Doors Open Day: Scotland’s whisky heritage

Doors Open Day falls on the weekend of the 28th-29th September in 2019, and there are some very exciting venues lined up to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes of Scotland’s history and heritage.

What is Doors Open Day?

Doors Open Day runs throughout September and gives people living and visiting Scotland the chance to explore venues, buildings and places of interest that are usually closed to the public (or are open with more limited hours). Many venues have tours and walk-throughs running throughout the day, and best of all, it’s completely free of charge!

But which one to choose?

Well, naturally we couldn’t resist putting together a list of venues open this weekend (28th-29th) that have a link to Scotland’s whisky heritage! Read on for some ideas…

Georgian Antiques


Set in Pattison Street in the heart of Leith, an area of Edinburgh that was once home to a booming whisky industry, this Victorian building was once a purpose-built bonded warehouse, where the infamous Pattison brothers trained 500 parrots to say “Buy Pattisons’ Whisky!”  For decades Abbot’s Choice was matured here until it close in 1985. On Doors Open Day you can watch the process of cleaning and polishing the antique furniture prior to sale, something that requires a huge amount of finesse to get right. And if you head up to the Scotch Whisky Experience afterwards, a bottle of Abbot’s Choice is the very first bottle you’ll spot as you enter our Whisky Collection!

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The Maltings, Cramond

Cramond seafront - things to do in Edinburgh

Although more closely linked with Cramond’s brewing heritage (the Maltings are connected to the Royal Oak Inn, a pub and brewhouse that was built in the 17th century), anyone who’s taken a whisky tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience will know that malting the barley is an integral part of the whisky-making process.  Many distilleries have a combined brewing and distilling history and, while the majority of malting is rarely done onsite at distilleries nowadays, a chance to see the layout of a traditional maltings building should never be passed up.

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Royal Auxiliary Air Force

A chance to take a guided the Victorian mansion of whisky distiller Arthur Sanderson, now the headquarters of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (since 1925). As a big player in the 1800s whisky industry, Arthur Sanderson collected plenty of fine art to decorate his home, testament to the enduring popularity of Scotch!

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Entrance sign for Glenkinchie distillery

Known as the Edinburgh Malt, Glenkinchie is one of the Lowlands’ most famous distilleries. Set in the beautiful rolling countryside just 45 minutes from central Edinburgh, Glenkinchie has just extended its visitor centre area, leaving lots more room for whisky tastings and special bottlings to go on display. On Doors Open Day, explore the distillery’s exhibition area detailing the history of whisky in the Lothians, and maybe even take a distillery tour to complete your weekend.

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>>> Click here to learn about what it’s like to take a whisky tour at Glenkinchie Distillery

Burns Monument

The Burns Monument, Regent Terrace, Edinburgh

OK, so this isn’t strictly whisky-related, but we do know that Robert Burns loved a dram (with whisky featuring in many of his poems).  He know plenty about whisky having been a farmer and also customs officer,  so we couldn’t resist including this one in the list. The Burns Monument sits on Regent’s Terrace, overlooking Arthur’s Seat and across the beautiful city of Edina. Doors Open Day will see performances of Burns’ songs and poems from local schoolchildren and members and friends of Edinburgh and District Burns Clubs.

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>>> Click here to take a Rabbie Burns-inspired walk through Edinburgh

Custom House Leith

A neo-classical building, again set in the bustling port area of Leith, Custom House was built in the 1800s and was where duty was paid on imported or exported cargo. Again, while not strictly whisky, you can bet a fair amount of Scotch was signed, sealed and delivered via this auspicious old building. On Doors Open Day, visitors will get the chance to explore Chris Rutterford’s Mural Exhibition, part of Custom House’s new lease of life as a creative space.

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Have fun exploring Scotland on Doors Open Day! Use the hashtag #DoorsOpenDay to check in and see how different venues and attractions are celebrating.

Learn more about Doors Open Day here.

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