Do something new: Top 10 ideas for organisers

Looking for that special something to illuminate your event or programme this year? We have compiled a top 10 ideas for organisers, packed with links to our resources and a taster of some of the fantastic events we have seen registered this year..…

© Heritage Open Days -

  • 1. Work with someone new. There’s nothing like a new influence to add a fresh perspective to your place. Contact your local historian, archaeologist, arts association, friends group or even just get family or friends involved.  And if you haven’t already, check out our opportunities with RIBA and Family Arts Campaign.
  • 2. Open up something hidden. Are their tunnels underneath your shop? Rooms unseen by the public? Cellars, attics or trap doors with a story? Fling wide the doors! St Helen's will be revealing Beecham's clock tower for the first time in years, with a performance installation.
  • 3. At a different time. If you usually open in the day, why not hold an evening event? Put on a concert, get a live band in, share your local stories with an open mic night. Here is a sneak preview of what you can expect at Lewes Priory this year, who will be staging an event by candlelight.
  • 4. Reveal your objects. Dust off your old objects and give them centre stage. Now is their time to shine! Look out for Gosport's 'Musical memories', where they will be exhibiting an old manual Compton Cinema Pipe Organ, the last of its kind.
  • 5. Bring some characters to life. Breathe life into your place through the people who used to live there. Expect a few 'Ragged Victorians' roving around Oxford's town and magistrates court.
  • 6. Celebrate an anniversary! What notable person or historical moment is connected to your site? Celebrate them! This year, Mole Valley will be staging readings for the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s’ ‘Emma’.
  • 7. Offer something for children. Whether it is a themed treasure trail, an object handling session or simply a hop scotch or drawing competition, tempt families to visit by offering children's activities! To get started, check out our 'Children's activities' in the organiser area .
  • 8. Serve tea and cake. A small gesture with a warm and lasting impression. Here are just a few recipes from last year to help you.
  • 9. Use social media to market your events. A free and wide-reaching opportunity to grab the attention of potential visitors. Read the social media team's latest blog for top tips and Andrew's latest webinar opportunites.
  • 10. Find creative ways of capturing comments. We will be sharing visitor books in the organiser area  to help you capture your visitors' experiences but why not experiement with different ways: video booths, interactive typewriters and wallpaper doodling? Then take a pic and tell us about it!  #hodsfeedback/ hods.news@heritageopendays.org.uk.

Still stuck?

  • Take a look at our Pinterest boards for inspiration.
  • Have a look at this year’s presentations at out organiser fairs in the organiser area, under ‘event ideas’.
  • Keep up to date with the latest on our Instagram and twitter streams #dsnew and then let us know what you are up to!