kinneilposter2017-picturedHistoric Kinneil House in Bo’ness will be open for free tours this Saturday morning (March 25, 2017).

The mansion, within Kinneil Estate, boasts some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland. Visitors will be able to tour part of the building from 10 a.m. until noon (last admission 11.30 a.m.)

Neighbouring Kinneil Museum will also be open.

The event is part of a series of open days organised by the charities The Friends of Kinneil and Historic Environment Scotland.

A Friends spokesman said: “Saturday’s event has been organised to tie in with the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival, which is taking place in Bo’ness this week. We’ll be showing movies in Kinneil Museum and providing information on the festival.”

He added: “Admission to Kinneil House is free of charge. For 2017, we’re allowing public access to more parts of the building – including areas previously closed to the public. There’s no need to book a tour, just up – although children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.”

Please note the House will only be open on the morning of Saturday, March 25, 2017.

For more information, visit and

For directions to Kinneil House, Museum and Estate, visit our Map page.


Posted by: ed | March 20, 2017

Tweet your support for Kinneil

Twitter_logo_blue.pngThe 2017 season of free open events at Kinneil House in Bo’ness is about to get underway. The House will be open from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 25, 2017 (last admission 11.30 a.m.). Neighbouring  Kinneil Museum will also be open.

See for details.

The openings have been organised to tie in with the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival – – taking place in the town this weekend.

If you can, please help us share information about these free open days. Just copy any of the social media posts below and post on your Facebook and Twitter pages – or feel free to share this email with friends, colleagues or customers.

You can also print off and display our 2017 poster here:

Thank you



2017 open days at Kinneil House start on Saturday, March 25.  @kinneil @welovehistory


Love history? Check out free open days at Kinneil House, Bo’  @kinneil @welovehistory


Support The Friends of Kinneil online. Like them at  or follow @Kinneil on Twitter. Thank you.


Visit Kinneil House and Museum in 2017. & @FCTrust @Kinneil


Visit historic Bo’ness in central Scotland. Lots to see and do.



(You can also add a picture to your posts. Just click the links below (and right click “save as” to save to your desktop and then upload to your favourite social media site.)

You’ll also find other pics you can use free – for editorial / non-profit – use at 



Click:  (hi-res PDF to print out)


If you’d like copies of our 2017 leaflet to give away from your
business premises or local church or community centre, just email us:     (and we’ll try to get leaflets to you).



Visit  or .

(Silent Film Festival info at )

Please note that the House is only open on the morning of March 25, 2017 – with the last admission at 11.30 a.m. Seven other open days will take place in 2017. Click for all the details.

Posted by: ed | March 6, 2017

See more of Kinneil House in 2017


  • ‘Hidden’ parts of historic mansion put on public display
  • Free tours on offer from March 25, 2017

Visitors are being given the chance to explore more of historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness.

As part of Year of History Heritage and Archaeology 2017, parts of the 16th-century mansion that are normally closed to the public will be put on display in a new series of free open days, starting later this month.

The events have been organised by the charities Historic Environment Scotland and The Friends of Kinneil.

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

For the 2017 season, visitors will get the opportunity to explore the roofless section of the “palace” part of the House. Later in the year, the public will gain access to view the main “tower” section too.

Adrian Mahoney from The Friends said: “Historic Environment Scotland have been carrying out works to allow us to show off more of the interiors of this amazing building. If you’ve been before, come back and see these ‘new’ sections in 2017.”

In total, eight free open events have been organised for the year. These will take place on:

  • Saturday, March 25, 2017 (morning only – from 10 a.m. to noon);
  • Sunday, April 23, 2017 (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.);
  • Friday, May 19, 2017 (6 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.);
  • Sunday, May 21, 2017 (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.);
  • Sunday, June 25, 2017 (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.);
  • Sunday, August 27, 2017 (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.);
  • Saturday, September 16, 2017 (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.); and
  • Sunday, October 29, 2017 (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.).

The last admission will be 30 minutes before the stated closing times.

Adrian said: “These events give people the chance to see the inside of this amazing building and hear more about its stories from our team of volunteer guides. Admission to the House is free of charge. Kinneil Museum, next to the House, will also be open during each of the open events.”

The Kinneil House open days have been programmed to tie in with national and local events.

The first event on March 25 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. The March 25 morning 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, Kinneil House is an A-listed building and a magnificent place to visit,” said Adrian.

The April 23 open day takes place during the third anniversary of the opening of the John Muir Way, a long-distance walking route which runs right past the House.

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 19. There will also be an evening opening 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 21.

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 25. There will also be an additional opening on Sunday, August 27, with performances from renaissance singers The Gargoyles of Gargunnock.

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 summer.

The 2017 programme will end with a Hallowe’en themed opening at Kinneil House on Sunday, October 29, where visitors will hear spooky stories about the House’s past.

