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Doors Open Days

An annual nation-wide festival which offers free access to over a thousand venues across Scotland,

Abbey Strand at Palace of Holyrood House
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23rd September 2023 - 24th September 2023
Free to attend

Doors Open Days returns with a fantastic programme of free online and in-person events which celebrates Scotland’s heritage and its built environment.

An annual nation-wide festival which offers free access to over a thousand venues across Scotland, the festival aims to ensure that the country’s spaces and stories, both new and old, are made accessible to everyone to discover and enjoy.

Edinburgh’s programme takes place from 24 to 25 September. Whether you want to peek inside an 18th century farm steading, visit the oldest custom house in Scotland, explore a printmaking studio or take a tour of a working courtroom, this is a great way to see inside many of the city’s fascinating buildings, many of which are not normally open to the public.

2021 saw Doors Open Days’ first ever hybrid festival. Building on the success of this, the 2023 festival will have a variety of both online and in-person events, all of which are free to attend.

The Edinburgh 2023 programme includes the following venues:

  • Abbey Strand Centre, Holyrood. Discover more about the colourful past of this 500 year old building at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which has had a variety of uses, including a 16th a weapons store and a sanctuary for debtors in the 19th century.
  • University of Edinburgh: The Bayes Centre. A place of innovation and technological advancement, the Bayes Centre is the University of Edinburgh’s Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. Guided tours of this modern building will run on 24 September.
  • Central Library. Since opening in 1890, this expansive library has been providing a valuable service to Edinburgh residents and visitors. Tours will take place showing areas which are normally closed to the public.
  • Edinburgh Chess Club. Founded in 1822, Edinburgh Chess Club is the UK’s oldest chess club. Come along on either of the two days and see chess sets, clocks, trophies and the club’s historic library and archives.
  • National Galleries of Scotland, Granton Art Centre. Wall to wall with paintings, see where some of the National Galleries of Scotland’s magnificent collection is stored when it’s not on public display.
  • Summerhall. Once the University of Edinburgh’s Veterinary College, Summerhall is now a creative arts venue. Tours highlighting this magnificent building’s spaces, from the dissection room to the anatomy lecture theatre, take place both days.
  • Collective – City Observatory. Now home to Collective, a contemporary art organisation, take a tour of the City Observatory with its two antique telescopes and discover more about the birthplace of astronomy and timekeeping in Edinburgh.
  • Panmure House. Not normally available for public viewing, this is a rare opportunity to see the Edinburgh home of Adam Smith, the Scottish economist and philosopher who was a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment. Visitors will be able to see the room where Smith completed The Wealth of Nations and view a selection of his personal items.

The full programme is available now on Doors Open Days website.