Doors Open Days - Edinburgh

Scotland's annual Doors Open Days festival gives you free access to lots of fascinating buildings across Edinburgh! This year's event will be held on September 25th & 26th!

Doors Open Days - Edinburgh

About Doors Open Days - Edinburgh

25th Sep 2021 to 26th Sep 2021
Various times and dates - see listing for details
Various Locations Edinburgh
See event website for details
Event organiser/part of Doors Open Days
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Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival that celebrates heritage and the built environment. It offers free access to over a thousand venues across the country throughout September, every year.

Information about the national programme, including event listings, can be found at www.doorsopendays.org.uk.

2021 Programme:

Abbey Strand and Physic Garden, Palace of Holyroodhouse
25 & 26 September
Standing just outside of the gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in the city of Edinburgh, Abbey Strand has been witness to more than five centuries of Scottish history, with many people passing through its doors, from royal courtiers to debtors seeking sanctuary- it is a building with many stories to tell, and today is a Learning Centre where school groups, families and adults can engage with the Palace and the Royal Collection.

Abbeyhill Baptist Church
25 September
One hundred and twenty-five years ago, a shop at 24 Easter Road in Edinburgh was the unlikely setting on the 29th November 1895 for a group of friends who met to constitute a new Baptist Church. They met in various building between then and 1902 when they moved for the last time into their own premises which are still in use today.

Amisfield Walled Garden
25 & 26 September
Amisfield Walled Garden dates from 1783 and forms part of the policies of Amisfield House, a Palladian mansion that was demolished in the 1920’s. The garden is 8 acres in size and the ornamental pavilions in each corner and derelict bothies outside the walls are A-listed for their historical importance.

Astoria Centre
26 September
The 2/4 Ingram had two Manuals (keyboards) and four Ranks (voices or sets of pipes). The organ was one of the smallest ever installed in a cinema – media reports of the time consistently refer to it as ‘the little Ingram’ – but it packed a punch. Now the only surviving example from this manufacturer, the Astoria organ, was considered their best example and has been described by the British Institute of Organ Studies as “a gem of an organ with a quality of sound that belied its small size.”

Augustine United Church
25-26 September 2021
Augustine is a diverse, progressive Christian congregation of the United Reformed Church, with a rich history of global connections. Our four-storey building rises up from the Cowgate towards an elaborate tower that earned the church the nickname of “the bridecake” when it was opened in 1861.

Bridgend Farmhouse
26 September 2021
Bridgend Farmhouse is a typical 18th century farm building and was a working farm until the 1970s. Over the last five years it's been restored and is now a community centre. It was one of the first "urban asset transfers" in which the City Council passed ownership of the land and buildings to the local community. It's now owned by 400 local shareholders.

Central Library
25 September 2021
Edinburgh Central Library is a beautiful Victorian building, designed by the 19th century Scottish architect, George Washington Browne, in French Renaissance style. Endowed by Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1890 it was built on the site of the mansion of Sir Thomas Hope, King's Advocate to Charles I, and incorporates features from the 17th century building. It's amongst the best late 19th century Carnegie libraries in Scotland. Although changes and additions have been made to the building over the years, it features some of the wonderful Victorian spaces which are still used for their original purpose including a beautiful Reference Library.

Corstorphine Hill Tower
25 & 26 September
The Tower is a famous viewpoint on the summit of the Hill. It was built 150 years ago as a memorial to Sir Walter Scott. The top of the tower is at about 200m above sea level and commands magnificent views in all directions, to the Pentlands, the upper Forth, Fife and the Firth, and the City Centre and East Lothian.

Custom House Leith
25 & 26 September
Custom House, one of Leith's most distinctive Georgian buildings, is now a buzzing creative hub and hireable event space in the heart of The Shore. It is the oldest custom house in Scotland, now an A-listed Georgian Building. Custom House was designed by Robert Reid in a neo-classical style constructed between 1810-12 with alterations by William Burns in 1825.