Amy Mack, Regional Tourism and Community Manager for Historic Environment Scotland, said: “We’re looking forward to the new season at Kinneil – particularly as we can show more of the interiors of the House to visitors. Initially, we’ll be providing extra access to roofless parts of the ‘palace’ part of the House. All going well, we’ll also open up a viewing platform within the main ‘tower’ section later this year.

“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.”

She 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



  1. 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 last year. To find out more, visit
  2. 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 22 to Sunday, March 26, 2017). Find out more at  – or go directly to the Festival page:
  3. 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
  4. Images of Kinneil House and Estate are available on request. Email:
  5. 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.
  6. Media enquiries: tel. 01506 823714 or 01506 510629; email: . More contact details at
  7. Download the 2017 poster here (low-res)
  8. Download the 2017 poster in hi-res format here
Posted by: ed | February 21, 2017

See inside Kinneil House on March 25

kinneilhouse-boness-interior-arbour-room_thumb.jpgThe 2017 season of free open days at Kinneil House in Bo’ness kicks off on  Saturday, March 25.

The mansion will be open from 10 a.m. to noon, with the last admission at 11.30 a.m. There’s no need to book, just turn up. Neighbouring Kinneil Museum will also be open.

The House boasts some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland.

Please note the March 25 event is a morning only affair at the House; although the neighbouring museum will be open until 4 p.m.

The event has been organised to coincide with the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival taking place in the town the same week.

To find out more, visit

Dates for other open days at Kinneil are listed here.

Get directions to Kinneil House, Museum and Estate here


Posted by: ed | February 21, 2017

Crowds flock to Kinneil House

Kinneil House, Bo'ness

Kinneil House, Bo’ness

More than 1760 people visited the inside of Kinneil House in Bo’ness last year.

The figures were collated over eight open days in 2016, by Historic Environment Scotland and The Friends of Kinneil.

The groups join forces to organise free guided tours of the mansion. The building dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries and was once home to the powerful Hamilton family.

The charities said Big Roman Day at Kinneil was the most popular House event in 2016 – attracting more than 530 people in just a few hours.

A spooky Hallowe’en event came second, pulling in 234 people. There was also a schools’ day and a tie-up with the national Festival of Museums.

A spokesperson for The Friends said: “To attract 1763 people over just eight days is a tremendous result. Hopefully we’ll attract even more people with our new series of open days in 2017.”

The first open event of the new season is on Saturday, March 25, 2017, when the House will be open from 10 a.m. to noon, with the last admission at 11.30 a.m. The spokesman added: “There’s no need to book, just turn up. Neighbouring Kinneil Museum will also be open.”

The first Kinneil event has been organised to co-incide with the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival.

To find out more, visit

Posted by: ed | February 17, 2017

Kinneil features in Countryfile magazine


Kinneil’s Roman Fortlet and the Antonine Wall features in the March 2017 edition of the BBC Countryfile magazine, on sale on February 17.

The Antonine Wall became part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site in 2008.

The magazine lists seven key sites to visit along the Wall, including Kinneil – and even mentions this website!

Posted by: ed | January 13, 2017

John Muir Way – a “Great Trail”

The John Muir Way – which runs through Kinneil Nature Reserve and Kinneil Estate in Bo’ness – has been officially recognised as one of Scotland’s Great Trails.

The 134 mile route is the 28th Long Distance Route to be given the accolade by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Read the full story on the John Muir Way website.

Posted by: ed | November 6, 2016

William wins Hallowe’en contest

dscf8811Little William Rowbotham from Grangemouth (pictured) has won our recent Hallowe’en competition.

We challenged youngsters visiting Kinneil House last weekend to don fancy dress.

Friends trustees selected William as their winner – although it was a difficult choice with lots of great entries.

The youngster wins a £10 voucher for the Inkspot and Silverleaf Booksellers in Bo’ness.

A spokesman said: “We liked William’s outfit and his attitude – so picked him as our winner. Thanks to everyone – including adults – who came in fancy dress to Kinneil House on October 30. We appreciated everyone’s efforts.”

A gallery of the entries is featured below.

Posted by: ed | October 19, 2016

Friends win Heritage Angel Award

The Friends of Kinneil charity has won a Scottish Heritage Angel Award.

The Bo’ness group scooped the “Sharing and Celebrating” category in the competition to honour heritage volunteers. The announcement was made at a ceremony Edinburgh last night (Tuesday 18 October).

Friends chair Maria Ford said she was “delighted” at the group’s success.

The awards were established by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards highlight what can be achieved when local people get involved in rescuing and restoring heritage throughout Scotland – from Dumfries to Orkney to Bo’ness. Huge congratulations to the winners, and indeed to all who were shortlisted, not only for the work they do but for being outstanding ambassadors for heritage.  I urge everyone to use the light we shine on these projects and their unsung heroes to unlock further funding and to inspire others to get involved.”

