Abbotsford to Introduce Car Park Charges

6th September 2021

Abbotsford, the historic home of Sir Walter Scott in the Scottish Borders, is introducing modest car parking charges this Autumn to help cope with financial losses after the Covid pandemic.

The popular tourist attraction near Melrose has seen visitor numbers increase over the last year, with lockdown increasing the popularity of the woodland and riverside walks and the children’s play park, leading to a 400% rise in the number of visits by walkers and families who use the estate for free.

Now The Abbotsford Trust, which manages Scott’s home, is asking visitors to contribute to the upkeep of the estate and facilities by paying modest car parking charges.

Giles Ingram, the Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “Our car park is often full, which is a wonderful thing to see, but many people are taking up spaces and not contributing financially towards the management and maintenance of the facilities they are using. We are now running the risk of losing income from paying customers who cannot park. Certainly, once we begin welcoming back coaches, we will have a very real problem.

“We are a small independent charity and, like many other businesses in the tourism sector, have taken a major financial hit with Covid lockdowns. Even now, despite the impressions of a Staycation boom, our revenues are only 60% of pre-Covid levels. Car park charging would give us a new revenue stream, which we would use to cover the costs of maintaining the walks, toilets and parking facilities, the areas used for free by non-paying visitors. It also enables us to raise funds towards investing in additional parking bays in future.

“The charges are low, starting at 50p for one hour and we will also have a seasonal pass for regular visitors.”

The parking charges will be introduced in October after a communications campaign to let visitors know about the change. The charges will be:

• 50p for one hour
• £1 for two hours
• £2 for four hours
• £3 all day
• Annual season ticket £15.

Parking for the disabled and Friends of Abbotsford will be free, and there will be no charge for the first 20 minutes for everyone, allowing car drivers to drop off & pick up people, or use the Sir Wattie horsebox catering. The season ticket is aimed at local people who visit regularly and is intended to offer value for money. Parking would also be free outwith opening hours, i.e. before 10am and after 5pm, so people can still drive to and enjoy the estate at no charge at these times.

Giles Ingram continued: “We would ask people not to park in residential streets to avoid parking fees. This will cause obstructions and create difficulties for our neighbours. We will be working with the authorities to monitor and address any such problems. Please understand that the beautiful walks you enjoy do cost money to maintain, and we want them to remain in good condition for years to come.”