Free House tours on August 26

Kinneil House in Bo’ness will be open for free tours on Sunday, August 26, 2018 – from noon to 4 p.m.

Tickets will be available on the day from Kinneil Museum (just next to the House). Tours will run every 15 minutes, with the last tour at 3.30 p.m.

Admission will be free of charge. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Historic Environment Scotland Rangers will be running tours of the surrounding Kinneil Estate during the afternoon. The singing group The Gargoyles of Gargunnock are also expected to entertain visitors.

For updates follow The Friends on Kinneil @Kinneil on Twitter on Facebook at 

For directions to the venue, use the postcode EH51 0PR.


The Arbour Room inside Kinneil House in Bo’ness

See inside Kinneil House on June 24

Historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness is open for free tours this Sunday (June 24).

A costumed interpreter will be on hand to tell visitors about inventor James Watt, who did early work to develop the steam engine at Kinneil.

Doors open at the House at noon and the last admission will be 3.30 p.m.

Tickets and information will be available on the day from Kinneil Museum, next to the House.

A VisitScotland “Coo Van” – providing tourist information – will also be on site.

Kinneil, the centrepiece of Kinneil Estate, was once home to the Dukes of Hamilton. The mansion, dating back to the 16th century, boasts some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland.

Sunday’s event has been organised by The Friends of Kinneil in association with Historic Environment Scotland. Other open days will take place in August, September and October this year.

PARKING: In front of the House and museum. If in doubt, ask one of the volunteers across the site.

PHOTOGRAPHY: No flash photography is allowed in the painted rooms at Kinneil.

REFRESHMENTS: A stall selling drinks and sweet treats will be available in the museum. There will also be a hot food stall in the Estate.

OTHER THINGS TO SEE: The museum also offers displays and maps about the surrounding Estate, which also boasts a Roman fortlet and the ruins of a medieval church.

COST: Admission to the House and the Museum is free of charge. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

DIRECTIONS: The postcode is EH51 0PR.

The open event will also co-incide with the second day of the Kinneil plant sale. 

For directions to the House and the wider Estate, visit our Map page.


Kinneil plant sale on June 23 and 24

Falkirk Council’s plant sale will take place at Kinneil Nursery (the Walled Garden) at Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness, on June 23 and 24 this year. For details and prices, see the poster . . . . The event will also co-incide with the June 24 open afternoon at Kinneil House.

A variety of bedding plants will be on sale over the two days.


All set for Festival at Kinneil

Kinneil House and Museum are getting ready to take part in Scotland’s annual Festival of Museums.

The neighbouring venues – at the heart of Kinneil Estate in Bo’ness – will stage two special open events this May. Look out for goodies, fun events – and a hunt for bats.

Sarah Burry-Hayes, Marketing Manager at Museums Galleries Scotland, co-ordinating the festival, said: “The Festival of Museums programme is bursting with fun events to spark the imagination and celebrate culture in Scotland. Visitors to fantastic venues such as Kinneil will experience museums in interactive, unexpected and hands-on ways.”

An evening open event will take place on Friday, May 18.

Kinneil Museum will be open from 6-9 p.m. There will be goodie bags and activities for all the family. Neighbouring Kinneil House will also be open for the first 90 minutes – from 6-7.30 p.m. (last House admission 7 p.m.)

Kinneil Museum will also be starting point for a nature walk around the stunning Kinneil Estate, ending (hopefully) with a display from the bats who live in Kinneil House. (They usually make an appearance around dusk, approx 9.30 – 10 p.m.) The bat walk will leave the museum around 8.30 p.m. on May 18. Lesley Sweeney of Falkirk Council’s Ranger service will lead the walk.

The second Festival of Museums event will take place at Kinneil on Sunday, May 20. 

Again Kinneil House and Museum will be open – this time from noon to 4 p.m. Rangers from Historic Environment Scotland will also be hand to lead daytime tours around the Estate (no bats this time).

The Estate walks will take from 12.30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

There’s no need to pre-book, just turn up; although spaces on House tours can be limited at peak times. Tickets and information from the Museum. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

About the Festival of Museums

Created and co-ordinated by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS), Festival of Museums
encourages Scotland’s museums to provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy exciting, entertaining and surprising day or night events at museums and galleries over one weekend. This year’s Festival will take place from Friday, 18 May to Sunday, 20 May and will features over 100 events, taking place at cultural attractions throughout Scotland. MGS works in partnership with Culture 24 / Museums at Night which takes place over the same weekend. For a full programme of events, please visit


See inside Kinneil House this Sunday

Visitors will be able to tour inside historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness, this Sunday (April 22).

The open event is part of a series of activities being held along the John Muir Way. If you are visiting, tweet and share pictures and comments using the hashtag #JohnMuirDay and @Kinneil @JohnMuirWay.

Free Kinneil House tours will run from noon to 4 p.m. (last admission 3.30 p.m.) this Sunday. A costumed interpreter will also be on hand to bring the story of James Watt to life.

