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First Pick of the Season

It's never too early to start searching for your next doorstep discovery. Over 1,000 events are now live on the directory and 1,000s more will be added in the run up to our September festival. From weird and wonderful science to lyrical poetry via engineering marvels - here are some of the team's first favourites from the listings, but what would you pick?

Old black and white woodcut of apple harvesting

Charlotte had the first pick for our recent 'Take 5 with the Team' blog. She went with 'The invention of the apple' at the Museum of Cider in Herefordshire. A genius twinning of last year's Edible England theme and this year's Astounding Inventions focus. The theme is definitely proving popular and features in most of the team's choices, be inspired by them below... but remember there are lots of other astounding events to explore, theme related or not! We'd love to hear what you're looking forward to!

Alex is quite taken by the idea of a 200 year tour at Torr! / © Torr Vale Mill Ltd

Alex is tempted by a tour

Torr Vale Mill, Derbyshire

Lots of events will be making a splash this September, but I’m particularly looking forward to taking a tour around Torr Vale Mill – a fascinating site of British water-powered history! With behind the scenes access to their cotton looms & original mill chimney, go back in time to explore 200 years of astounding inventions.

Liam likes the Locomotion legacy

Locomotion Lates, County Durham

A chance to see the first public passenger train Locomotion No. 1? Does it get more ‘Astounding Inventions’ than that?! After a jam-packed New Wave programme last year with more than 20 events created with local young people, I was thrilled to see that Locomotion were inspired by their time on the project and have registered a legacy event. Expect a brilliant late night event organised by their youth panel where visitors get to see loads of incredible railway vehicles, in addition to a deep dive into some of the skills behind the engineering marvels on display.

Marie has happy memories of this site and is intrigued to discover more at a special science show for HODs this year!/ © Newark Castle

Marie's memory

Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire

'Newark Castle Comes to Life: Astounding Inventions' stands out for me. Not only does a sensational science show covering weird and wonderful inventions from history sound like a brilliant day out, I also volunteered on my first excavation at Newark Castle and think it’s a great place to visit. Hands on activities, performances and stories at a stunning heritage setting – what’s not to love?!

'Cesca's choice

160 years of SRSB, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

It shouldn't necessarily have stopped me in my tracks, but it did. I'm excited about the celebrations marking 160 years of Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind. I'm privileged to have my sight, so inventions such as braille, guiding, accessible technology, equipment, and other advancements don't ever cross my mind. This event will really showcase some utterly astounding inventions that are having a true impact on individuals and communities. This is why I love Heritage Open Days. It really does expand your mind, make you think, and introduce you to a whole new world.

Kelly recommends the Romantic Coleridge Cottage / © National Trust

Kelly's lyrical about literature

Coleridge Cottage, Somerset

‘And so his song Should make all Nature lovelier, and itself Be loved like Nature!’ Intellectual and literary innovation is as important to our heritage as our many industrial feats. As an English and history student, I’m thrilled to see my two passions culminate in this fantastic event that celebrates the work of one of England’s most prodigious minds. Following its redevelopment, guests can wander through the cottage and its gardens, experiencing the nature, emotion and individualism that Coleridge’s works conveyed. Visitors can expect to learn about the setting that inspired his finest poems, the collaborative masterpiece that is 'Lyrical Ballads', and in turn the formation of Europe’s most renowned literary and intellectual movement: Romanticism.

Sarah's looking forward to hearing voices from the past in extracts from letters, jouranls and diaries / © Norfolk Record Office

Sarah seeks stories of the past

Reading from the Archives, Norfolk

I love stories. In every shape, size and format. History is all about stories and archives are the keepers of countless tales waiting to be told. So of course I had to pick an archive event! Nofolk Record Office always have a great programme and this year amongst the crackers they've brought to the table is one that beautifully highlights the voices of the past. By reading the letters of people from the time they will bring history to life and really show the enormous impact inventions (big and small) have on our lives.

Find out more

PLEASE NOTE - These events were accurate at the time of publication but this year more than ever the details are subject to change. Please check the individual entries for more.