Heritage Open Days Celebrates 25th Anniversary with 25 NEW Highlights
With a dynamic programme of over 5,000 events, