Doors Open Days: 10 weird and wonderful places to visit

Doors Open Days, getting under way next month, will allow free public access to rare historic sites across Scotland. From seeing a tower for nesting owlets to creeping under the stage of a famous theatre, here are our 10 weird and wonderful picks.

1. See puppies being put through their paces (Forfar)

Image copyright Guide Dogs Scotland
Image caption At any one point 80-100 pups will be getting trained at the Guide Dog Scotland centre in Forfar.

A training school for puppies, the Guide Dog Centre in Forfar will be welcoming in the dog-loving public. At any one point, 80 to 100 pups could be going through vital assistance dog training and you could get a chance to see it happen.

  • When - September 3, 10:00-15:00

2. Be a dentist for the day (Dundee)

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Visitors can take in tours and try out being a dentist.

Visitors can really get their teeth into a "doors open" trip around Dundee Dental Hospital.

Tours of the building will take in rarely seen artwork by James McIntosh Patrick, as well as stunning stained-glass windows by Douglas Strachan. The event is part of the Dental Hospital and School's Centenary Celebrations.

  • When: September 17, tours hourly from 12:00 - 16:00. (Non-bookable. Visitors should arrive 10 minutes before the tour starts.)

3. Explore the remains of a crypt and medieval hospital (Soutra, south-east of Edinburgh)

Image copyright Doors Open Midlothian
Image caption The site at Soutra Aisle was once the highest monastery in Britain

Soutra Aisle, dating back to 1686, is a family burial vault which was built when the Scottish church banned monuments inside churches.

Visitors can explore the macabre unlocked crypt and marvel at what was once the largest hospital in medieval Scotland. The site sits at an altitude over 360 metres and was the highest monastery in the British Isles.

  • When: September 10, 11:00 - 16:00. (Guided tours provided by the director of investigations.)

4. Have a hoot (Ayrshire)

Image copyright Doors Open Days Ayrshire
Image caption Barn Owl activity has been recorded at the Cote in 2016.

The traditional-looking Owl Cote tower was built in 2008/10 as a nest site for wild barn owls. It looks like it has been a success this year as research from 2016 shows there has been barn owl activity. The question is, will you spot one of these feathery residents when you enter the Ayrshire brick and bottle built round-house?

  • When: 4 September, 10:00-16:00

5. Catch a courtroom drama (Selkirk)

Image copyright Doors Open Days Scottish Borders
Image caption A group of actors will provide high drama in Sir Walter Scott's Court Room.

The thrilling Sir Walter Scott court case re-enactment will have crime, drama, mystery and intrigue. Visitors can watch as Sir Walter Scott presides over a court case involving robbery and a secret liaison.

  • When: 17 September, 14:00. (Entry is free but tickets are limited. You can get them from Scott's Selkirk Shop, Selkirk; from the Museum Service on 01750 20096 or at the door.)

6. Stage fright or star-struck? (Glasgow)

Image copyright Doors Open Days Glasgow
Image caption Visitors can get to see what goes behind-the-scenes at Glasgow's iconic Citizens Theatre.

Sneak backstage and find out what goes on behind the scenes at Glasgow's vibrant Citizens Theatre .

  • When: 12 September. (Tours take place at 10.15, 11.00, 11.45, 12.30, 13.15, 16.00 and 16:30, and are 30 minutes long. Early booking is recommended.)

7. Lights, camera, action

Image copyright Doors Open Days Inverclyde
Image caption Film buffs can make their way to the projection room for the inside cinema scoop.

Greenock Waterfront Cinema will be where it's at for those intrigued by how the big films get on the big screen. Guests will have the chance to tour the projection rooms and find out the ins and outs of how they work.

  • When: 10 September, 10:30 - 22:00 and 11 September, 12:30 - 22:00

8. Before the smart phone

Image copyright BlackAperture/ThinkStock
Image caption Max Femmich's collection shows the days before the mobile phone

Put together by telecommunications enthusiast Max Flemmich, the Darvel: Private Telephone Museum celebrates 100 years of the telephone and includes working installations where visitors can dial on the phone or try tapping out Morse Code.

  • When: 3/4 September, 10:00 - 16:00

9.A whole new universe

Image copyright Doors Open Days Ayrshire
Image caption A coal mine with a makeover: Crawick Multiverse has been transformed into something unique

Crawick Multiverse was an open cast coal mine, but it has now been transformed by Charles Jencks into a breathtaking landscape celebrating space, astronomy and cosmology.

  • When: 4 September, 10:00 - 16:00

10. Lighting the way

Image copyright Doors Open Days Highland Inverness
Image caption Cromarty Lighthouse visitors can hear about Aberdeen's research on seals, dolphins and seabirds.

Cromarty Lighthouse was decommissioned in 2005 and now the Lighthouse Tower, Keeper's Cottage and Old Buoy Store are used for marine research and teaching by the University of Aberdeen.

Visitors will be able to tour the building and meet staff and students to hear about their research on seals, dolphins and seabirds.

  • When: 10 September, 10:00 -16:00

Doors Open Days are running throughout Scotland every weekend in September and are co-ordinated by the Scottish Civic Trust. Head to their website for the full programme.

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