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Places

Doors Open Days in Aberdeenshire gives you free access to a wealth of local architectural gems and functionally fascinating buildings across the area. For one weekend in September you can explore places that are normally closed to the public. Some open up once a year, some just once in a lifetime. Discover the architecture, places and spaces right on your doorstep or explore a new part of the country. For more information visit our facebook page. You can also contact us at doorsopen@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

Our Doors Open Days weekend is 14th and 15th September.

Aberdeenshire

All Saints Episcopal Church, Whiterashes

14-15 September 2019

This Category B listed church was commissioned by Major Ramsay, Laird of Straloch, and was built originally as a church and estate school. When the board school was built in 1876, All Saints was used thereafter as only a church. Major Ramsay’s daughter, who married into the Irvines of Drum Castle, commissioned the 11 stained glass windows and the reredos was designed by Sir Ninian Comper between 1896-1916 (the same architect as St. Margaret’s in Braemar). Each window commemorates members or associates of the family. The Ramsays of Straloch later became the Irvines of Barra and Straloch.. Pamphlets and information will be available and quizzes for children.

Aberdeenshire

Auchtavan Township

15 September 2019

Come and visit the abandoned 18th-19th Century "ferm toun" (farm town) with it's restored cruck farmed cottage. Be prepared for the 2.5 mile (4 km) uphill walk to the site. The settlement of Auchtavan (Gaelic for the field of two kids) is located at the head of Glen Fearder, sitting some 450 metres above sea level and looking across the River Dee to Lochnagar. It is a rare survival of a traditional Highland clachan or fermtoun. Small communities like these were home to countless generations in the centuries before the Industrial Revolution. Most of these settlements have disappeared and their houses now merely a scatter of stones but Auchtavan survived and has been restored. You will be able to visit the hingin lum cottage and the horsemill. The 20th century house on the site, once the Queen Mother's picnic cottage, will also be open for visitors. Auchtavan is situated approximately 6 miles north-east of Braemar. Vehicles can be parked in the lay-by opposite the turn-off signed Aberarder. It is then a 2.5 mile (4 km) up-hill walk to the settlement. The track passes through birch woods and open moorland and can be quite rough, walking shoes and outdoor clothing are recommended.

Aberdeenshire

Ballater Masonic Lodge

14-15 September 2019

Category C Listed, the Lodge was purpose built in 1896 by local builders William Duguid and Son. Ballater Masonic Lodge is a distinctive building with its fine detail apparent in the unusual 2-stage tower. It proves an unusual aspect in the streetscape within surrounding Victorian villas and sitting next to the Victoria Barracks. It is particularly distinguished by the finely decorated Royal Arch Chapter vault which is, with the exception of Aberdeen, the only vault of its kind in the North-East. The paintings within the vault were completed after WWII, in 1948, by a Mr Davidson, from designs by John Maitland. They represent scenes from the Masonic stories of the Royal Arch. This building replaced the earlier Masonic Lodge of Ballater which had been in Church Square. William Duguid and Sons were local builders who also built the Albert Memorial and Victoria Halls and other local houses. Visitors will be able to enter the Main Hall, view photographs and browse through membership records, minute books all going back over 100 years. Masonic Jewels will also be on display.

Aberdeenshire

Banchory Ternan West Church

new

14-15 September 2019

The church is built with pink and white granite from local quarries which belonged to Sir Robert Burnett. It is built in the early English style and is a category C listed building. It's principal feature is a tower 18 feet square rising to a height of 70 feet and then terminating in a slated tower roof making the total height 100 feet. The south end of the church has a gothic triple window and the east and west sides are flanked by buttresses and on the north side behind the pulpit there is a circular window. the original pews on the ground floor were replaced by moveable seating following a major refurbishment in 2013 although the gallery stills has pews to accommodate 200 worshippers. There has been an organ in the sanctuary since 1894. the sanctuary now has superb lighting and the modernised halls, kitchens and toilets provide an excellent facility for use by the local community.

Aberdeenshire

Beannachar Camphill Community

14 September 2019

Staff will be on hand at this hidden delight of a building and extensive grounds to provide information on the campus and the activities that they provide. Beannachar occupies the former ‘Banchory House’, extended and re-designed in 1837 by celebrated local architect John Smith. Within the campus there are several other buildings which might be of interest: Rose House, winner of the Kincardineshire and Deeside award for the best new building in 1994; a turf-roofed, wood-framed straw-bale Games Room; a load-bearing straw-bale building currently under construction which will become our new office; the site of an ancient ‘motte and bailey’ castle, and Pictish stones, originally from Dunnicaer. Not forgetting the beautiful grounds comprising woodland, farmland, lawns, sports field and a wonderful walled garden with flowers, vegetables, fruit and herbs.

Aberdeenshire

Blairs Museum, South Deeside Road, Blairs, Aberdeen

14-15 September 2019

Blairs Museum is located within the former Blairs College site. The museum boasts a stunning collection of fine and decorative art spanning more than 150 years. The unique Memorial Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots and the Royal Stewarts, once on display at the National Museum of Scotland, hangs here alongside Jacobite memorabilia and sacred silver and gold. A new exhibition for 2019 is of Piranesi’s prints ‘Views of Rome’, in the Museum and Cloister. Enjoy the beautiful gothic St Mary’s Chapel with its marble interior dating from 1901, and explore the extensive grounds of the former Blairs College with walled garden and stunning views over the River Dee. Talks from museum guides and refreshments are available. Discover a hidden gem!

Aberdeenshire

Braemar Castle

15 September 2019

Braemar Castle, a tower house construction, was built in 1628, as a Highland Hunting Lodge for the Earl of Mar to replace the crumbling Kindrochit Castle. Burned in 1689 during the first Jacobite Uprising, it was subsequently restored as a garrison for Hanoverian soldiers in 1748. For the past 200 years it has been home to the Chiefs of Clan Farquharson, as well as a number of fascinating tenants. This interesting history offers many tales to tell as you tour the 12 furnished rooms. Now operated by the local community, it has undergone essential repairs, and is now looking to further secure it's future with it's 'Raising the Standard' project to reharl the castle, along with other vital improvements. The castle is a 5 Storey, L Plan structure with a star shaped curtain wall. It is prominently situated on a raised mound on the south side of the River Dee and can be seen as you come into Braemar from the east.

Aberdeenshire

Braemar, Royal Pavilion, Princess Royal & Duke of Fife Memorial Park

new

14-15 September 2019

As part of Doors Open Days 2019, The Braemar Royal Highland Society have agreed to open the Royal Pavilion situated within the Highland Games Park in Braemar. This pavilion is only usually open during the gathering for exclusive use by the Royal Party, and for Doors Open Days will be fully decorated in all the royal resplendent. A rare example of a permanent highland game's structure situated in Braemar which has a long and significant association with the sport. Highland games are held all over Scotland but buildings for the event are usually temporary structures. Therefore, the stands at the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park are unusual in being permanent structures and the Patron's pavilion, the private enclosure

Aberdeenshire

Christ Church, Huntly

14-15 September 2019

The Category B listed Christ Church was built in 1849, designed by Thomas MacKenzie and sits within the conservation Area of Huntly and compliments the other fine buildings in this historic town.? It has an attractive simple nave and chancel, tall narrow lancets and octagonal spirelet; it is harled with freestone dressings including corbel course, global skewputs and bellcote.? There is a wooden Arts and Crafts Altar, carved with panels of the Agnus Dei and two angels, one on either side. Restoration and development of the building under the supervision of a conservation architect was completed in early 2016, following generous grants from The Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland. I

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Area Coordinator

  • Clare Tierney
  • Aberdeenshire Council