10 things you shouldn't miss at Edinburgh Doors Open Day 2018

Dozens of Edinburgh venues are opening up on the last weekend in September for the annual Doors Open Day events - and it's all free.

Thursday, 13th September 2018, 3:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th September 2018, 3:30 pm
The Anatomical Museum holds the skeleton of infamous Edinburgh serial killer, William Burke (Photo: Contributed)
The Anatomical Museum holds the skeleton of infamous Edinburgh serial killer, William Burke (Photo: Contributed)

The event, now in its 28th year, gives people a chance to go 'through the keyhole' as it opens the doors to a number of properties that are either not usually open to the public or would normally charge an entry fee.

So what’s worth seeing? Plenty - and here are 10 of the best.


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27 Restalrig Road South, Saturday 29 September, 11am-6pm and Sunday 30 September, 1pm-3pm

According to legend, St Triduana settled here by a holy well in the fifth century, attracting pilgrims with eye problems.

Thanks to the patronage of James III, IV and V, St Triduana’s Chapel was built on the site of the well. In 1560, at the Reformation, the large adjacent religious foundation was razed to the ground and it was thought the chapel, too, had been destroyed.

Remarkably, gardeners digging in the churchyard in 1907 unearthed the lower storey of the chapel still intact.


History of Education Centre, 9 Brunswick Road, Saturday 29 September, 11am-4pm and Sunday 30 September, 11am-4pm

It's back to school time. Enjoy a Victorian-style lesson in the fully functioning Victorian classroom with wooden desks, blackboards, finger-stocks and the tawse. Lessons will be held regularly and will last around 20 minutes.


Doorway 3, Old Medical School, Teviot Place, Saturday 29 September, 10am-4pm

This fascinating museum has one of the largest and best-preserved collections of anatomy in Scotland - not to mention the skeleton of the infamous Edinburgh serial killer, William Burke.

Designed by Robert Rowand Anderson as a mix of Scottish architecture with ‘Cinquecento’ Italian style, the museum opened in 1884 as ‘an ornament to the city’.


50 Niddry Street, Saturday 29 September, 10am-5pm and Sunday 30 September, 12pm-5pm

Established in 1763, St Cecilia's Hall is the oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland and home to one of the most important historic musical instrument collections anywhere in the world.

There will be musical performances, guided tours, and demonstrations of musical instruments from local young musicians throughout the day.


7 Charlotte Square, Sunday 30 September, 10am-4pm

The Georgian House, a grand New Town house in Charlotte Square, was designed by celebrated classical architect Robert Adam in 1790. Three floors have been authentically restored and furnished to reflect the luxurious lifestyle of the first owners, the Lamont family, who moved in in 1796.

Don't miss the fabulous kitchen and servant’s room in the basement.


Northfield Broadway, Sunday 30 September, 10am-5pm

Attention, Doctor Who fans. This Edinburgh police box, commissioned in May 1933, is one of around 100 produced to the 1929 design by Ebenezer James Mac Rae, which was styled to fit in with the city’s architecture.

The police box will be dressed with 1930s and 1940s props to illustrate how it was used in days gone by.


41 Cowgate, Saturday 29 September, 10am-4pm

Built in 1541, the Chapel exists as the last Roman Catholic chapel in Edinburgh before the Reformation, where it may have hosted the first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1560.

Inside you'll find the only pre-Reformation stained glass in Scotland in its original location, along with 17th century interior including inscribed wooden panels and a mortuary table associated with the Covenanters.


Entrances in Ann Street and Eton Terrace, Sunday 30 September, 2pm-5pm

The Dean Gardens are the second-biggest private amenity gardens in Edinburgh encompassing over seven acres, featuring a series of planted slopes and level lawn areas with many delightful viewpoints over the Dean Valley.

The lay-out of pathways, lawns and the wooden pavilion are virtually unchanged from the original Victorian-era plans.


Water of Leith, Sunday 30 September, 11am-4pm

This little gem was restored in 2013, as the last in the city’s ‘Twelve Monuments’ programme.

Some features, such as the regilded pineapple finial atop the roof, have been returned to their original state. Roof timbers have been replaced and the mosaics and the pump have been cleaned.


George Street Lane, Saturday 29 September, 2pm-6pm and Sunday 30 September, 2pm-5pm

Built in 2012, the Chapel has won several awards and is now in several guidebooks to the city.

Katrina Burton’s new site-specific composition, Chapel’s Entry, informed by the chapel’s architectural design, will be performed at regular intervals between 2pm and 5pm on Saturday 29.

Also, collect a limited edition digitally printed badge, created by Samantha Vettese.