Dean Gardens
26 September
The Dean Gardens is the largest of the four 'pleasure grounds' to border the Water of Leith. They are the second-biggest private amenity gardens in Edinburgh encompassing over seven acres, featuring a series of planted slopes and level lawn areas with many delightful viewpoints over the Dean Valley. The lay-out of pathways, lawns and the wooden pavilion are virtually unchanged from the original Victorian era plans but the tennis court has been replaced with a well-equipped children's play-area.

Dower House
25 September
The Dower House is one of the oldest inhabited buildings in the City of Edinburgh. Its origins can be traced back to 1587. It was in the ownership of James Ingles and J P Wood in his “Draft History of Corstorphine Parish” (written in 1792) mentions the stones being removed from the old castle site to build “Mr Michelson’s house that was the residence of the Lord Forresters”. It is sometimes referred to as Gibsone’s Lodge after its late 18th century occupants, the Gibsones of Pentland.

Edinburgh Open Workshop
25 September
Edinburgh Open Workshop – an Open Access Makerspace in the heart of Leith. We are a co-working facility built on a pay-as-you-go model – offering membership-based access to a fully equipped wood, metal, paint, and textiles workshop, with long term resident maker space, art studios, and a creative learning program of classes and workshops to help you gain the confidence to ‘Make it Yourself’.

Edinburgh Printmakers
25 & 26 September
Edinburgh Printmakers is a centre for printmaking and the visual arts, featuring a large light-filled printmaking studio, digital studio, darkroom, classrooms, two exhibition spaces, a shop selling original prints and handmade products, a café, a courtyard and community garden. We are located in Castle Mills, a beautiful heritage building in Fountainbridge that was once a rubber factory and a brewery complex. Home to one of the largest printmaking studios in Europe, we are open to anyone who would like to join a course or become a member.

Greyfriars Kirk
25 & 26 September
Grade A listed, Greyfriars Kirk plays an important part in Scottish history. In 1638, the National Covenant was presented and signed in the Kirk. In the mid-19th century the then minister led a movement to change the style of worship by introducing the first post-Reformation stained glass windows and one of the first organs into a Presbyterian church in Scotland. Between 1929 and 1938, the historic church building was extensively restored and the interior dividing wall between the two former separate sanctuaries was removed. The Peter Collins organ was installed in 1990.

Institut Francais D'Ecosse
25-26 September 2021
The building that you can see today on the West side of Parliament Square bears little resemblance to the original seat of Midlothian County, erected on the same site, between 1816 and 1819, by architect Archibald Elliott. In 2017, after having been occupied by the County for almost two centuries, the Chambers became the new seat of the Consulate General of France in Edinburgh and of the French Institute in Scotland.

King's Buildings
25-26 September 2021
Discover the main science and engineering campus of The University of Edinburgh both online and in-person. As part of our KB101 celebrations, you can visit the campus for yourself and view our exhibition of aerial photographs that highlight how The King’s Buildings has developed over the past 100 years.

Liberton Kirk
25 & 26 September
Liberton Kirk is situated in the south of Edinburgh overlooking the city and is home to a lively Church of Scotland congregation. The Kirk Centre and café play a large part in our connections with the local community. The kirk is a semi-Gothic building designed by James Gillespie Graham. It was erected in 1815 to replace an older building on the site. We know from the Great Charter of Holyrood signed in 1143 that a chapel at Liberton was granted by King David I to the Abbey of Holyrood. Two Celtic crosses found in the area indicate a Christian establishment of some sort existed here even earlier.

Museum on the Mound
25 September
Doors to nowhere, secret hidey-holes, and a room where money used to go up in smoke! Have you ever wondered what used to happen within Bank of Scotland’s Head Office?

National Library of Scotland
26 September 2021
The National Library of Scotland is Scotland’s largest library and is one of the UK’s only Legal Deposit Libraries. It invites you to take this opportunity to learn more about the collections and the history of its impressive building on George IV Bridge.

National Museum of Scotland
25 & 26 September
The National Museum of Scotland is housed in magnificent buildings. The Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art - as it was originally called - was at the forefront of engineering and design when it opened on 19th May 1866. In 1998, the new Museum of Scotland building opened. Its design incorporates many references to Scotland's history and landscapes.

