Edinburgh Local

Doors Open Days 2023

Doors Open Days this year will take place on the 23rd - 24th September 2023.


The University of Edinburgh is integral to the intellectual, cultural, social and economic fabric of the city and the wider region. Our buildings play an important part in defining the character of our University and of Edinburgh. With more than 430 years of history and an estate which includes a mix of old, converted, listed and contemporary buildings, it is always an enjoyable challenge to present an interesting selection for our Doors Open Day visitors. We hope you will find a great deal to interest and enlighten you during Doors Open Day. Please remember that much of what you see is open throughout the year, whether through normal museum and gallery opening hours, organised tours, or through our extensive programme of part-time courses and public lectures.

The Central Area 

The University’s history as the Tounis College, established by the Town Council in 1583, and its central location in the city’s Old Town serve to underline the symbiotic relationship between Edinburgh and the University which endures to the present day.

Central Area map


St Cecilia’s Hall

50 Niddry Street (off the Royal Mile), EH1 1LG (Central Area map ref 1)

Open: Saturday 23 September, 10am–5pm (last entry 4.30pm)

Short tours or musical demonstrations on the hour between 10am and 4pm. Expert staff will be on hand in the galleries to answer questions.

Old College

South Bridge, EH8 9YL (Central Area map ref 3)

Open: Saturday 23 September, 11am–5pm and Sunday 24 September, 12 noon–5pm

Old College will be open for a self-guided tour that will include the Raeburn Room and the magnificent Playfair Library. The Playfair Library will host a variety of University staff and students who are keen to engage with visitors.


Bridge Your Mind walking tour

A Neuroscience Walking Tour: Discover the secrets of maintaining a sharp mind with this free neuroscience-themed walking tour around the University of Edinburgh!  

Starting at West College Street, outside the Playfair Library entrance, ending at the National Museum of Scotland

Saturday 23rd of September 12pm - 12:45pm and 3pm - 3:45pm.

Reserve your space

South College Street

13-15 South College Street, EH8 9AA (Central Area map ref 4)

Open: Sunday 24 September, 12 noon–4pm

Visitors will also be able to find out more about the Edinburgh Futures Institute’s plans for the former Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh site on Lauriston Place.

Doors Open Day 2023
Doors Open Day 2023

Talbot Rice Gallery

South College Street 13-15 South College Street, EH8 9AA (Central Area map ref 5)

Open: Saturday 23 September, 10am–4.30pm and Sunday 24 September, 10am–4.30pm

Visitors who would like to see the gallery spaces will be able to experience the current exhibitions – Jesse Jones The Tower, Lawrence Abu Hamdan 45th Parallel, Hephzibah Israel the nature of difference

Holyrood Campus and Moray House School of Education and Sport

41, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ – just off the Royal Mile (Holyrood Campus map, 56)

Open: Sunday 24 September, 11am – 4pm

Holyrood Campus is located in the heart of Edinburgh, just a short walk from the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace. It houses both the Centre for Open Learning and Moray House School of Education and Sport.

On the day, staff will run guided tours of Holyrood campus, highlighting the four historic stories of our beautiful buildings including Old Moray House and the Summer House. 

A variety of family drop-in activities and taster events, suitable for all ages, will be running on the day to highlight our short courses' offering. Languages available at the taster sessions include Arabic, British Sign Language (BSL), French, German, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish and Ukrainian.

Bayes Centre

47 Potterrow, EH8 9BT (Central Area map ref 7)

Open: Sunday 24 September, 10am–2pm

Building tours and an interactive touchscreen displaying information on the robotics lab based within the building.

McEwan Hall

Teviot Place, EH8 9AG (Central Area map ref 6)

Open: Saturday 23rd September  10am-5pm and Sunday 24th September  11am – 5pm. 

Appleton Tower

10 Crichton Street, EH8 9LE (Central Area map ref 8)

Open: Saturday 23 September, 11am–2pm

Guided tours including access to level 9 of Appleton Tower. Tickets for this event are available to book

Chapel of St Albert the Great

George Square Lane, EH8 9LD (Central Area map ref 9)

Open: Saturday 23 September, 1pm–5.30pm and Sunday 24 September, 1pm–5.30pm

The garden features the newly installed bronze statue, ‘St Dominic’, by Kenny Hunter, September 2023.

