Great weekend chance to tour Kinneil House for free

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Historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness is opening its doors for free tours on Saturday coming (April 27), with a bonus trip to see inventor James Watt’s cottage workshop.

The A-listed mansion. said to boast some of the finest Renaissance wall paintings in Scotland, will be open from noon to 4pm (last admission 3.30 pm).

Tickets for House tours will be available on the day from Kinneil Museum (in front of the House).

Ian Shearer, chairman of the Friends of Kinneil, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to Kinneil on April 27.

“The House is an amazing building, steeped in history. Our volunteer guides will be on hand to take people through the main tower and palace section, and tell Kinneil’s story.

“We’re also looking forward to providing additional guided tours to the cottage workshop used by James Watt.

“The cottage is one of the most significant historical sites along the John Muir Way. Exactly 250 years ago, this was where Watt secretly tested his newly-patented steam engine.

“This invention revolutionised industry and the world.”

Meanwhile the surrounding Kinneil Estate, now a public park, features the remains of a medieval church and also a Roman fortlet, once part of the Antonine Wall.

The current House is thought to date from the 1500s and was home to the powerful Dukes of Hamilton.

In later years it fell into decline and the House and parklands were sold to Bo’ness Town Council in the 1920s.

Demolition work within the main House started in the 1930s, but was halted when the Renaissance wall paintings were discovered.

The building was put into the care of the Ministry of Works – now Historic Environment Scotland (HES)– and opened to the public. However regular openings ended in the 1980s due to low visitor numbers.

In 2006, The Friends of Kinneil was established, and it has worked with HES to increase public access to the House and promote the development of the surrounding estate and area.

In 2016 it won a Scottish Heritage Angel Award for its activities.