Heritage Open Days return in September

Heritage Open Days (HODs) returns this September with thousands of free events and experiences. Brought to you by the National Trust, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and run by thousands of local organisations and volunteers, HODs brings people together to celebrate their heritage, community and history.

From historic houses to factories, museums to music halls, formal gardens to graveyards, places, spaces and communities across the country will again host free events this autumn.

Hundreds of activities will adopt this year’s theme, Creativity Unwrapped, sharing England’s colourful history of creativity. The festival will celebrate the experts and enthusiastic amateurs whose passions and skills add something special to our daily lives.

Liam Montgomery, Heritage Open Days Marketing & Projects Manager said: “Whether it’s art, music, writing, or another outlet, creativity moves us and shapes our history and culture. We’re excited to put the spotlight on the people and places who give England’s heritage the X-factor and inspire festival-goers to engage with thousands of years of creativity”

The Oak Room at Lamport Hall
The Oak Room at Lamport Hall in Northampton – credit Matt Clayton

The festival will again feature thousands of events and activities across the country:

Organisers participating for the first time, or offering new events, include Lamport Hall in Northampton, whose skilled conservators will be on-hand for a chat. Join a walking tour of Garforth in West Yorkshire to learn about the town’s coal mining history or enjoy a ride across London on a vintage omnibus, thanks to the London Bus Museum.

A wide range of organisers that usually charge for events, free sites that put on extra special events for the festival and places that aren’t usually open to the public will take part again this year. Early highlights include the National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Nottinghamshire’s family-friendly (8 years+) and interactive exhibition ‘The Journey’, walking tours of the Royal Northern College of Music Collection in Manchester, and the award-winning Archaeology on Prescription project at Willow House in York.

Hundreds of organisers will embrace the festival’s theme of Creativity Unwrapped, such as London’s Museum of Brands, which will screen nostalgic television adverts from Heritage Brands. Renowned 18th-Century poet, William Cowper, will be celebrated by way of a 24-hour ‘poemathon’ at his former home in Buckinghamshire. Plus the costumed characters of the Ancient House Museum in Norfolk will uncover the historic items made by river power.

Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life in Norfolk – credit Norfolk Museums Service

Founded in 1994, Heritage Open Days has captured imaginations for almost 30 years. Last year more than 45,000 organisers and volunteers ran nearly 5,000 events across the country, attracting one million visits. Around one-third of visitors had not visited a heritage site/event in the past year while 80% of festival-goers said their visit made them more proud of their local area.

Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said, “This is a fantastic opportunity to explore, celebrate, and enjoy England’s national heritage, and it’s wonderful that our players are helping to ensure Heritage Open Day events are accessible and free for all. In fact, Postcode Lottery players have now raised over £1.1 billion to support thousands of great causes, including this amazing event and many others run by the National Trust.”