Image for Doors Open Day at John Knox House

Visit John Knox House for Free

Explore this medieval house steeped in Scottish History for free as part of Doors Open Day
Saturday 28 September | 10am – 6pm

As you step into John Knox House you’ll be transported back to one of the most turbulent times in Scottish History – the Scottish Reformation – which not only changed the official religion of Scotland from Catholicism to Protestantism, but also resulted in the outbreak of civil war and the abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots.

The exhibition takes you on a journey up the turnpike stairs and through each of the rooms of the house, giving you a taster of medieval life whilst also learning about defining moments in Scottish History.

“Beautiful historic medieval beauty.” TripAdvisor Review, 22 September 2013.

You’ll learn about the Scottish Reformation and how that has impacted on our lives today. Take a seat on our church pews in the Reformation Room and listen the powerful sermons of John Knox that changed the beliefs of thousands of Scottish inhabitants. You’ll also experience the hate-fuelled relationship between John Knox and Mary, Queen of Scots. Eavesdrop on their arguments to find out what they really thought of each other!

Comedy saftely warning in John Knox HouseYou’ll also be introduced to James Mossman, who lived in the house in the 1550s until his execution in 1573. He was the jeweller, goldsmith and the keeper of the Royal Mint for the Stuart Kings and Queens. James was extremely loyal to Mary, Queen of Scots, and was part of the ‘Queen’s Men’ who seized Edinburgh Castle in 1568 in an attempt to restore Mary to the throne after her forced abdication in favour of her protestant son, James VI.

As well as learning about these famous characters in Scottish History, the house has lots of hidden gems to discover. See if you can spot the tricks and traps to fool medieval intruders; find your star sign on the beautifully painted ceiling of the Oak Room; piece together our picture puzzels; locate the Halloween carving from 1561; find the timecapsule from 1856 that contains collated works of John Knox; and marvel at the original 17th century Dutch tiles used to decorate the fireplaces throughout the house.

How to book your free tickets

Tickets are available every half hour from 10am – 6pm, with a limited number of tickets available to book in advance. If you would like to pre-book a time slot please visit us in person or call our box office on 0131 556 9579. More tickets for each time slot will be released on the day (Saturday 28 September) which can only be booked in person.