Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival that celebrates heritage and the built environment. This annual event gives local residents and visitors of all ages the opportunity to visit historic, civic and interesting buildings that are not usually open or accessible to the public; all for free!
Doors Open Days takes place throughout Scotland in September and is co-ordinated nationally by The Scottish Civic Trust as part of European Heritage Days and Scottish Archaeology Month. For full details of this exciting nationwide festival, and to access the online programme, visit the dedicated Doors Open Days website.
“Get in to Buildings with Doors Open Days - it’s free and open to all!”
In Perth and Kinross, Doors Open Days is co-ordinated by Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust and funded by The Gannochy Trust. The Trust has been organising the festival in Perth and Kinross since 1996 and we estimate that our programmes have allowed over 90,000 people the opportunity to visit historic and civic gems across the region. The festival wouldn’t be possible without the enthusiastic and dedicated support of thousands of building owners, custodians, volunteers and staff who contribute their time and energy to opening venues to the public each year.
Doors Open Days in Perth and Kinross took place across two weekends divided by geographical area:
This year 35 years of the Doors Open Days festival was celebrated with a special arts and entertainment theme. 36 places, spaces and studios opened their doors and showcased creative connections to architecture as part of the programme. Perth and Kinross Doors Open Days worked in partnership with Perthshire Open Studios to bring a week-long double festival of free access to view artistic venues, artists’ studios and their work.
If you’re interested in getting into buildings and having a look around some of Perth and Kinross’s hidden gems then the best way is to pick up a copy of the programme brochure which is available from Libraries, Museums and Visit Scotland Information Centres from August each year. It can also be downloaded from this page or from the Doors Open Days website - full online venue listings for all of Scotland are available on this webpage.
“We love Doors Open Days, [it’s a] great opportunity to explore your own town and learn history” - visitor
If you're a building owner/operator and would like to take part in Doors Open Days, or you have a suggestion of somewhere you would like to see added to the programme, then please get in touch with Daniel, our Skills Training Officer, who coordinates Doors Open Days. You can also find out more about how to get involved on the Doors Open Days website.
“Wonderful experience and a joy to be a part of Doors Open Days” - venue operator
To celebrate the Scottish Year of Young People, the 2018 Doors Open Days programme in Perth and Kinross had a special ‘Back to School: past, present and future’ theme featuring Past Schools: buildings that have been put to new uses; Current Schools: buildings in operation as centres of learning; and Future Schools: buildings still under construction. It was split across the last three weekends in September, divided by geographical area. We first piloted this arrangement in 2017 to great success and were pleased to see it was equally well received by participants in 2018.
55 interesting venues participated, including guided walks that take in multiple buildings of interest. 9 venues opened their doors in the festival for the first time and several more returned after major refurbishment. In addition to the open door, most venues offered refreshments or activities such as tours, exhibitions, musical performances and storytelling, providing something of interest for all ages and tastes.
Over 4,300 visits were recorded at venues which ranged from A-listed buildings and spectacular castles to civic buildings, historic graveyards and construction sites. A welcome addition to the 2018 programme was Scotland's newest secondary school, Bertha Park High School currently under construction by Robertson Group on the outskirts of Perth. The dedicated Robertson's staff provided unique behind-the-scenes tours to over 100 people, many of whom were 1st cohort pupils due to start in August 2019 and their parents.
Our sincere thanks to all those who made Doors Open Days 2018 a successful and well attended event! In particular, thank you to the Gannochy Trust for their continued generous financial support and of the 250 volunteers who chalked up over 1,000 hours this year to make it all happen.