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European Heritage Days 2021 - explore more

Whether you want to explore medieval palaces or industrial mining pits, iconic libraries, or innovative artworks this month you are spoilt for choice! Yes, European Heritage Days are back. We’ve been highlighting all the free joyful events here in England but there's even more to explore beyond our borders - here’s a taste of what’s happening elsewhere in the UK.

Over 50 countries across Europe take part in the joint initiative by the Council of Europe & European Union. Each runs the festival a little differently but all aim to bring you new, often exclusive, opportunities to explore our fantastic heritage.

Scotland – Doors Open Days

Throughout September - Organised by Scottish Civic Trust with Scottish Archaeology Month

Explore 8 acres of glorious gardens at Amisfield / © Tom Parnell (Flikr)

  • Glorious gardens of Amisfield -  Over the past 14 years volunteers have been reclaiming 8 acres of wilderness, reawakening a lost 18th century walled garden for the benefit of the local community. Come see what they've uncovered.
  • A library holds more than books - Go behind the scenes of Scotland’s largest library, not just to see more books than you can dream of, but also perhaps, take a peek at the mysterious ‘Void’! Alternatively stay safe at home and check out their online activities including workshops with the maps team.
  • Something Smashing at Maryhill Burgh Halls - There’s music, and there’s dance, there’s beautifully choreographed performances, but then there is the magic of spontaneous improvisation. Watch what happens as two artforms collide in a joyful exploration of this newly renovated site.

Wales – Open Doors Days

Throughout September - Organised by CADW

Do you dare enter the Giantess's Apronful?! / © Jeff Buck (Geograph)

  • The Giantess's Apronful - Book a tour to explore this stunning cliff top site. Barclodiad y Gawres Burial Chamber is known locally as The Giantess’s Apronful - if you find out why, do come back and tell us!
  • Steam and stars - See Hetty Pit Winding House in steam as volunteers demonstrate the controls. As well as guided tours there will be extra ‘starry’ activities – can you tell your meteorites from your mining ores?
  • St David’s Bishop’s Palace - Take a walk round the spectacular ruins of this state residence for medieval bishops. It was once the height of luxury, reflecting the power of the Church.

Northern Ireland – European Heritage Open Days

6-12 September - Organised by Dept. for Communities

Discover more beyond the walls of the enchanting Enniskillen Castle / © Matt Dean (Flikr)

  • The fortress of Fermanagh - Guarding one of the few passes into Ulster, the strategic siting of Enniskilllen Castle 600 years ago makes for a stunning location today. 
  • Hidden History of the Old Churchyard - 1 video : 600 years of history! Take a tour through the centuries at speed and consider plans for the future of this old church yard in Ballymena.
  • Historic holiday homes - The Landmark Trust opens hundreds of fantastic sites for Heritage Open Days, but it doesn’t stop at the border… this is a virtual tour of one of the Irish Landmark Trust's properties, a 19th century corn mill.

Find out more