Edinburgh to be turned into giant advent calendar

Edinburgh's Christmas - 24 Doors of Advent. Pic: comp
Edinburgh's Christmas - 24 Doors of Advent. Pic: comp
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the Capital is to be transformed into a giant advent calendar for the first time this year as part of a festive Doors Open event.

Each day a door to a different place normally locked to the public will be thrown open to reveal a hidden heritage gem.

Visitors will be granted rare free access to museums, private houses and churches across the city.

The event, which runs from Monday until Christmas Eve, has been organised by Edinburgh’s Christmas and the Cockburn Association.

Marion Williams, director of the Cockburn Association, said the organisation has been “inundated” with calls from people wanting to find out more about the 24 Doors of Advent.

She added: “Some people don’t like to see Edinburgh turned into a funfair at Christmas. This is something for people who perhaps don’t want to do the noisy stuff. Each day people will be able to open a door as you would in an advent calendar.

“Edinburgh Doors Open Day is a well known and loved celebration of the city’s architecture, its places and spaces... now those who live, work and visit the city at this time of year will be able to enjoy one gem a day for the whole of Advent.”

Some of the venues taking part include iconic landmarks such as St Giles’ Cathedral and the Assembly Rooms as well as more obscure venues including Dalmeny Kirk, which will open on Christmas Eve. The Norman church features a carving of a ship on one of the pews, and a stained glass window of a Polish soldier.

Charlie Wood, director of Underbelly, said the event presented a “unique opportunity” for people to peek behind doors that are usually locked.

The underground tunnels and chambers of Gilmerton Cove will open on December 12.

Popular theories are that it was used as a drinking den, a refuge for Covenanters and a smugglers’ lair but research has failed to resolve the mystery.

Also featured in the programme will be The Writers’ Museum where visitors can see a plaster cast of Robert Burns’ skull, and an engraved ring given to Robert Louis Stevenson by a Samoan chief.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com