What The Dickins: A Tale Of Edinburgh City

Doors Open Days 2021 – 8 Edinburgh Locations You Must Visit

Doors Open Days

It’s that time of the year again, and we are so pleased the 2021 Doors Open Days will be going ahead! Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free annual architectural event, offering access to venues across the country. Doors are reopening in Edinburgh over the weekend of 24 and 25 September this year. They currently have hundreds of buildings listed, with more expected to come. We’ve highlighted a few of the buildings and spaces you should visit in Edinburgh this year.

1. Abbey Strand and Physic Garden, Palace of Holyroodhouse

Where: Palace of Holyroodhouse 

Photo: @our_danders

A building with many stories to tell.. Abbey Strand has been around for more than five centuries, standing just outside the gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Today it is a learning centre, where families and school groups can engage with the Royal Collection. Just behind the Abbey Strand building you can discover the newly opened public space, the Physic Garden.

The garden consists of three distinct areas, each representing a phase in the Palace’s 900 year history. Doors Open Days will be hosting a short talk exploring the historic roots of the Physic Garden at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, together with a brief history exploring just some of the many lives of the fascinating Abbey Strand building. Talks will be held in the Physic Garden at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, with a limited capacity for each talk.

2. Dean Gardens

Where: 2 Clarendon Crescent 

Doors Open Days

the largest of the four ‘pleasure grounds’ to border the Water of Leith is Dean Gardens. They 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. Enjoy the unchanged since the 17th century, walk the pathways, lawns and take in the wooden pavilion and children’s play area. 

Originally opened in 1867, it remains much as the Victorian architects envisaged, and has over 270 fine trees, amidst beautiful shrubs and herbaceous plants with a semi-wild natural aesthetic.

For Doors Open Days, there will also be live Music in the gardens and Artwork for sale by local creatives. Dogs will be allowed in on leads and there is a children’s play area. There will be refreshments from 12 till 4, all proceeds from these will go to the Cockburn Association & Crisis, Scotland.

3. Edinburgh Printmakers 

Where: Castle Mills, 1 Dundee Street, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Printmakers is a centre for printmaking and the visual arts. You will find a large light-filled printmaking studio, digital studio, darkroom, classrooms, two exhibition spaces, a shop selling original prints and handmade products, a café, a courtyard and community garden here. Located in a beautiful heritage building in Fountainbridge, Castle Mills, that was once a rubber factory and brewery. For Doors Open Days, enjoy access to one of the largest printmaking studios is Europe. 

4. Observatory House, Collective 

Where: 38 Calton Hill 

Observatory House occupies a unique position high on Calton Hill and has a fascinating history. The oldest part of the House is the last remnant of the very first observatory planned for Edinburgh in the 1770s. Successive generations added to the house, including a major extension and re-styling in the 1880s led by Astronomer Royal Charles Piazzi Smythe. In 2018, visual arts charity Collective re-opened the restored City Observatory site as a centre for contemporary art.

For Doors Open Day 2021, you can book a free tour of the newly renovated Observatory House which will introduce you to the building’s rich history and share the contemporary art which marks the start of a new chapter in the story of the house.

Access by guided tour only (lasting approximately 30mins), which must be booked in advance. Details to follow.

5. Liberton Kirk

Where: 28-30 Kirkgate 

Doors Open Days

You may have seen this semi-gothic church on social media in autumn time as it is adorned in ivy changing through the seasons, at it’s peak ,covered in crimson. The building was designed by James Gillespie Graham and erected in 1815 to replace an older building on the site. Situated in the south of Edinburgh, Doors Open Days give you access to the Kirk Centre and cafe where you can enjoy live Organ music and children’s trail. 

6. King’s Buildings

Where: The College of Science & Engineering, Max Born Crescent

Enjoy a blend of online and in-person activities at King’s Buildings this year. You can discover the main science and engineering campus for the University of Edinburgh which has been home to groundbreaking discoveries. You can visit the campus itself and view an outdoor exhibition of aerial photography. The exhibition highlights the development of the King’s Building over the last 100 years and participate in online activities to learn more. 

7. Edinburgh’s Quaker Meeting House 

Where: 7 Victoria Terrace

Doors Open Days


Enjoy views of Victoria Street and across the city towards the Pentland Hills is Edinburgh’s Quaker Meeting House. Located at the foot of Upper Bow, on Victoria Terrace. It was built as the Original Secession Church in 1865, part of the Victoria Street development. It has been in Quaker hands since 1989. The exterior is a fine example of Italian Revival style, and the Meeting House is well-used by local Quakers, the wider community and as a Fringe venue.

Edinburgh Quakers welcome you to visit us on Saturday September 25th, between 12 noon and 4 pm. Information about the building’s history and its current role will be available, with volunteers on hand to answer questions. Additionally you can take an online virtual tour and learn more about the history of Quakers in Edinburgh. 

8. Edinburgh Central Library

Where: 7-9 George IV Bridge

Edinburgh Central Library is a beautiful Victorian building! Designed by the 19th century Scottish architect, George Washington Browne, in French Renaissance style. Endowed by Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1890 it was built on the site of the mansion of Sir Thomas Hope, King’s Advocate to Charles I, and incorporates features from the 17th century building. It’s amongst the best late 19th century Carnegie libraries in Scotland.

Changes and additions have been made to the building over the years, but it features some of the wonderful Victorian spaces which are still used for their original purpose including a beautiful Reference Library. The library also has a Lending collection, a Music Collection and a local studies and Scottish collection. The library’s Art and Design collection and modern children’s library are sited in a building which was added to the Central Library in the 1930s. Central Library is a close neighbour to the National Library of Scotland.

For Doors Open Days 2021 you can enjoy short tours of the hidden corners of the library!

Stay in a Dickins Home

If you are visiting Edinburgh to explore the wonderful buildings which will be opening their doors, you should stay in a Dickins home to make your trip more memorable. We have curated collections of homes, from luxury to dog friendly and homes with parking to being perfect for families. Speak to one of our team member to find your perfect Edinburgh stay.

The Painter’s Studio – 1 bedroom luxury in the most incredible location (right next to Edinburgh Castle)

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