A key tourism body is working with Bo’ness volunteers to ensure that a historical treasure becomes a visitor attraction on an international scale.
Historic Environment Scotland is poised to unveil the historical treasures of Kinneil House tomorrow (Saturday) for the first of a series of eight free open days all with their own distinctive theme.
HES, which is based in Linlithgow, has enjoyed higher tourist revenues of late ,credited in part to the Outlander effect – and the same team are determined to work in conjunction with the hard working volunteers at Friends of Kinneil to see this extended to Bo’ness.
Reassuringly,the foundations would already seem to be in place for this for as visitor numbers are up as a consequence of new areas of the house being to the public thanks to HES funding.
As from last year, guests can now see extra rooms within the palace area plus a viewing platform in the original Tower House.
And there are already signs that those who have still not seen Kinneil before are set to converge on the territory
For tomorrow’s event will allow visitors to Bo’ness Silent Film Festival at the Hippodrome to venture that further afield to see Kinneil.
Malcolm Brown, who is Historic Scotland’s district visitor operations manager, said: “Although you can tour the grounds of Kinneil House, you can only see within the building on these special open days. We hope that families from across Scotland – and further afield– will pay a visit to Kinneil.”
Maria Ford from Friends of Kinneil is preparing to take tours round with her team every 15 minutes between noon and 3.30pm. She said:“Our open days aim to bring the site alive with a range of themed experiences, tied into local festivals such as Festivals of Museums and Open Doors Day. All the tours are free of charge and there is no need to book in advance. We’ll allocate places on the day.
“Interest in the building has grown substantially with 2,498 visiting in just eight days. By comparison, the same number of events in 2016 attracted 1,763 people. Opening the house on Saturday will allow people to have a quick tour then go to the movies later in the day.”
Other activities include a series of events which tie in with the fact that the house is on the increasingly celebrated John Muir trail - and the naturalist’s birthday will be celebrated there on Sunday, April 22.
The final event is for Hallowee’en Sunday October 28 – an apt choice as the house is seemingly haunted!