and the wider Highlands area a top destination all-year round. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy. VisitScotland works with industry to develop initiatives encouraging visitors to come throughout the year which in turn helps support a wide range of services for visitors and local people alike.”