Friends, John Muir Way, romans

Get on your Way to Kinneil for a world-class weekend

  • Open afternoons at Kinneil House on April 18 and 19
  • Events mark World Heritage Day and first anniversary of launch of John Muir Way
  • Costumed interpreter, ranger walks, and giveaways (see info).
  • Free admission to House and revamped Kinneil Museum
  • House open noon to 3 p.m. both days – museum open until 4 p.m.

maria-ford-at-kinneil-house-300dpi-finalHistoric Kinneil House in Bo’ness is opening its doors for free tours this weekend. Visitors will be able to see inside the A-listed mansion, meet a costumed interpreter and tour the surrounding parklands.

There will also be giveaways and a free draw for children’s books.

The afternoon events have been organised to mark World Heritage Day (April 18) and the first anniversary of the launch of the John Muir Way. The Roman Antonine Wall – a World Heritage Site – runs through the grounds of Kinneil, as does the 134-mile Way.

Kinneil House – which boasts impressive renaissance wall paintings – will be open from noon to 3 p.m. (last admission 2.30 p.m.) on Saturday and Sunday (April 18 and 19, 2015).

Volunteer guides from The Friends of Kinneil will tell visitors about the mansion’s amazing history, dating back to the 15th century.

The House was once home to the powerful Hamilton family. Historic Scotland Ranger Service will also be on hand to give tours around the surrounding estate, which boasts the ruins of a medieval church and a Roman fortlet. The revamped Kinneil Museum (next to the House) will also be open both days from 12.30 p.m.

The events have been organised by The Friends of Kinneil charity and Historic Scotland, with the support of Falkirk Community Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and Falkirk Council.

Maria Ford (pictured) from The Friends of Kinneil said: “We’re really looking forward to our open weekend. It celebrates Kinneil’s position as part of a World Heritage Site, as well as its location along the John Muir Way, which has attracted lots of new visitors to the area since its launch last year.

“As well as providing free House tours we’ll be giving away Antonine Wall stickers, pens, flags and leaflets – and also John Muir books in a free draw. I’d like to thank Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage for the giveways and their ongoing support. We’ll also have a costumed interpreter playing Anne, Duchess of Hamilton – one of the key figures associated with Kinneil House.

“Our open days are usually busy and I would encourage people to come along early and enjoy the free tours. We’ll be opening the House at noon on Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19, with the last admission at 2.30 p.m. on both days.

“Historic Scotland Rangers will also provide tours of the estate, and Kinneil Museum will be open both afternoons. It’s recently been refreshed with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and is well worth a visit. “Best of all – admission to the House and Museum – and those tours of the surrounding area are all free of charge.”

Amy Mack, Regional Tourism and Community Manager for Historic Scotland, said: “The Friends of Kinneil put a lot of time and effort into making the open days such a success. I’d like to thank the charity’s volunteers for all their hard work to make visits to Kinneil so memorable for all our guests.”



** The history of Kinneil dates back to 1323 when lands were granted by King Robert The Bruce to Walter Fitzgilbert of Hamildon, the head of the family which later produced the Dukes of Hamilton.

** The Hamiltons’ main seat was in west central Scotland but over the centuries Kinneil became their base in the east. In the 1400s they built a small tower house just outside what is now Bo’ness, in an easily defensible position overlooking a ravine.

** In the late 1400s or early 1500s the tower house was enlarged. In 1553 James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran, built a palace to the north east of the tower house to its north east. In 1667, William, 3rd Duke of Hamilton and his wife Anne launched a major expansion of Kinneil House. Within a century, however, the Hamiltons had ceased to use Kinneil, and rented it out to tenants.

** Demolition work at Kinneil took place in the 1930s, but work was halted when rare renaissance wall paintings were discovered. ** The Friends of Kinneil was set up in 2006 to support and promote the development of Kinneil House and the surrounding estate and area, and to enhance and protect its heritage.

** Over the past few years it has worked with Historic Scotland to improve public access to Kinneil House, running a series of free open days. It also takes part in other activities within the estate. The Friends of Kinneil is a registered charity (Charity Registration Number: SC 038368). ** Kinneil Museum, next to Kinneil House, is open all year, normally from Mondays to Saturdays from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. (as well as at additional times to tie in with House open days). The museum is run by Falkirk Community Trust on behalf of Falkirk Council. Find out more at

** Kinneil House, Museum and Estate are on the western edge of Bo’ness in central Scotland, just off the A904 and A993 and are part of the Frontiers of The Roman Empire World Heritage Site. The site also features the ruins of a medieval church, a cottage used by inventor James Watt and evidence of a Roman fortlet, part of the Antonine Wall. The John Muir Way also runs through the site. Find out more at and and

** For satellite navigation devices, use the postcode EH51 0PR. See our map page. johnmuir-promo1.jpg

The Friends of Kinneil is a registered charity Charity Registration Number : SC038368 Visit us online at: Email us: