Heritage Open Days – England’s largest festival of history and culture – is returning this September, giving you the chance to explore venues up and down the country for free.
Running from 10th-19th September, the festival sees more than 2,000 local people and organisations join forces with thousands of volunteers to allow exploration of these venues – and some sites will offer access to areas that are normally restricted to the public too.
Where will you be visiting? If you’re undecided, we’ve rounded up 8 great picks for you to consider during Heritage Open Days…
Albury Organic Vineyard
Address: Albury Vineyard, Shere Road, Albury, Guildford, Surrey, GU5 9BW
Visitors to Surrey’s only organic vineyard can embark on a self-guided tour around the site. This includes getting to see 15,000 vines that were only planted in May – the first time visitors will be able to see this new vineyard. You can also try some of the new releases from the vineyard too.
No booking is required for the self-guided tour but if you would like a table for drinks, it is recommended you reserve one by contacting [email protected].
© Heritage Open Days / Chris Lacey
The event will run on Saturday 18th September and Sunday 19th September, from 11am-5pm.
Lulworth Castle and Park
Address: Lulworth Castle, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QS
Follow in the footsteps of royalty and explore the 17th Century Lulworth Castle. A visit to Lulworth will let you take in some wonderful landscapes, a beautiful 18th century Roman Catholic Chapel and witness stunning views from the Castle’s tower.
The event runs on Wednesday 15th September and Thursday 16th September, 10:30am-4pm both days.
Hylands House and Estate
Address: Hylands House, London Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 8WQ
Take in the wonderful Hylands House as the site reveals its history. An exhibition on display in the Library looks at the servants who worked on the Estate and in the House, while you can stock up on delicious fresh food and drink thanks to The Farmers & Crafts Market.
The event runs on Sunday 19th September, between 10am-4pm.
A Medieval Day in Dore
Address: Dore Village Green, Savage Lane, Dore, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Medieval re-enactors are to take to Dore’s ancient village green, as knights, archers, ladies and squires transport you back to the 13th century. Living history displays and activities for all ages will culminate in a tournament of arms in the medieval arena, as you discover what life was like for the people of Dore.
The event runs on Sunday 12th September between 11am-4pm.
All Saints’ Church Ascot Heath
Address: All Saints Church, London Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 8DQ
Built in 1864, All Saints’ Church Ascot Heath is a beautiful grade 2 listed Victorian parish church, originally designed by T H Rushforth. Highlights include the stunning ceiling and wall paintings within the nave and chancel, while there are other Victorian features to enjoy.
The Church will be open on Saturday 11th September between 10am-4:30pm. A maximum of 10 people are allowed per tour, which are expected to last between 30 to 45 minutes.
Alnwick Town Hall
Address: Alnwick Market Place, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1HS
Built for the Alnwick Freemen, the Alnwick Town Hall dates back from 1736, where it was built on the site of an old tollbooth – the clock tower was then added in 1767. The hall would hold quarter sessions, along with county and manor courts, alongside the meetings of the Freemen of Alnwick.
Information panels will be on display within the hall, recording the differing Guilds such as the Cordwainers, Tanners and Glovers.
The event will run on Saturday 11th September between 12pm-4pm.
Bell Tower Tours
Address: Carlisle Cathedral, The Abbey, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 8TZ
Climb the 137 steps to the bell tower to discover how the bells ring out at Carlisle Cathedral. You’ll also get to enjoy a stunning view of the Eastern window’s medieval glass, along with the Ewan Christian ceiling and Father Willis organ.
The event will run on Saturday 11th September. Tours take one hour and are scheduled for 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. Pre-booking is required – booking is available on the day from 10am.
Ashtead Rye Meadows Wetlands
Address: 1 Fairholme Crescent, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 2HN
Volunteers have worked to create a wetland area along the Rye Brook over the last 10 years. During this period, they have planted a Jubilee Wood, reshaped the river banks and encouraged the biodiversity of the area by creating ponds and scrapes. There is also a special Centenary Field which commemorates the Ashtead residents who fell during the Great War.
You will be able to visit the Centenary Field – where there is a specially set aside area for picnicking – before continuing on through fields alongside the Rye Brook to reach Ashtead Woods Road.
The event runs from Fri 10th-Sun 19th, 10am-4pm each day.
There’s certainly a lot on throughout Heritage Open Days – where are you thinking of attending? Let us know by tweeting us at @pmotorhome – we can’t wait to hear about what you got up to!
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