Estate, History, Kinneil House

Kinneil House to open every Saturday from April to September

Regular guided tours at the historic Kinneil House will start this weekend for the 2023 tourist season, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced.

From 1 April, visitors can take part in guided tours to find out more about the site’s rich history which spans over 2,000 years. Whilst the surrounding 200-acre parkland and free museum are open year-round, the interior of the house is only open for tours on special days throughout the year. Due to popular demand, the tours will now be available every Saturday from 1 April until 30 September, excluding 3 June and 2 September.

The magnificent Kinneil House in Bo’ness

Built next to the Antonine Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kinneil was first mentioned as a place in a written source in 731 AD. From 1323, the Kinneil lands belonged to the wealthy and influential Hamilton family, including James Hamilton, who was regent of Scotland from 1543 to 1554 and built the present house. Its rare 16th and 17th century wall paintings are considered among the finest of any house in Scotland and are one of the highlights for visitors.

The remains of James Watt’s workshop, where his first steam engine was developed, can also be explored at the estate today. From the Romans to Mary Queen of Scots, and even the Industrial Revolution, Kinneil House has borne witness to some of the most exciting periods of Scottish history.

Paul Rowlands, Roving Manager at HES, said:

“The guided tours at Kinneil House offer a unique experience, and we’re thrilled to be able to share the exciting history of this iconic house with more people this summer.

“We’d like to give special thanks to the Friends of Kinneil for their continuing support and we look forward to a busy season ahead for everyone involved.”

Ian Shearer, Chairman of the Friends of Kinneil, said:

“In this Centenary year of Kinneil House first becoming a public heritage asset, we are delighted at the decision by HES to open Kinneil House more regularly. This recognises the level of interest and demand at the site, and its significance both to the local area and in historical terms.

“Our volunteers will continue to support HES, Falkirk Council and other partners with added promotion, other activities for visitors, and with community engagement to help this outstanding place to achieve its future potential.”

Tours will be available every Saturday, excluding 3 June and 2 September, at 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm and will last approximately 45 minutes. Tickets must be booked in advance on the HES website. *Update: To complement the indoor tours of the house, the Friends of Kinneil will also offer a free volunteer-led outdoor walk on most Saturdays at 12 noon, so that visitors can also see some of the other historic features of Kinneil Estate.*

Unique 16th-Century wall paintings depicting the Parable of the Good Samaritan