On 24 and 25 September visitors are invited to some of the most interesting buildings in the city which are usually behind closed doors.
This will be the 32nd year of Doors Open Days which is a festival offering free access to sites and events all over the country.
All events are free and there are both online and in person activities during the weekend, but be warned – some of these are only open on Saturday and others are open throughout the weekend.
Last year more than 184,000 visitors came to Scotland virtually to explore the buildings included in the festival.
The full programme is now live on the Doors Open Days website here and of course remember that there are buildings elsewhere in Scotland which are also opening their doors.
Here is our top ten:
Abbeyhill Baptist Church 22 Elgin Terrace EH7 5PB – just off Easter Road.
Open on 25 September 2021 from 10am to 4pm.
The building has a flat roof, and this became the drying green for the flats within the tenement. The first service in the building was held on Sunday 30th November 1902. In 1934 the church purchased the adjoining Brunswick Road Dance Halls which made up the ground floor of the tenement block. Abbeyhill Baptist Church has been part of the local Abbeyhill community since 1895 not only providing a vibrant place of worship on Sundays but also has historically been meeting some of the needs of the local community by providing social activities e.g., hosting the Bethany Night Shelter, running lunch clubs, Parent & Toddlers groups, Art Club, Keep Fit Group, Foster Carers Groups and an After-School Club.
Custom House Leith 65-67 Commercial Street EH6 6LH
Open on 25 September 2021 from 10am to 4pm
This is an important A-listed building in Leith and you can get there on a number 22 bus which must be one of the most frequent services in town. It is now a creative hub helped along the way by Scottish Historic Buildings Trust which is the charity seeking pop up uses for the oldest custom house in Scotland. Leith Market takes place on Saturdays and there are plenty of places for coffee and snacks close by.
Deaf Action 49 Albany Street EH1 3QY
Opens on 25 and 26 September 2021 from 10am to 4pm.
Deaf Action HQ is a New Town building to the front, dating from around 1818, but it is the chapel at the back which is really interesting. There will be several artworks by Deaf Artists on display there, and there is a newly renovated garden to the rear where visitors can enjoy a cup of tea.
Astoria Centre 18 Kirk Loan Edinburgh EH12 7HD
Open on 26 September 2021 from noon to 4pm.
The home of the Astoria organ – one of the smallest ever installed in a cinema – will be open to allow visitors the opportunity of hearing the organ played live between noon and 4pm.
Dean Gardens 2 Clarendon Crescent EH4 1PT
Open on 26 September 2021 from 9am to 5pm
Take your own breakfast and begin the day early in the peace and quiet of the seven acres of Dean Garden. This is one of the four pleasure grounds on the bank of the Water of Leith and is usually closed to the public. There will be live music played during the day and artwork for sale.
There is a well-equipped children’s play area. Refreshments from noon to 4pm.
Liberton Kirk 28-30 Kirkgate EH16 6RY
Open on 25 September 2021 from 10am to 4pm and 26 September 2021 from 2pm to 4pm
This should be the perfect time to visit Liberton Kirk to see its fabulous ivy covered walls which might just have turned red by the weekend. On Doors Open Days visitors can also see inside the semi-Gothic building designed by James Gillespie Graham. Live organ music will be played throughout the weekend.
Newhailes House and Gardens Newhailes Road Musselburgh EH21 6RY
Open on 25 and 26 September 2021 from 10am to 4pm
This large house lies just off the Brunstane Path and is easily accessed by foot or on a bike. The house is now in the care of The National Trust for Scotland since 1997 and while it is open for conferences the public are not usually able to see inside. The Newhailes Stables are recently refurbished and offer lovely shops and a great place to stop for a coffee in the courtyard afterwards.
South Queensferry Cemetery EH30 9PA
Open to the public on 26 September 2021 from 11am.
There will be local historians and Commonwealth War Graves Commission staff on hand to tell the stories of those buried in the cemetery.
The Physic Garden at Abbey Strand EH8 8DX
This garden is actually open to the public anyway, but few know about it, so the garden will be open on both days. Take a short walk with talks hourly from 11am until the last at 3pm. This garden was designed along with input from HRH Prince Charles and is quite beautiful.
St Michael and All Saints Church 28 Brougham Street EH3 9JH
Open on 25 September 2021 from 10am to 4pm and on 26 September from noon to 4pm
This A listed church was designed by architect Sir Robert Rowan Anderson and built in 1867. There are examples of stained glass by William Wailes, Clayton Bell and Ninian Comper. Music at lunchtime.
The full programme is now live on the Doors Open Days website here.