The A-listed building – which houses some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland – will provide access to visitors on Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13.
There will also be further free days on Saturday, June 28; Sunday, September 21 and Saturday, November 1. The events will run from 12 noon to 4 p.m. on each day (except November 1, when the House will close at 3 p.m.)
Access has been organised by Historic Scotland – which cares for the building – in conjunction with the heritage charity The Friends of Kinneil.
Lynn Munro, the chair of The Friends of Kinneil, said: “We’re delighted to work with Historic Scotland to provide public access to this wonderful building.
“Last year, around 1700 visited Kinneil during five open days and we’re hoping to build on this success with our programme for 2008.
“Volunteers will be stationed around the House to tell people about its rich and varied history.”
Kinneil House, which dominates the surrounding Kinneil Estate, dates back to the 15th century and was once a popular home for the Dukes of Hamilton. The building was re-modelled in the 1540s and transformed into a stately home in the 1660s.
In the early part of the 20th century, the house and estate were sold to Bo’ness Town Council. In 1936, the local authority stated demolition work, but halted the process when the rare renaissance wall paintings were discovered by a worker. The buildings were put into the care of the Ministry of Works, now Historic Scotland.
For the past two decades, access to the house has been limited. However, Historic Scotland is now working with The Friends of Kinneil group to increase the number of public openings.
Neil Young, Historic Scotland’s operations manager for the region, said: “Visitors to the House will be able to see the renaissance wall paintings as well as important gravestones and other artefacts found nearby.
“Admission to Kinneil House is free of charge. But we can only allow limited numbers into the building at a time, so please come early to avoid queues.”
He added: “The first set of open days – on April 12 and 13 – tie in with the Historic Scotland Free Weekend, when Historic Scotland attractions around the country will drop admission charges for the weekend.”
The last admission to Kinneil House will be 30 minutes before closing.
For more information on Kinneil House and estate, please visit www.kinneil.org.uk
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Kinneil House is just off the A993 – the main road through Bo’ness in central Scotland. For location information visit www.kinneil.org.uk/map or call Kinneil Museum on 01506 778530 . Kinneil House is only during special open days. However, neighbouring Kinneil Museum, run by Falkirk Council, is open to the public throughout the year. The Museum is normally open Monday to Saturday from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
2. Kinneil House is one of 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in the care of Historic Scotland. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Stirling, Edinburgh and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. Find out more by visiting www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
For more information, please contact
Lynn Munro, The Friends of Kinneil
T: 01506 823260
Rebecca Hamilton, Marketing and Media Manager
T: 0131 668 8685