Increased public access to Bo’ness attraction

Kinneil House.
Kinneil House.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has increased access to Kinneil House in Bo’ness as part of its ongoing partnership with the Friends of Kinneil and Falkirk Community Trust.

The partnership has contributed to a new operating model to increase public access to the House. Extended opening hours and additional open days have been introduced already as part of the new approach with a view to building on activity over time. The attraction has 12 open days confirmed for 2019, an increase on the eight it offered in 2018. Two open days will be held next weekend, August 23 and 25.

Stuart Holmes, regional visitor operations manager at HES, said: ‘We are really pleased to have secured additional staffing to enable more open days.

“HES recently invested in opening up new areas of the House to the public and we’re keen to continue improving the visitor experience and increasing access to the House in future.”

Tour delivery has also been made possible through ongoing support from the Friends of Kinneil who volunteer their time and energy to help tell the story of the Bo’ness house which dates back to the 15th Century.

Ian Shearer, chairman of the Friends of Kinneil, said: “Kinneil House was for centuries a magnificent bastion of one of the country’s most powerful families – the Hamiltons. It boasts some of Scotland’s finest 16th-Century wall paintings, and also a unique association with James Watt, who secretly worked here on his steam engine and whose Bicentenary is being marked this month on 25th August.

Kinneil House, Museum and Estate feature nearly 2,000 years of spectacular heritage assets with significant visitor and development potential.”

As well as increasing opening hours for the free tours, now provided between 10am-4pm, there is also a new online booking system enabling visitors to book onto a tour in advance.

HES has also worked with Falkirk Community Trust who have increased their museum opening times to mirror House openings. Visitors are encouraged to visit the Museum at the end of their House tour.

Lesley O’Hare, Culture and Libraries Manager at Falkirk Community Trust added: ‘We’re delighted to continue supporting the Friends of Kinneil and HES to open Kinneil House for public tours and look forward to welcoming visitors to the Museum to learn more about the amazing stories of Kinneil Estate and the town of Bo’ness.’

For more information and to book a tour, visit: www.historicenvironment.scot/events.