Free British Sign Language audio tours launched at Holyrood


British Sign Language (BSL) users can now take a free tour of Holyrood while viewing an audio/visual guide.

From today, deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors using BSL who participate in guided tours will be able to use hand-held audio-visual guides with BSL to learn about the Scottish Parliament.

The tours give visitors a behind-the-scenes insight into some of the Holyrood building’s unique architecture and art collection, and visitors will learn all about the role and work of the Parliament and its 129 MSPs.

The tours include visits to the Debating Chamber, committee rooms, the garden lobby area and to historic Queensberry House.

The Parliament introduced free tours in English in September – the final step to making all aspects of visiting and engaging with the Parliament free to the public. Audio-visual tours are now available in a range of languages including Gaelic.

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.

"The inclusion of a BSL option as part of our free tours package should enable more people than ever before to experience the Parliament for themselves.”

The Parliament remains committed to also providing BSL/English interpreters or other communication support as and when necessary. If visitors require such a service for any visit to the Parliament including attendance at Chamber debates, Committee meetings, meetings with MSPs or staff and indeed tours then please contact Visitor Services in advance to make the necessary arrangement.

The languages now available for audio-visual tours are:

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • BSL
  • Cantonese
  • Gaelic
  • Mandarin
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Urdu
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Spanish.

Free visitor tours are available for the general visitor on non-business days and for Members’ guests on business days during Parliament terms. 

Tours operate regularly throughout each day, from 10am to 5pm on weekdays and 11am to 4.30pm on Saturdays, subject to availability, offering up to 48 tours each week.

The Parliament will use audio-visual guides from Acoustguide’s Opus Series which include state-of-the-art multimedia capabilities. The same guides are used at a range of major worldwide tourist attractions including the British Museum, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

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