10 amazing places in Edinburgh that you must visit during Doors Open Days 2019

MORE than 135 doors, that are normally closed to the public, will be flung open at the end of the month as the 30th Doors Open Day shines a spotlight on many of the Capital’s best kept secrets.With so many to choose from it’s easy to miss the little gems that can slip beneath the radar. Here Entertainment Editor Liam Rudden highlights his 10 Must See choices from this year’s programme.
Dr Gordon Findlater of  Edinburgh University's Medical School with masks and the skeleton of William Burke inside the Medical School's Museum.
Pic Neil HannaDr Gordon Findlater of  Edinburgh University's Medical School with masks and the skeleton of William Burke inside the Medical School's Museum.
Pic Neil Hanna
Dr Gordon Findlater of Edinburgh University's Medical School with masks and the skeleton of William Burke inside the Medical School's Museum. Pic Neil Hanna

603 (CITY OF EDINBURGH) SQUADRON, Royal Auxiliary Air Force. 25 Learmonth Terrace, 28-29 September 2019

THIS Victorian Mansion dating back to 1891 was once the property of whisky distiller Arthur Sanderson.

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Since 1925 it has been the Headquarters of the 603 Squadron.

The Barnton Quarry BunkerThe Barnton Quarry Bunker
The Barnton Quarry Bunker

Look out for interior designer William Scott Morton’s Grecian themed entrance hall, Renaissance Dining Room, Drawing Room inspired by Robert Adam and Louis XIII styled bedroom.

ANATOMICAL MUSEUM, University of Edinburgh, Doorway 3, Medical School, Teviot Place, 28 September, 10am-4pm

OPENED in 1884, this museum has one of the largest and best-preserved collections of anatomy in Scotland, including the skeleton of the serial killer William Burke.

BARNTON QUARRY ROTOR BUNKER, 35 Clermiston Road North, 28-29 September, 10am-4pm

Corstorphine Hill TowerCorstorphine Hill Tower
Corstorphine Hill Tower

DURING WWII, Barnton Quarry was the home of the local RAF Fighter Command.

From this building, Radar returns from German aircraft were triangulated and RAF fighter attacks were coordinated.

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After WWII, the site was developed into a Cold War Radar centre. Currently under restoration, the RAF operations room will be open to the public.

Booking essential via bq_dod.eventbrite.co.uk

Gardener's Cottage, West Princes Street GardensGardener's Cottage, West Princes Street Gardens
Gardener's Cottage, West Princes Street Gardens

CORSTORPHINE HILL TOWER, Clermiston Road, 28 September, 2pm-4pm, 29 September, 10am-12pm/2pm-4pm

THE Tower on the summit of Corstorphine Hill was built as a memorial to Sir Walter Scott in 1871.

Offering magnificent views of the City, the Pentland Hills, the Ochills, the Fife Coast and the Firth of Forth, it’s well worth the climb.

GARDENER’S COTTAGE, West Princes Street Gardens, 28-29 September, 10am-4pm

The Victorian ClassroomThe Victorian Classroom
The Victorian Classroom

IT has been the mysterious, magical fairy cottage in the imaginations of generations of Edinburgh kids, but in reality this Category C-listed cottage was designed by Architect Robert Morham in 1886.

Originally the Head Gardener’s house, the Cottage has now been restored into a distinctive Victorian cottage, complete with a spectacular dining room. For Doors Open Weekend you can take a behind the scenes tour but advance booking is essential via www.thequaichproject.org/whats-on

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OUT OF THE BLUE DRILL HALL, Dalmeny Street, 29 September, 10am-4pm

THE Drill Hall is being transformed into a multi-disciplinary arts centre

Built as a two storey classical military hall, it was used as a temporary mortuary after the Gretna rail disaster of 1915, ahead of the soldiers being laid to rest in Rosebank Cemetery.

RIDDLE’S COURT, Lawnmarket, 28 September, 10am-4pm, 29 September, 12pm-4pm

A picturesque A-listed merchant’s house, the 1590s building houses unique features including exquisite painted ceilings, authentic working fireplaces and panelled rooms all of which have been being painstakingly restored by skilled craftsmen.

THISTLE FOUNDATION CENTRE OF WELLBEING, 13 Queens Walk, 28 September, 11am-4pm

WALK around the award-winning Thistle Centre of Wellbeing estate, following the recently launched Archie’s Trail, which takes you on a trip through time from 1945 to the present.

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The trail, open to the public for the first time, reveals the history of this unique conservation-status site, Thistle’s connection to royalty, their illustrious Paralympians, connection with the Robin Chapel, and our approach to supporting people living with long term health conditions.


AN ARCHITECTURAL gem in the heart of Leith, this iconic Georgian building was originally opened in 1805 as the first Bank of Leith.

It is now a Buddhist Meditation Centre, which for Doors Open Weekend will host a brief tour after which there will be a talk in the main Shrine Room. People wishing to attend are respectfully requested to take off their shoes before entering the Shrine Room.

Entry times for the tours and talks are 2.30pm-3pm and 3.30pm-4pm.

VICTORIAN SCHOOLROOM, in the grounds of Leith Walk Primary, 9 Brunswick Road, 28-29 September, 11am-4pm

STEP back in time at the History of Education Centre, a fully functioning Victorian classroom with wooden desks, blackboards, finger-stocks, and the tawse.

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There is also a museum room full of Victoriana including a kitchen range and a variety of household items, most of which can be handled.

For Doors Open Weekend a 20 minute Victorian-style school lesson will be given at regular intervals throughout the day, teaching about the British Empire in Victorian times and how it impacted on school and home life.

Doors Open Day 2019 will run over the weekend of 28-29 September at 139 venues across the Capital. For full details of venues and activities visit www.doorsopendays.org.uk

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