Organisers said: “The Friends of Kinneil scooped the award for best project in the Sharing and Celebrating category, in recognition of the outstanding work they do in championing the heritage of Kinneil House, museum, estate and nature reserve in Bo’ness. 2016 is the charity’s 10th anniversary, as well as the 250th anniversary of James Watt’s invention of the condensing steam engine. Much of the formative work to create that invention was carried out at the house and the group have led on the Scottish commemorations as well as delivering a number of local events, including the Big Roman Week.”

Other award recipients were Mark Cranston from Jedburgh, who was named as winner of the Investigating and Recording category. Four years ago, Mr Cranston embarked on a remarkable project to research and record as much information on the Scottish industrial brick industry as possible – significantly adding to the current level of information available on the subject.

The Caring and Protecting category was won by Neil Kermode and the Orkney Heritage Society, for their work to restore the HMS Hampshire, or ‘Kitchener’ memorial on Orkney.

In a very competitive section, the Young Heritage Angel Award was won by the ‘Dig TV’ young volunteer group, who designed and operated television content, focusing on a major archaeological excavation in the Black Loch of Myrton, near Whithorn.

The Lifetime Contribution to the Historic Environment award was presented to Brian Watters for his work relating to the Carron Iron Works in Falkirk, by Historic Environment Scotland Chief Executive Alex Paterson. The award was recognition for Brian’s work which he has been researching for more than 30 years.

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The awards provide a platform to celebrate those selfless individuals around the country who devote their time and energy to a cause bigger than themselves – to the benefit of their communities and further afield. Often with little or no recognition or thanks.

“It is equally important that we recognise the contribution of every person who has given up their time for no pay, in order to help, in some small way, all of us to better understand, protect, and value our heritage. I hope that their dedication inspires many others to get involved as well.”

The winners of this year’s Angel Awards were decided by a judging panel consisting of Professor John Hume (OBE), conservation architect Andrew Wright (OBE), Georgia Vullinghs, of the Scotland’s Urban Past Youth Forum, Colin McLean, Chair of the Scottish Civic Trust, and Vanessa Collingridge, who hosted the awards event.

The awards were delivered in partnership between the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the Scottish Civic Trust, Historic Environment Scotland, Archaeology Scotland and the Scottish Government. The Scottish Civic Trust is the main delivery partner.

John Pelan, Director of the Scottish Civic Trust, added: “The Angel Awards are proof of the amazing work done by thousands of heritage volunteers across Scotland.  Their achievements are of great benefit, in economic, social and cultural terms, to Scotland’s historic environment. The awards are an opportunity to highlight their efforts and acknowledge their commitment, passion and enthusiasm. We are very grateful to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation for their support for these unique awards.”

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland said: “Last night’s awards are a great way of recognising the contribution of these fantastic volunteers to Scotland’s heritage sector, but it represents only a small cross-section of the work that is taking place in communities across the country to celebrate, share and enhance that sector on a daily basis. As much as tonight is about taking a moment to celebrate and applaud all of the nominees – not just the winners – for their outstanding efforts, I hope that the wider impact of the awards will be to highlight the many benefits of voluntary work, and inspire others to get involved.”



Posted by: ed | October 12, 2016

Get a spooky free tour at Kinneil on October 30

halloween2016-revised1Spooky Kinneil House in Bo’ness is opening its doors just before Hallowe’en.

The mansion, which dates back to the early 1500s, will be open for free tours on Sunday, October 30, from 1 to 4 p.m. (last admission 3.30 p.m.)

Youngsters are being urged to turn up in fancy dress. The best-dressed child will win a book token.

Volunteers from The Friends of Kinneil charity will be on hand to telling chilling tales about the building’s past. The House is said to be haunted by the ghost of a White Lady. The volunteer guides will also reveal how local people were tried for witchcraft in the Bo’ness area.

(More visitor information here.)

Kinneil House – which boasts its own internal gravestones (remnants from nearby Kinneil Churchyard) – was once home to the powerful Hamilton family.

The ancient building also features some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland – and has links to characters such as James Watt and Mary, Queen of Scots.

The free open afternoon will be the last chance for people to see inside Kinneil House (the centrepiece of Kinneil Estate) in 2016. The Friends, in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, will re-open the building again in Spring 2017 with a new series of open days.

A spokesman for The Friends said: “The old house gets quite spooky at this time of year. In fact, you never know what you might discover!

“Hallowe’en open days are always popular at Kinneil and we’re encouraging folks to come along to enjoy the seasonal fun. Children, particularly those in fancy dress, will be very welcome – with a prize for the best-dressed child. However, anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The last admission this year is 3.30 p.m., so don’t be late!”

Kinneil Museum – in the grounds of the surrounding Kinneil Estate – will also be open. The museum features relics dating back to Roman times, as well video displays and hands-on exhibits. There will also be a pop-up cafe, selling drinks and snacks.

* Kinneil House, Museum, and Estate are on the western edge of Bo’ness, just off the A993 (Dean Road) – the main road through Bo’ness. The postcode for the site is EH51 0PR. For maps, and more information, visit You’ll also find updates on social media: and

Download the 2016 poster here

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