Doors Open Day 2023: All the East Fife venues taking part in the popular initiative
The initiative, which takes place across Scotland throughout the month, allows members of the public to uncover hidden gems and experience familiar places through fresh eyes, all for free. It’s a chance to celebrate community heritage and the built environment, while visiting some interesting and historic buildings.
As in previous years, venues across the Kingdom will be opening their doors on different weekends of the month depending on their location.
Those venues in East Fife are first to welcome visitors taking part over the weekend of September 2 and 3. Buildings in Central Fife will be open on September 9 and 10 and in West Fife they will be open on September 16 and 17.
For more information on any of the venues, or to book places where required, visit www.doorsopendays.org.uk
1940s House, Cupar (September 2 & 3) – Built in 1936 as a comfortable modern home, this private dwelling house has survived with only limited modernisation. It is sympathetically decorated and fitted out with original furniture and appliances; a living time-capsule of the sights, sounds and smells of a 1940s home. Guided tours must be booked in advance.
Auld Kirk, Tayport (September 3) – A religious site since 1607, the Auld Kirk’s present structure dates from 1794. It is one of the oldest buildings in Tayport and an important local landmark, in particular because of its distinctive leaning clock tower. The impressive John Miller organ was built and installed in 1899 in a newly created bay. Open from 10am to 4pm, a guided tour will take place at 2pm.
Boarhills Doocot (September 2 & 3, 2pm-5pm) – The doocot was acquired by Boarhills and Dunino Community Trust as part of a project to create a village green space. The typical 18th century Fife lectern style doocot was in a ruinous condition but has now been restored. Teas, children’s competitions and an exhibition about the doocots will be available in the village hall.
Cambo Gardens (September 2 & 3, 10am-5pm) – The visitor centre and gardens are open every day, but for the Doors Open Days guided tours are taking place throughout the weekend. These will be led by Robin Evetts, a Cambo Heritage Trustee and former Historic Buildings Inspector for Fife, to bring to life stories from the Cambo documentary archives and early photographic records. Pre-booking for tour slots is essential.
Crail Church, Crail (September 2 & 3, 2pm-5pm) – The historic church opens its doors to show its special features including a finely sculpted Pictish cross-slab, from about the 8th century and an oil painting of a mariner which dates from about 1756. Admire the stained glass windows and the Fife Chair, which was gifted to the church in 1901. Guided tours are running throughout the days.
Cupar County Buildings, Cupar (September 2, 11am – 4pm) – Cupar County Buildings is a major example of civic architecture combining the historical functions of council chamber and courthouse.
Dreel Halls, Anstruther (September 3, 11am-5pm) – Dreel Halls comprises community and events spaces in a historic complex of buildings including an 18th century tollbooth and 19th century church nave. Take a tour of the 16th century Category A listed St Nicholas tower and, weather permitting, step out onto the parapet for stunning views over Anstruther and out to the Isle of May.
Fife Folk Museum, Ceres (September 2 & 3, 10am-3pm) – The museum features exhibits related to Everyday Rural Life, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Medicine, Social History and Land Transport. Pop into the museum to explore a collection of obscure objects and curious curios. Guided tours of the museum will be run every hour from 10am. Guided tours of Ceres village begin at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm (booking advisable)
Isle of May, from Anstruther (September 2, 2.15pm-7.15pm; September 3, 3pm-8pm) – Staff from NatureScot Heritage will show you the full range of the island’s unique facilities. Discover how, besides its deep religious heritage and its marine wildlife, the Isle of May is unique in spanning the whole history of light houses around Scotland. The ferry is not part of the free element of Doors Open Day and all places must be booked in advance. Trips include two and a half to three hours on the island.
Kenly Green Doocot (September 2 & 3, 2pm-5pm) – Kenlygreen Doocot was gifted to St Andrews Preservation Trust by Frank Roger in the 1980s, after which work was carried out to conserve it. The building probably dates to the 17th century. Teas, children’s competitions and an exhibition about the doocots will be available in the village hall.
Kingsbarns Parish Church (September 3, 1.30pm-4.30pm) – Discover the history of this old church, where worship has been held since 1631. Explore the churchyard and enjoy organ recitals and favourite hymns throughout the afternoon. There will be a children’s quiz. A walk round the village will leave from the church gates at 3pm.
Lodge St Andrew No 25, Masonic Halls, Town Hall, St Andrews (September 2, 10am-4pm) – Lodge St Andrew No 25 is considered one of the ancient lodges that predate the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The lodge room was originally the attic of the Town Hall and has been used by Lodge St Andrew No 25 since 1896.
Monimail Tower, Monimail (September 3, 10am-4pm) – Monimail Tower Project is a small charity taking care of a beautiful walled garden and orchard set around Monimail Tower, which dates back to the 13th century and is a former residence of the Archbishops of St Andrews.
Our Lady Star of the Sea, Tayport (September 3, 1pm-4pm) – Our Lady Star of the Sea was designed by Reginald Fairlie (1883-1952). The east gable faces the street with an arched window and cross on the apex. The entrance is under an octagonal tower with a slated spire. The dominant style is Scottish Gothic.
St Athernase, Leuchars (September 2 & 3, 1.30pm-4pm) – The chancel and apse of the church are considered amongst the best surviving 12thC Romanesque buildings in Scotland. See the history of the many changes in the building written in its fabric, and find out plans for its future. Guided tours of the church will be held throughout the day.
St John the Evangelist, Pittenweem (September 2 & 3, 10am-4pm) – Explore this 19th century Episcopal church built next door to the ancient Priory of Pittenweem.
St Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Tayport (September 3, 1pm-4pm) – St Margaret’s is a picturesque building of buttressed red brick, designed in late Victorian Gothic style by Dundee architect Thomas Martin Cappon in 1896.
St Monans Auld Kirk, St Monans (September 2 & 3, 2pm-5pm) – The Auld Kirk, St Monans dates from the mid-fourteenth century when it was founded by King David II. It has been in almost constant use as a place of worship and pilgrimage since then, although it has found other uses over the years too, most notably as stables for Oliver Cromwell’s horses!
Tayport Burgh Chambers, Tayport (September 2 & 3, 10am-4pm) – Converted from a former private residence in 1952 the old Tayport Burgh Chambers are still used by the Community Council. Take the opportunity to visit the old JP Courtroom and view pictures, historical maps, information, regalia and documents.
Tayport Parish Church, Tayport (September 3, 2pm-4pm) – The church buildings in Tayport tell the story of how the Scottish Presbyterian church has developed over the centuries.The church is set within garden grounds and was built in the Victorian Gothic-style. See how all the other church buildings fit in to the tale of the development of Christianity in Tayport.
The Byre Theatre, St Andrews (September 2, 11am-4pm) – Enjoy tours, talks, displays and meet the Byre Team. 2023 marks the Byre’s 90th anniversary. Guided tours 'behind the scenes' run throughout the day, booking is essential.