Scotland’s largest free festival of places, history, and culture is to return this weekend [September 11 and 12]. 

2021 marks the 32nd year of Doors Open Days, a festival that sees organisations and volunteers offer free access to hundreds of sites and events across Scotland.

And Ardrossan Castle, one of Scotland's 'oldest' stone castles, is on the list of venues to visit if you wish to explore your local community this weekend.

Read More: For a full list of Ayrshire places to visit during Doors Open Day

The Ardrossan Castle Heritage Society said: "For the first time in two years, the Heritage Society is delighted we will be open on September 11 and 12 from 11am-4 pm for both days.

"We're super excited to see people again!"

Kilwinning's Abbey Tower Centre and Beith's Auld Kirk are also some of the places closer to home. 

The festival aims to make Scotland’s built and cultural heritage accessible to everyone living in and visiting the country.

Doors Open Days is coordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust and is part of European Heritage Days.

Local coordinators from civic trusts, heritage organisations, and local authorities create and manage programmes in each region.

Dr. Susan O’Connor, Director of Scottish Civic Trust, said: “Hundreds of venues across the country are busy behind-the-scenes organising events, planning walking tours and creating videos and other virtual activities for visitors.

"We’re particularly excited to welcome visitors back into buildings so we can all enjoy our shared history in-person once again.”

The launch of the 2021 festival was marked by an afternoon reception at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine last month.

Visitors to the museum’s Doors Open Days weekend on September 11 and 12 will be able to explore the museum and participate in a 'Build Your Own Iconic Scottish Door' workshop.

Nicola Scott, Events and Exhibitions Officer at the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: “We are thrilled to host the launch of this year’s Doors Open Days and open up the Scottish Maritime Museum in both Irvine and Dumbarton for free in celebration of Scotland’s rich cultural and built heritage.”

“As well as exploring our nationally recognised collection of maritime heritage, which features historic vessels, artwork, and engineering inventions which influenced shipbuilding across the world, visitors will enjoy a look behind the scenes at our Scottish Boat Building School.

"Everyone can also enjoy the built heritage of the buildings themselves. In Irvine, the vast, glass-roofed A-listed Linthouse was formerly a shipyard engine shop in Govan."

The 2021 Doors Open Days programme is now live at

Visitors will be pleased to see the return of some old favourites, like Glasgow’s Britannia Panopticon, as well as the addition of new hidden gems, like a modernist football stand in the Scottish Borders and the world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse in Angus.

COVID-19 restrictions

Doors Open Days only encourages people to attend in-person events in accordance with the latest Scottish Government COVID-19 guidance. The events and buildings that will be open for physical visits tomorrow will ensure safe access according to the most current guidelines.