Centre for Open Learning

41 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8FF 

Open: Sunday 24 September, 11am - 4pm

After visitors have enjoyed a short tour of Holyrood Campus, a variety of family drop-in activities and taster events, suitable for all ages, will be running on the day. Our University of Edinburgh Teaching Fellows will present on the day to lead activities across a wide variety of topics including languages, humanities and social sciences.

30-minute tours will take place hourly at 11am, 12am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Language taster events will run on the day too. 

Abden House

1 Marchhall Crescent, EH16 5HP

Open: Sunday 24 September, 10am–3pm

The language and culture activities we offer on the day encourage people of all ages to learn more about the Institute, meet the institute teachers, learn some Chinese language and enjoy several cultural activities.


The King’s Buildings

Main pedestrian entrance: corner of West Mains Road/Mayfield Road, EH9 3JF 

Open: Saturday 23 September, 10am–4pm

Since its establishment in 1920, the King’s Buildings campus – housing most of the University’s College of Science and Engineering – has experienced vast transformation, evolving to meet research and teaching requirements throughout the past century. Find examples of architectural developments across the site and discover more through guided tours and information panels. Additionally, there is a variety of interactive activities through which the whole family can explore cutting-edge scientific research into natural history, acoustics, permaculture gardening, advanced transportation, higher dimensions, and much more. Explore our outdoor campus history exhibition, which uses unique aerial images to show the evolution of the campus over a century. Hour-long walking tours of campus history and architecture leave at 10.30am, 12 noon and 2pm from outside the Nucleus Building.


Ashworth Laboratories School of Biological Sciences

Charlotte Auerbach Road,EH9 3FL (The King’s Buildings)

Open: Saturday 23 September, 10am–4pm

The Labs will have exhibits, interactive displays and public talks about the range of cutting-edge research currently carried out across the School, as well as tours of the University’s Natural History collections.

The Nucleus Building

Thomas Bayes Road, EH9 3FG (The King’s Buildings)

Open: Saturday 23 September, 10am–4pm

Explore a range of hands-on exhibits and illusions for all the family, and eat at the Nucleus cafeteria. There will also be the FUSION Art-Science exhibition; Edinburgh Alumnae: a celebration; and Campus tours.

Murchison House: the Student Permaculture Garden

10 Max Born Crescent, EH9 3B (The King’s Buildings) 

Open: Saturday 23 September, 12 noon–4pm

From 12 noon to 4pm, meet the student team behind the design of a campus garden where the organisation of the social aspects are all inspired by the Permaculture principles, design methods that create sustainable environments. Please note that Murchison House itself is not open.

FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility School of Engineering

Max Born Crescent, EH9 3BF (The King’s Buildings)

Open: Saturday 23 September, 11am–2pm

See the unique research test tank in action, showing the ways in which it can recreate versions of complex ocean conditions, and discover how work here is at the forefront of clean energy research.

James Clerk Maxwell Building School of Physics and Astronomy and School of Mathematic 

Peter Guthrie Tait Road, EH9 3FD (The King’s Buildings)

Open: Saturday 23 September, 10am–4pm

For Doors Open Day, two groups currently working in this building will showcase their work:

School of Mathematics (Level 3): Investigate some mind-blowing optical illusions, and experience the extraordinary 3D zoetrope: watch solid shapes change and animate before your eyes.

School of Physics and Astronomy (Level 2, ground floor) Visitors will experience the dramatic difference between these two acoustical environments, and hear about how they have been used recently to study a variety of topics including the sound radiated by brass instruments and the absorption of sound by moss-covered paving.    

King's Buildings Map















Institute of Genetics and Cancer

Crewe Road South, EH4 2XU (Western General Hospital campus)

Open: Saturday 23 September, 11am–4pm

A full programme of building tours, talks, videos, lay posters and drop-in activities. Visitors may find themselves crawling inside a giant cell, targeting a lung with handmade gene therapies, diving into an immunology ball pool, and becoming ‘Big Data Detectives’. Our staff and students will provide insights into the lives of researchers and technicians at various stages of their careers.


Download the Doors Open Days 2023 Brochure (PDF)