Festivals, Cultural and City Events

Come On In, The Doors Are Open

Doors Open Days, Scotland’s largest free festival, celebrates heritage and the built environment. Every September, thousands of buildings are opened up to the public for an exclusive peek inside. The festival aims to ensure that Scotland’s built heritage – so important to Scottish identity and its conservation - is made accessible to people living and visiting the country, with over 6300 volunteers giving their time to run tours and activities and steward sites in 2018.

Doors Open Days

Edinburgh Doors Open Days takes place on the weekend of the 28th and 29th of September, with an additional lecture series in the week leading up to it. Completely free to visitors, an extensive list of new and old builds throw open their doors for the inquisitive to explore and the University is no exception to this. With a stunning combination of state of the art new builds, shiny renovations and old architectural gems imperative to Edinburgh’s skyline, the University campus is lucky to boast such an impressive array of interesting buildings.

Among those available to visit is the recently renovated and controversially imposing Appleton Tower. With a new entrance and enhanced facilities, the building is predominantly used for teaching. You will be able to visit the Level 9 study suite on the top of the building – as is well known, Appleton is often visible from many points around the city and boasts amazing vistas in response. Across the road, the Bayes Centre – newly opened in October 2018 and costing £45 million to build –will offer roof terrace tours and an exhibition room to explain the work being done at the centre.

For a more historical adventure, venues such as St Cecilia’s Hall are worth a visit. Scotland’s oldest concert hall, home to the University’s own collection of musical instruments, spans five centuries of musical heritage and history. Across the weekend, you can pop in to catch the hourly short musical performances in the Concert Room and Laigh Hall. Whilst you are in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic centre, you can also fit in a visit to New College. Situated on the Mound and proudly presiding over Princes Street gardens, New College’s Rainy Hall, Martin Hall and the beautiful library are open for viewing as well as the newly refurbished Social Bite café.

Coordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust, Doors Open Days is part of European Heritage Days alongside Scottish Archaeology Month and supported by Archaeology Scotland. Both are supported by Historic Environment Scotland. The University of Edinburgh is very proud to be involved with an event that promises to bring together people from all walks of life in celebration of the fascinating architecture that surrounds us and the stories that they tell.

The full list of University buildings open to the public across the weekend:

  • Abden House, The Confucius Institute – 28th September
  • Anatomical Museum - 28th September
  • Appleton Tower: School of Informatics - 28th September
  • Bayes Centre, 29th September
  • Chapel of St Albert the Great  - 28th and 29th September
  • Edinburgh Law School, Old College - 28th September
  • Informatics Forum - 29th September
  • King’s Buildings - 28th September
  • Old College, University of Edinburgh - 28th and 29th September
  • St Cecilia’s Hall - 28th and 29th September
  • Talbot Rice Gallery - 28th and 29th September
  • Teviot Row House - 29th September
  • Main Library - 28th and 29th September
  • McEwan Hall - 29th September
  • New College’s Rainy Hall, Martin Hall, Library - 29th September
For more information and the entire list of buildings in and around Edinburgh, you can explore the Doors Open Days website or download their programme of events. Booking for this year’s open days is already available, so start planning your weekend now.