Doors Open Days

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 2021

This year is the year of Coasts & Waters and we have appealed to venues who suit this theme in particular.

Dive into getting out and about visiting new locations in September 2021 as we celebrate our spectacular coasts and waters. Water is the lifeblood of our green and pleasant country. It’s what makes the landscape so special and loved. It has shaped where we build, how we build and greatly influenced our transport & leisure routes for a very long time.

Whether you’re exploring the coast of the Tay, the banks of the Tummel, the Earn or serene Loch Leven, we hope you can enjoy the best of what our landscapes can offer and, to punctuate your days out, we have many places open for free for you to stop off and visit this year.

Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust have organised two special water related venues for you this year – the Lower City Mills itself in the centre of Perth and a walking tour following the path of the lade underground through the city centre. Find out more by following the booking links or within the brochure.

Download the Perth and Kinross Brochure

View Full Event Listings Online

Book a Lower City Mills Visit

Book a Lade Walk

Coronavirus Statement

Whilst we have made great strides against the Coronavirus pandemic over more than a year, caution is still to be advised and good social distancing and hand hygiene will need to be heeded at all venues that are physically welcoming visitors. Please respect the efforts that the venues are making to ensure things are as safe as possible for their volunteers, your visit and the concerns of other visitors.

Pre-booking for most visits is recommended although some venues are also welcoming visitors at the door. Some venues are also providing special online access which is the safest type of visit of all and is available world-wide or to those stuck at home. Many of these virtual visits are being created and launched especially for Doors Open Days this September and can be found by checking the National website:

Restrictions are always changing and we ask that you keep aware of any applicable safety measures put in place by Scottish Government guidance before setting off on your visit. Please note that these may change at short notice and venues may have to adapt to their organisation’s satisfaction to accommodate you.

Get involved in Doors Open Days

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. 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

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

Doors Open Days: A look back at the 2020 Programme

During a lull in the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, we ran a much-reduced Doors Open Days programme in Perth and Kinross across the weekend of 19-20 September 2020.

We sadly had to postpone our tours of the Lower City Mills and Perth Lade, however, other buildings successfully opened for physical tours with appropriate safety measures in place including the Perth Railway Boxing Club – the City’s oldest amateur boxing club, Innerpeffray Library – Scotland’s first lending library, and the Quarto Press in Coupar Angus with its unique collection of working antique printing presses.

There was an increase in digital doors opening, in line with the rest of the National Doors Open Days programme, with online tours, talks and resources giving access to buildings that are either rarely open to the public or have prepared something special for the occasion. The newly opened Perth Creative Exchange provided digital tours of the artist’s studios as did venues operated by Culture Perth and Kinross that that have been open for physical tours in previous years.

Visitor analysis showed an increase by 8% of 18-25 year olds across Scotland and by 19% of 55-64 year olds. This may indicate the power of digital content to attract a new, younger audience and enable a wider geographical reach.

Our sincere thanks to all those who made special efforts to make Doors Open Days 2020 a successful event against the difficult circumstances! In particular, thank you to the Gannochy Trust for their continued generous financial support and the volunteers at venues and behind computers all over Perth & Kinross who made it happen.

Doors Open Days: In Pictures

COVID-19 Operations Statement

Trust staff are largely home-working until further notice. Please note contractors/deliveries requiring access to Lower City Mills should arrange with a member of staff. We continue to deliver many of our projects and services, however, some work has been postponed or redesigned. Please ensure all enquiries are directed to staff via email as monitoring of office telephones, and mail, is reduced.

General enquiries can still be made using the Contact Us page.