Doors Open Days 2020 goes Digital!

Doors Open Days is going digital this year!

Scotland’s biggest free festival of architecture will present its largest ever digital offering this September, as we celebrate Scotland’s buildings and stories online, through tours, lectures, DIY learning events and more.

We’re responding to current concerns surrounding COVID-19 by making Doors Open Days 2020 more digital so that people across Scotland and the world can continue to safely explore Scotland’s buildings, spaces and places. A limited number of venues will still be open for physical visits this year, but we expect most people will enjoy new and cherished Scottish sites from the comfort of their armchair!

All across Scotland, we’re harnessing the good will and spirit of adventure of local organisations to create unique content that will inspire, educate and amuse anyone with an interest in buildings. Last year virtual visitors could scale the heights of Paisley Abbey and our Young Advisory Panel staged Instagram takeovers – what digital discoveries will you make this year?

We’re asking venues and groups to produce a wide range of online offerings, such as Facebook and Instagram Live guided tours, recorded oral histories, webinars, 360-degree tours, virtual exhibitions, question and answer sessions and more. If you’re interested in joining in, we have compiled some great resources and ideas for venues and organisations  that will help you take the first steps.

We’ll be hosting everything here on the Doors Open Days website, from where you’ll be able to explore nooks and crannies in venues large and small across Scotland this September.

The Scottish Civic Trust will also be creating a weekly zine highlighting all of the exciting digital events and tours on a region-by-region basis, which will be sent out through Doors Open Days’ social media channels and e-bulletin.  Make sure to sign up to receive your zine!

Ticket booking systems only for physical access to venues

We only encourage people to access buildings where the venue operators are confident it is safe to do so. The small number of events and buildings that will be open for physical visits will use a ticketing system to monitor and ensure safe access according to the most current social distancing guidelines.  Numbers of visitors will be limited and monitored in line with the latest government recommendations appropriate to the Phase of lockdown in Scotland and the requirements of their and our insurers.


Director of the Scottish Civic Trust, Dr Susan O’Connor, said:

We’re delighted to encourage our venues to become more digital this year through Doors Open Days - it’s the best way to reach a broader range of people with Scotland’s unique heritage, both at home and across the world. In particular we’re looking forward to helping our beautiful buildings and places become more accessible to those who wouldn’t normally be able to take part in Doors Open Days for physical or cultural reasons. Making the built environment easier for everyone to enjoy is a core part of what we do.

Chair of Scottish Civic Trust, Colin McLean, said:

We at Scottish Civic Trust are excited to support the new direction for this year’s Doors Open Days as a digital festival. By taking the festival online we are not only keeping our venues and communities safe, but offering support to organisations across Scotland to develop their digital literacy. We hope that our support will give venues confidence to have a continued online presence, and that digital engagement will become a mainstay of heritage outreach in the years to come.

Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland, Alex Paterson, said:

Providing a strong digital platform for this year’s Doors Open Day activities is a great way of ensuring people can enjoy different aspects of Scotland’s rich historic architectural heritage.

Since the onset of Covid-19, we have all had to adapt to new ways of doing things, with technology playing a key role in helping achieve that, and again, here we see another great example of that in action with this year’s event.

I would like to applaud the team at Doors Open Days on their creative thinking here and we at HES are proud to again be part of this fantastic annual celebration of our heritage.