VENTNOR Winter Gardens is opening its doors with guided tours behind the scenes this weekend.

Tours of the iconic Art Deco building will take place from 1pm to 5pm, on Saturday and Sunday, as part of English Heritage’s Open Days scheme.

The building opened as the Winter Gardens Pavilion in August 1936, arguably too quickly as the paint had not dried in the concert hall, resulting in members of the audience being “daubed in paint.”

Since then it has been at the centre of Ventnor life.

On the tour, people will hear about The Who and David Bowie’s success on the Winter Gardens stage, how Dick Emery came to the Winter Gardens for a summer season and left with a wife and the touching gift given by the town to the Queen when she visited the Winter Gardens.

The Winter Gardens was always in public ownership but went into decline and was finally closed by the Isle of Wight Council in 2011.

It is now a private enterprise and has recently reopened the first floor balcony and second floor roof terrace.

Tours are free, you don’t need a ticket, just turn up at the Winter Gardens in Pier Street.