Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Doors Open Days

September 2016

New Lanark Visitor Centre
VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

Ever wondered what goes on behind the closed door of an interesting building? Now is your chance to go behind-the-scenes of some of the most intriguing buildings in Scotland. In the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016, the annual Doors Open Days gives you the access to some of the finest architectural gems in Scotland which are ordinarily closed to the public.

Organised by the Scottish Civic Trust, this month-long festival sees hundreds of museums, historic landmarks, and other noteworthy buildings open their doors on Saturdays and Sundays throughout September. There is also a choice of expert tours, guided walks, exhibitions and other activities, all completely free.

To avoid disappoint, advance booking is recommended for many of the guided tours.

3 – 4 September

  • Auchinleck House, East Ayrshire, is a restored mansion house dating back to the 13th century, with ruins of a castle and the Old House still standing within the estate.
  • Dundonald Castle, South Ayshire is a grand 14th century fortified tower house which boasts many fascinating features which include the upper hall and a gloomy prison. It was built for Robert II, founder of the Stewart Dynasty.
  • The majestic House of Dun overlooks the Montrose Basin and was built by the Erskine family. A jewel in the crown of the National Trust’s properties, this is a rare chance to get inside.
  • The University of St Andrews is Scotland’s first university and comprises several impressive academic buildings including the Parliament Hall, Senate Room and the King James Library.
  • Paisley Abbey astounds with its ornate interior which features beautiful stained glass windows and intricate stonework.

10 – 11 September

  • The restored village of New Lanark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which stands testament to the cotton mill village which existed here in the 18th century.
  • Wemyss Bay Station in Inverclyde was designed by James Miller in 1903 for the Caledonian Railway. This weekend it will showcase an exhibition of photographs, drawings and archival material relating to the construction and history of the station.
  • The Waterfront Cinema at Greenock is a local, independent cinema where you can catch all the latest films. Take a peek at the projection room.

17 -18 September

  • Take a tour of the Glasgow’s Citizen’s Theatre and hear the history of its Gorbals home.
  • Step back in time at the Auld Post Office Museum in Turriff which will have thousands of age-old artefacts, photos, furniture and books.
  • Pretend to be a lady or gentleman of leisure at Bowhill House in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, an A-listed building and one of the splendid residences of the 10th Duke of Buccleuch.

Ferguson Gallery, Marshall Place Perth
VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved


24 – 25 September

  • Discover Leith’s seafaring heritage at the Custom House, an impressive building once used to oversee the payment of duty for importing and exporting goods through the Port of Leith.
  • Edinburgh Printmakers on Union Street was originally a washhouse for the local community. It’s now one of the city’s busiest print studios.
  • Fortingall, Perthshire, is famed for its ancient Yew Tree, which has stood in the Forkingall Kirkyard for centuries. There is a walking tour starting from here on Sunday 25.
  • The Fergusson Gallery in Perth is dedicated to the artwork of JD Morris and his lifelong partner Margaret Morris. Join a special tour of the art store.
  • The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse is located at what is considered Scotland’s most southerly point. Climb up the 115 steps to the light room at the top.

This is just a small selection of the remarkable places opening their doors across Scotland, with events taking place during the whole month of September. Please always check the Doors Open Days website for further details and always check dates before you visit. 

Take a look at the VisitScotland blog for news and travel inspiration and join our brand-new Scotland’s Community. It’s brilliant online forum where members can share their stories and ask advice about visiting and exploring Scotland. We can’t wait to see you there.

For more articles on Scotland click here


Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

Back to Laterlife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site


Advertise on