Newhailes House and Gardens
25 & 26 September
Newhailes is a beautiful 18th century villa in the outskirts of Edinburgh. It was the home of the Dalrymple family for more than 300 years, and has been in the care of the National Trust for Scotland since 1997. The house and the wider estate tell the fascinating story of 300 years of history, touching upon the minutiae of family life as well as major international events. The Newhailes Stables have recently undergone a major regeneration project; converting the old dairy into an amazing new takeaway coffee and ice cream shop, and the stables into a brand new cafe and a beautiful admissions space!

Observatory House, Collective
25 & 26 September
Observatory House occupies a unique position high on Calton Hill and has a fascinating history. The oldest part of the House is the last remnant of the very first observatory planned for Edinburgh in the 1770s. Successive generations added to the house, including a major extension and re-styling in the 1880s led by Astronomer Royal Charles Piazzi Smythe.

Out of the Blue Drill Hall
25 September 2021
Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust’s mission is to provide affordable and appropriate spaces, resources, projects and opportunities for the residents of Edinburgh to be creative in multiple locations.

Portobello Baptist Church
25-26 September 2021
Portobello Baptist Church bought its present three story building in 1920 having rented it for a year beforehand. The building was designed by David Bryce as the first of three buildings used as Portobello Town Hall. It was built in 1863 on the site of the first dwelling in the now Portobello area. “Poerto Bello house” was built in 1747 on the “Figate Whins”.

Quaker Meeting House
25 September 2021
Edinburgh's Quaker Meeting House was built as the Original Secession Church in 1865, part of the Victoria Street development. It has been in Quaker hands since 1989. It stands at the foot of Upper Bow, on Victoria Terrace, enjoying views of Victoria Street and across the city towards the Pentland Hills. The exterior is a fine example of Italian Revival style, and the Meeting House is well-used by local Quakers, the wider community and as a Fringe venue.

Seafield Treatment Centre - Veolia
25 & 26 September
How has Edinburgh’s waste been treated in the past? How is it treated today? From sewage being tossed onto the streets, to the Gardyloo ship, to today’s modern treatment methods including how green energy is generated in the process.

South Queensferry Cemetery
26 September
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission looks after the graves of more than 21.000 men and women who died in the First or Second World War in Scotland alone, with 1.7m worldwide. South Queensferry Cemetery contains mostly naval graves, and there are fascinating stories attached to many of them.

St Columba's by the Castle
25 & 26 September
St Columba's is a refurbished, hidden gem, featuring a mural of "Christ in Glory" by wildlife artist John Busby RSA. Now also home to a stunning, permanent exhibition - "Immrama" - about the life Columba. Immrama were ancient voyage tales; allegories of our journey through life. The exhibition uses stories, contemporary art works and reflective questions to explore themes of enduring relevance.

St Margaret's Catholic Church
25 September
St Margaret’s Catholic Church has held a prominent position in South Queensferry for the past 135 years with the present church having been built in the 1930s to replace a Victorian corrugated iron structure. The church serves the local communities of Queensferry, Dalmeny and Kirkliston and in the past has provided spiritual and pastoral care for transient and itinerant workers as well as the local population. It has welcomed shale workers, those building the Forth Bridges, navy personnel during times of both war and peace and, in more recent years, international guests from the cruise ships.

St Michael and All Saints Church
25-26 September 2021
St Michael and All Saints Church is a Grade A listed building designed by the Edinburgh Architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson and built in 1867. The Church boasts fine altar pieces by William Burges (1867) and C E Kemp (1889) and excellent stained glass by William Wailes, Clayton Bell & Ninian Comper.

William Purves Funeral Director
25 & 26 September
A 21st century funeral home opens the doors of it’s Victorian villa “Oakvale” in the heart of Edinburgh. Heritage enthusiasts can see Oakvale in it’s modern splendour. Built in the 1840’s, it was originally intended to be a cathedral surrounded by expansive green space. Since then, the building has been used as a private residence, then a convent and junior school. In 1995 Oakvale settled as a modern funeral home; head office of William Purves, Scotland’s largest group of independent funeral directors.

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