History fans will be allocated tickets and a tour time from Kinneil Museum (the red-roofed building in front of Kinneil House). The museum will also be open throughout the afternoon. There’s no need to pre-book, just turn up on the day.

The House was home to the Dukes of Hamilton and boasts some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland.

Sunday’s event has been organised by The Friends of Kinneil in association with Historic Environment Scotland. Other open days will take place in May, June, August, September and October.

For more info, see our main story here.

PARKING: In front of the House and museum. If in doubt, ask one of the volunteers across the site.

PHOTOGRAPHY: No flash photography is allowed in the painted rooms at Kinneil.

REFRESHMENTS: A stall selling drinks and sweet treats will be available in the museum. The museum also offers displays and maps about the surrounding Estate, which also boasts a Roman fortlet and the ruins of a medieval church.

COST: Admission to the House and the Museum is free of charge. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

DIRECTIONS: The postcode is EH51 0PR. See our map page for other travel info.


Join us on our John Muir walk

The Friends of Kinneil invite you to join them on a walk along the John Muir Way from Kinneil House and Museum in Bo’ness to the wonderful Blackness Castle, used in the TV series “Outlander”. The walk takes place tomorrow, Saturday, April 21 – John’s Muir’s birthday.

On the way, we will pop into the beautiful Carriden Church – and join walkers from the Carriden community before heading along the Way, through woodland and shoreline paths – with stunning views of the amazing Forth Bridges.

The walkers will have a break at Blackness Castle before returning to the historic Kinneil House at the western edge of Bo’ness.

More details and booking info at 



Visit Kinneil House in 2018


  • New series of open days gets underway on March 24
  • Longer opening hours to meet growing demand for access
  • New-style timed tours, leaving from neighbouring Kinneil Museum

It boasts some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland. It was home to one of the most noble families in the country, the Hamiltons. And it’s opening its doors again in 2018.

Historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness – which dates back the late 15th century – is staging a series of free open days this year, starting on Saturday, March 24.

The events will include appearances from costumed interpreters and entertainers – from Romans to Renaissance singers (and even modern-day Rangers). There will also be extended opening hours to deal with growing visitor numbers.

The tours have been organised by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) in conjunction with volunteers from the award-winning Friends of Kinneil charity.

Maria Ford from The Friends said: “Kinneil is a wonderful old building with an amazing history. Our open days aim to bring the site alive with a range of themed experiences, tying into local and national festivals such as Festival of Museums and Doors Open Days.

“All of the tours are free of charge – and there’s no need to book in advance. We’ll allocate places on the day. So, come along on the open days and we’ll show you inside!”

This year, the Friends will run timed tours leaving from Kinneil Museum (in front of the House). These will leave every 15 minutes – up until the last tour, which will be 30 minutes before closing time.

The open days will take place on:

Tours will start at noon each day – and run until 4 p.m. (last admission 3.30 p.m.) – with the exception of the evening opening on May 18, when the House will be open from 6 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. (with the last admission at 7 p.m.)

Please note that, for safety reasons, numbers on tours are restricted.

Maria said: “Last year, thanks to an investment by Historic Environment Scotland, new areas of the House were opened to the public: extra rooms within the ‘Palace’ section and a viewing platform within the oldest area, the original Tower House.

“Interest in the building grew substantially, with 2,498 people visiting in just eight days in 2017. By comparison, the same number of events in 2016 attracted 1,763 people.”

The first event on March 24 has been organised to tie with the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival – – running at the nearby Bo’ness Hippodrome, Scotland’s first purpose-built cinema.

“With lots of visitors coming to the town for the Festival, we thought it was a good idea to open Kinneil House at the same time,” said Maria. “The March 24 afternoon opening will allow Festival-goers the chance to have a quick tour of this wonderful building and then go to the movies later in the day. Like the Hippodrome, the House is an A-listed building and a magnificent place to visit.”

Kinneil House is on the John Muir Way – one of Scotland’s Great Trails.

As part of a series of events to tie in with John Muir’s birthday, the House will be open on Sunday, April 22. A costumed interpreter will also be on hand to entertain visitors.

For the Scottish Festival of Museums and the UK’s Museums at Night celebrations in May, Kinneil House will be opening at night – on Friday, May 18. There will also be events and free goodie bags at Kinneil Museum next door – and a bat hunt in the grounds of the big house.

A second Festival of Museums event will be held on Sunday, May 20, with Historic Environment Scotland’s Rangers taking visitors around the surrounding Kinneil Estate, which includes ponds, woodland and a cottage used by inventor James Watt.

June will see Bo’ness get dressed up for its annual Children’s Fair Festival. Kinneil House – an early location for the festival – will open the Sunday before the Fair, on June 24. There are also plans to bring another costumed interpreter to the site.

There will also be an open event on Sunday, August 26, with performances from renaissance singers The Gargoyles of Gargunnock. The HES Rangers will also be back to do Estate tours.


