September brings mists and mellow fruitfulness – and open doors! Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival, with the simple aim that Scotland’s built heritage is made accessible to people living in, and visiting Scotland, every September. The list of buildings taking part every year is growing, as is the festival’s popularity. So, if you’re in Stirling around September 15-16, make sure you take the opportunity to visit some fascinating venues both new and old – and you needn’t part with a penny.

The Tolbooth amidst Old Town houses in Stirling

Explore the Tolbooth, seen here amidst Old Town houses in Stirling

Explore behind the backstage doors at the Macrobert, Stirling

Explore backstage at the Macrobert, Stirling

These are just a few of the open doors in Stirling this weekend – for full listings, see:

Tolbooth Doors Open

The Tolbooth will be open to the public on 15 September. There will be guided tours at 11am and 1pm. Each tour lasts 1 hour and is free of charge – of course! For more information, visit:

Macrobert Backstage Tours

The Macrobert will be flinging their doors wide on 16 September for a fun afternoon for all the family. You’ll be able to get a sneaky peak behind the scenes in a backstage tour, get creative in a drop-in arts and crafts workshop, or even learn how to lace-up 35mm film. For more information, visit:

Prehistoric Stirling

On Tuesday 18 September, you can explore with Dr Murray Cook, Stirling Council’s archaeologist, three of Stirling’s most surprising survivals. These are Stirling’s oldest cemetery, its oldest public art, and a 2000-year old fort! This guided walk will last 1.5 hours on formal paths. Booking is essential. For information:

St Columba’s Church

This venue, open on 15 and 16 September, is not to be missed! St Columba’s is a prominent building within King’s Park. Dating from 1902 it is Category B Listed and surely one of the most utilised church buildings within the Stirling Council area. Just for Doors Open Days the bell tower will be open to those visitors who are brave, able and fit enough for the climb! Access is upstairs from the main vestibule, then up a steep, narrow set of stairs before a very steep and long ladder to the top. Oh – and there’s a coffee morning on the Saturday as added incentive! For more information:

Stirling Old High School Observatory and Telescope

On both 15 and 16 September, you have a remarkable opportunity to see the moon, stars, and more, through the 129-year-old Newtonian reflecting telescope within the copper-domed Observatory of Stirling Highland Hotel. This impressive building used to be Stirling High School building and was converted into an hotel in 1990. Group tours of up to 10 people will last around 30 minutes. This is a popular event, so you may have to queue, but you can watch a digital presentation while you wait. To avoid everyone arriving at the same time, if your party doesn’t have children, do go after 8pm. For more information, visit:

St Columba's sits within the prestigious King's Park area of Stirling

St Columba’s sits within the prestigious King’s Park area of Stirling

See the moon from the Stirling Old High School Observatory Open Doors

See the moon from the Stirling Old High School Observatory

More information: 

For more Doors Open Days ideas in Stirling and further afield, see:

Photo Credits: 

  • Tolbooth image: By Robert Cutts from Bristol, England, UK [CC BY 2.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Kings Park: Iain Millar / Stirling and Kings Park Golf Course



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