About Us

12 August 2019

Increased access to Kinneil House

We have increased access to Kinneil House in Bo’ness as part of our ongoing partnership with the Friends of Kinneil and Falkirk Community Trust.

General view of Kinneil House

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. These open days link with wider initiatives taking place locally at Kinneil Estate, including James Watt celebrations (August) and Big Roman Week (September)

The new operating model will also see HES stewards trained to deliver some of the tours for visitors.

Stuart Holmes, Regional Visitor Operations Manager at HES said:

We are really pleased to have secured additional staffing to enable more open days. We 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 situated house which dates back to the 16th 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 25 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 the House opening hours for the free tours, which are now provided between 10am and 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."

The museum is kindly providing welfare facilities to HES staff and Friends of Kinneil volunteers.

In addition to the general open days, there is flexibility within the model to provide additional talks and tours by arrangement for special interest and education groups. With nearly 2,000 years of history dating back to Roman occupation,, Kinneil House and Estate offer the perfect setting for a variety of themes to be explored.

Kinneil House will be open on the below dates. Tours are free but booking in advance is essential.

  • Friday 23 August
  • Sunday 25 August (Bicentenary of the death of James Watt)
  • Saturday 14 September (Doors Open Day and first day of Big Roman Week)
  • Saturday 21 September
  • Saturday 5 October
  • Saturday 30 November
  • Sunday 1 December

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

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For further information, please contact:

Dean Hendry
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct line: 0131 668 8714
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