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Holyrood starts its first free tours

posted 21 Sep 2009, 07:40 by myEdinburgh Admin
Free tours of Holyrood have started today, making all aspects of visiting and engaging with the Parliament free to the public.

To mark the occasion, local community groups were invited to take the first free tour. Specially trained Parliament staff will host the hour-long tours during which people will visit behind the scenes to view some of the building s unique architecture and art collection and hear all about the role and work of the Parliament and its 129 MSPs.

Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: "We pride ourselves as a Parliament on being open and accessible and removing the last existing charged-for-service for visitors to Holyrood is something to celebrate.  We hope this move will encourage even more people to come and experience the Parliament for themselves.

"The Scottish Parliament has been acutely aware of the need to bring this service into line with our existing free school visits and education programme, our free crèche for visitors and the free public exhibitions held regularly across the Parliament. It is therefore fitting that, in our tenth year of devolution, we have been able to achieve this."

The free tours are available for the general visitor on non-business days and for Members' guests on business days during parliament terms.  Tours will operate regularly throughout each day, from 10.00-17.00 on weekdays and 11.00-16.30 on Saturdays, subject to availability, offering up to 48 tours each week.

Handsets are also available to provide a summary of the tour in other languages.

On the first free tour of the Parliament are:
       From Raploch Urban Regeneration Company, Stirling   Nicole DeBrincat and Mark Davis.
       From Respite Fife, Kirkcaldy   Gwyneth Robertson and Marjorie Low
       From Community Enterprise, Ecclesmachan in West Lothian   Diane Cameron and Pamela Redpath
       From Open Doors Access Project, Livingston   Rob Johoda
       From Canongate Youth Project, Edinburgh   Neil Hyndman
       From Civil Service Pensioners  Alliance, Kirkcaldy - Dr Colin Spiers and Ken Robertson.

Ticket prices for tours of Holyrood were previously subsidised at £6.00 for adults and £3.60 for concessions.

The Scottish Parliament will also continue offering art tours on a pre-book basis for specialist groups and interested individuals.  This tour will take in twenty works of art located across Holyrood, with a further seven works of art already available to view in the public areas of the Parliament.

The handheld audio tours have been provided by Acoustiguide following a competitive tender process. The models used are Opus ClickTM and Opus TouchTM

Figures show that four out of five visitors to Holyrood are resident in Scotland.

Further information or to book a free tour
Telephone 0131 348 5200 or email rates.