Yesterday was the first of December and that means two things. Firstly, Silly Season is officially underway and pretty much anything can be justified with the phrase ‘oh go on then, it’s Christmas’. Secondly, it’s time to begin the Christmas countdown by opening a door each day on an Advent Calendar. But it’s not just about the chocolate filled sort of countdown, if you are in Edinburgh during December it is possible to take part in a real life Advent experience by getting involved in the city’s 24 Doors of Advent experience.


Each day from the first until the twenty-fourth of December, a different venue will open its doors to visitors, creating a real life Advent experience that highlights some of the city’s unique and interesting buildings. Day one kicked off at the Dovecot Studios, located in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

The Dovecot Studio is housed in the old Infirmary Street Baths building. Built in 1885, these were Edinburgh’s first public baths. What was once the main swimming pool is now home to the Dovecot Tapestry Studio, an internationally renowned producer of tapestry and rugs. Walking around the elevated balcony, visitors can look down onto the work area and view the looms and artist’s space.

Things Helen Loves, former public baths now converted to an exhibition space and workshop
Former site of the main swimming pool, now home to a tapestry workshop.

On the walls around  the viewing balcony, there is a wealth of information about the work that is done at the studios and the buildings past. I loved the textile piece that paid tribute to the sites former use as a baths. It’s nice to think that the studios didn’t just take over the building but also adopted some of its heritage and wove it with their own.

Things Helen Loves image of girl in front of textile art work
A creative nod to the buildings former use.

In the spirit of preserving memories of the buildings past, a tiled piece of wall remains and visitors with memories of using the baths are invited to share their thoughts and recollections. A nice touch.

Things Helen Loves, Blue Post=It notes on a white tiled background

Every space in the building has been kindly restored and thoughtfully used, including the stairwell. The Stairwell Weave- In climbs up the frame of the stairway and was created in-situ over a two days. Very creative and very eye-catching.

Things Helen Loves, image of colourful woven artwork round a stairwell.
The Stairwell Weave In

The Dovecot Studio is also home to a gift shop, cafe and a calendar of events across the year. Details can be found on the website.

Full details of the 24 Doors of Advent can be found here. Exploring the Advent Doors is a great way to discover hidden corners and heritage gems within the city, and to catch a glimpse of the places you might not usually think to visit. As a newcomer to the city, its a great way to get out and get to know the place. I look forward to opening a few more Advent Doors, of both the heritage and chocolate filled variety. Well, it’s all about balance, isn’t it?






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