Visit Kinneil House for free this weekend

HISTORIC Kinneil House in Bo’ness is joining dozens of historic buildings in Scotland and opening its doors for free this weekend.

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.

The opening has been organised by Historic Scotland – which is running its Free Weekend across Scotland – in conjunction with local volunteers from The Friends of Kinneil. Linlithgow Palace, Blackness Castle and other Historic Scotland sites will also provide free access this Saturday and Sunday. For full details, please visit http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk

Lynn Munro, the chair of The Friends of Kinneil, said: “We’re looking forward to a busy weekend. Volunteers will be stationed around the Kinneil House to tell people about its rich and varied history. The building’s renaissance wall paintings are always popular and we’re looking forward to welcoming people to this impressive building. The House will be open from 12 noon to 4 p.m. both days.”

Local councillor Adrian Mahoney will be one of the volunteers helping to open up the House to the public. He revealed this week that neighbouring Kinneil Museum would also be open on Saturday and Sunday, to tie in with the Kinneil House opening. “Normally the museum is only open Monday to Saturday afternoons, however officers have agreed to open the museum this Sunday as well to tie in with the Free Weekend. The Museum has an audio visual show on the history of the House and displays on wider Bo’ness – including our Roman heritage. Staff are looking forward to welcoming visitors from across Scotland.”

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. In addition to this weekend, the House will host further free open days on Saturday, June 28; Sunday, September 21 and Saturday, November 1.

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 http://www.kinneil.org.uk

1. Kinneil House is just off the A993 – the main road through Bo’ness
in central Scotland. For location information visit http://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 http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk