Venture behind the doors for a journey through our history

Explore the beauty of St Cyrus Nature Reserve. Credit: Lorne Gill/Scottish Natural Heritage.
Explore the beauty of St Cyrus Nature Reserve. Credit: Lorne Gill/Scottish Natural Heritage.

Lighthouses, rural mills, an 18th century but ’n’ ben and a castle are just some of the venues people in Aberdeenshire can explore as part of Doors Open Days in September.

If you ever fancied having a look inside these properties now is your chance as they will be accessible to the public for the annual event on September 16 and 17.

Visitors can pop in to Drum Castle. Pic: National Trust for Scotland.

Visitors can pop in to Drum Castle. Pic: National Trust for Scotland.

Some 38 properties will be joining in the fun across Aberdeenshire, from Fraserburgh to Banchory and Stonehaven to St Cyrus.

And many will be opening their doors for the first time as part of Scotland’s largest free annual architectural event which is co-ordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust. Doors Open Days gives access to hundreds of fascinating buildings, right across Scotland.

As well as properties opening their doors, there will be a guided tour of Deeside Brewery, a historic talk at Benholm Kirk, a poetry walk at the SNH nature reserve in St Cyrus and a demo at Stonehaven Fire Station.

Councillor Peter Argyle, chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, said: “Doors Open Day is a fantastic opportunity to see some of the hidden architectural and historical gems that we are lucky enough to have in our area.

People can also head along to Maggie's Hoosie for Doors Open Days.

People can also head along to Maggie's Hoosie for Doors Open Days.

“I am pleased to see some of our local businesses are getting on board – a tour of a craft brewery will be a great way to spend an hour or two.”

Highlights for Aberdeenshire South on Saturday, September 16, include the National Trust for Scotland taking part for the first time.

It will be opening beautiful Drum Castle to visitors with more than 700 years of history for them to discover and explore.

Peter added: “I am delighted to see that the National Trust for Scotland is taking part for the first time this year, opening up Drum Castle to the public.

The Lewis Grassic Gibbon Centre, Arbuthnott is also taking part in the event. Pic: Creative Commons Licence � Copyright Douglas Nelson .

The Lewis Grassic Gibbon Centre, Arbuthnott is also taking part in the event. Pic: Creative Commons Licence � Copyright Douglas Nelson .

“With nearly 700 years of history contained within its walls there should be plenty to interest everyone.”

Once you’ve explored the castle, it’s worth the eight mile drive to Deeside Brewery as it’s offering tours of the craft beer producing brewery followed by a meet and greet with some spectacular highland cows which have a very special role in the beer making process!

People can visit four Doors Open Days venues in Stonehaven –the 16th century Tolbooth Museum, the newly restored town clock tower, the fire station and RNLI lifeboat station.

Set to be another sure-fire hit with visitors is the spectacular Tod Head Lighthouse which is now a private home.

Situated on the dramatic Catterline coastline, the owners will be on hand to show visitors to the 15 metre tall lighthouse tower where they can enjoy unrestricted views.

A stone’s throw from Tod Head Lighthouse, Kinneff Old Kirk will be ready to welcome people into the 17th century hiding place for Scotland’s crown jewels.

A wee detour to Arbuthnott is then a must for fans of James Leslie Mitchell, the novelist of the Mearns – arguably better known as Lewis Grassic Gibbon – as the centre is also throwing its doors open.

Or for those who prefer life on the ocean wave, a visit to Johnshaven is always a delight.

Villagers will be more than happy to welcome tourists to the Heritage Hub where they can find out more about this beautiful and still traditional fishing village.

A short drive up the coast, visitors can spend time in the Benholm conservation area or visit the working meal mill and historic kirk.

Heading back down the coast, visitors shouldn’t miss the SNH nature reserve at St Cyrus which is hosting a poetry walk around its stunning grounds.

On Sunday, September 17, highlights for Aberdeenshire North include a historic bus tour of Fraserburgh.

People can also visit Fraserburgh Heritage Centre with over 20 hands-on activities to enjoy.

Centre staff have kindly organised a guided bus tour of Fraserburgh’s conservation area.

While there, why not take in the Old Parish Church and United Reformed Church as guides will be on hand to show you around.

Just six minutes along the road, visitors can experience a working meal mill in Sandhaven before popping up the road to Peathill Kirk to view the magnificently carved Laird’s Loft.

Another venue well worth a visit is Maggie’s Hoosie at Inverallochy, where people can step back in time inside a traditional but ’n’ ben cottage – untouched since the last occupant left.