Fantastic Family Friendly Events

Finding events that the whole family can enjoy can be tricky, but never fear, a free festival is nearly here! From medieval combat to meet the animals, plus games, crafts and trails galore there's something for everyone over Heritage Open Days. Here are some of our top picks that are sure to be a hit for young and old alike.

Two children and two women stand around a table with wool, threads and sewing tools.© Bucks Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers - Get crafty and make a pom pom and much, much more this September!

A new spin on heritage

Bucks Guild of WSD (Buckinghamshire)

Have hands on fun trying out historic crafts with Buckinghamshire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Discover the history behind these ancient techniques, and then try your hand at the wide array of crafts and activities, for all ages. Explore the exhibition of contemporary and historic craft work created by the Guild members, and watch demonstrations of their methods to see how fabrics and garments can be created from simple threads.

Small boy holding a cone of string

A fun filled tour explores the creativity of people who work beneath the waves / © National Museum of the Royal Navy

Undersea inventors

National Museum of the Royal Navy (Hampshire)

Uncover the unexpected creativity of submariners at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. Join a fun-filled, family focused tour written for children aged 5-11 to learn all about the everyday objects that submariners reuse, recycle and adapt into useful tools to use around the vessels. Alongside the tour, head on down to Busy Boats Bay to take part in a Mini Engineers Play Day where little ones can invent their own crafty object, toy or game inspired by the tools on display.

Gather round for games

National Trust, Assembly Rooms (Somerset)

See Georgian gaming brought back to life in the rooms where they were originally played in the 18th century! The Assembly Rooms will be open with an interactive exhibition of games from the Georgian era right up to the present day. Wander through the Card Room, Tea Room and the Great Octagon to discover plenty of games to play, and learn more about the history of gaming through the ages.

Patterned paper

Discover your creative side at Grosvenor Museum's printmaking workshops / © Chester History & Heritage

Time travelling crafters

Grosvenor Museum (Cheshire)

Join one of the family friendly Victorian printing workshop sessions at the Grosvenor Museum, inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement. Have a go at printmaking and create your own repeat pattern designs inspired by artists like William Morris. Once your masterpiece is complete, pick up a guide to the museum trail and explore hundreds of years of history right on the doorstep including Roman archaeology, natural history and five centuries of art.

Stained glass superstars

Churches Conservation Trust (Tyne & Wear)

Develop a new skill and create a stained glass jar at Holy Trinity Church. For those aged five and up, transform a plain, recycled jar into a work of art and learn all about the history of stained glass, and the various techniques needed to design these beautiful pieces. An instructor will guide you on a step-by-step method that involves copper foiling, glass cutting and soldering, so you can walk away with your very own jar of colours.

Two children sitting in a wooden hatchway

Step aboard for a taste of barge life, can you fit in the cabin to rest after the work is done?! / © Newark Heritage Barge CIO

Barge into history

Newark Heritage Barge CIO (Nottinghamshire)

Get on the water and up close with the Newark Heritage Barge 'Leicester Trader'. Hear the stories of these types of barges, beginning with the first navigation acts of the late 18th century. There are opportunities to investigate the archives on display in the former cargo hold, including models, tools, equipment, photograph collections and films. Also learn about life on board, during the days when complete families were brought up in the cabins and see demonstrations of how sails and cargoes were lifted. If you're small enough, you can also clamber into a typical children's side "bedhole" in the aft cabin, to imagine what life was like aboard these beautiful boats.

Large group of people in medieval dress

Take a walk through history at Bromwich Hall's medieval encampment / ©Sandwell Museums Service

Medieval mayhem

Sandwell Museums (West Midlands)

Travel all the way back to the Wars of the Roses and witness the end of the medieval period at Bromwich Hall. Buckingham’s Retinue reenactment group will be hosting a variety of immersive events as part of their medieval encampment, including combat demonstrations, knight school, dances, games and plays. Explore the grounds, which date back to the 1270s, and take part in trails and craft activities throughout the weekend.

Discover the Dales

Nidderdale Museum (North Yorkshire)

Nestled in the Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale Museum has over 30,000 objects, 13 exhibition spaces and 15 life sized dioramas packed into a Victorian workhouse. With over 200 years of history on display from the old school room to the dairy, pub or mine tunnel, there’s so much to discover! Follow the children’s trail around the museum and learn about objects from industry, agriculture, religion, transport, costumes and more.

Children petting a horse being held by a man

Meet the animals on the farm this September / © Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse

Machinery, museums and mammoths (oh my!)

Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse (Norfolk)

Get out into the countryside to Gressenhall, a museum, farm and workhouse set in over 50 acres of beautiful Norfolk farmland. Find out about the people that lived and worked on the site in the Voices of the Workhouse exhibition, get up close with farm machinery and steam engines at the Museum of Norfolk Rural Life, or head down to the working farm and meet the horses, cows, sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens, ducks and geese that call the farm home. For something a little more exotic, head over to the Norfolk Museums Collection Centre to find the West Runton mammoth or legendary Norwich snapdragons!

PLEASE NOTE - These events were accurate at the time of publication but details are subject to change. Check the individual entries for details.

Find out more...

  • Event directory - Keep checking for events near you, many more will be added in the coming weeks
  • Festival Spotlights - Be inspired for your event searches with our highlight posts
  • Get involved - Taking part in Heritage Open Days