In September, the House – and its wider estate – will be the focus for Big Roman Week, a festival celebrating Falkirk district’s Roman roots. A full programme of events will be revealed later this year – but The Big Roman Day, with appearances by the Antonine Guard re-enactment group, will be at Kinneil on September 15.

The 2018 programme will end with a Hallowe’en themed opening at Kinneil House on Sunday, October 28. The House is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a white lady.

Malcolm Brown, the District Visitor Operations Manager at Historic Environment Scotland’s Linlithgow Hub, said: “We’re looking forward to the new season at Kinneil.

“We had a great response to opening new sections of the House last year, and also improved the visitor experience with the addition of new lighting and interpretation within the building.

“This year, the Friends will take tours from Kinneil Museum. So, if you do have to wait for access, you’ll be able to enjoy the other attractions in the museum itself. Hopefully, there will be no more queuing outside!

“As ever, the House tours are free of charge and will offer a variety of experiences throughout the year. Look out for costumed interpreters, themed events and walks in the grounds.”

He added: “Although you can tour the grounds of Kinneil House throughout the year, you can only see inside the building on these special open days. We hope that families from across Scotland – and further afield – will pay a visit to Kinneil this year.”

Falkirk Community Trust is opening Kinneil Museum at additional times to tie in with Kinneil House open events.

For more information on open days click or pick up a leaflet from libraries and local tourist attractions in the Falkirk Council area.

History fans can also keep in touch with updates through social media at and

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The Friends of Kinneil was set up in 2006 to promote Kinneil Estate and Nature Reserve in Bo’ness. The charity organises Kinneil House open days and other events for members and visitors. (No. SC038368). The group won a Scottish Heritage Angel Award in 2016. To find out more, visit

Falkirk Community Trust manages Kinneil Museum and the surrounding Kinneil Estate on behalf of Falkirk Council. It also operates the Hippodrome Cinema in Bo’ness town centre and runs the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (running this year from Wednesday, March 21 to Sunday, March 25, 2018). Find out more at – or go directly to the Festival page:

Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together in 2015 to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body, Historic Environment Scotland (HES), leads on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time. The body cares for Kinneil House using the existing Historic Scotland brand. Historic Environment Scotland is a registered Scottish Charity. Scottish Charity No. SC045925. You can keep up to date with news from Historic Environment Scotland and register for media release email alerts at

More on the history of Kinneil House on the HES website –

Images of Kinneil House and Estate are available on request. Email:

Media organisations can also download images (free for editorial use) from

Kinneil House 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 John Muir Way also runs through the site. For satellite navigation devices, use the postcode EH51 0PR.

Media enquiries: tel. 01506 823714 or 01506 510629; email: . More contact details at

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


See inside Kinneil House in 2018

The Friends of Kinneil and Historic Environment Scotland have finalised the dates for the 2018 open events at Kinneil House, Bo’ness.

The historic mansion will stage eight free events during the year.

Leaflets, giving more information, are available from venues around the Bo’ness area, including Kinneil Museum and Bo’ness Library.

The first event will take place on Saturday, March 24, from noon to 4 p.m. (last admission 3.30 p.m.)

Please note that House tours will take place every 15 minutes, leaving from the museum. You’ll get tickets and more information from volunteers within the museum.

The event has been organised to support the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival, taking place in Bo’ness that weekend. Silent movies will also be on show inside Kinneil Museum on March 24.

Read our press release on the 2018 season.

Keep visiting this site and the Friends of Kinneil on social media for updates.


All set for James Watt Supper

jameswatt-fromvictorianbook1The Friends of Kinneil charity is running its James Watt Supper in St. Mary’s Church Hall off Linlithgow Road, Bo’ness, this Friday, January 19.

The event celebrates the birthday of James Watt – the Scots inventor who did some of his early work to develop the steam engine at Kinneil. The event kicks off at 7 p.m.

Tickets cost £10 for members and £15 for non-members. Anyone interested in attending should email: or call 01506 510629.

The Friends will provide food and some non-alcoholic drinks. If you’d like an alcoholic drink, please bring it with you.

There will also be speeches and entertainment.

The menu for the event is printed below:

Scotch broth
Lentil Soup [vegetarian]
Crusty Bread / Butter

Mains – Salmagundi:
Steamed Salmon
Roast Rib of Beef
Honey & Clove Ham
Roast Chicken
Vintage Cheese Quiche
Prawns – Mussels – Crabsticks
Vegetable Stuffed Peppers
Cheese Slices
Variety of Potato Salads [Cheese – Coconut – Spring Onion]
Shredded Coleslaw
Vegetables in Mayonnaise
Dried Fruits – Dates – Walnuts – Sultanas
Shredded carrot
Lettuce – Tomato – Celery
Vegetable Pickles – Onions – Beetroot
Stuffed Eggs

James Watt birthday cake
Apple Pie
Steaming Clootie Dumpling
Cream – Custard


Shortbread and Homemade Tablet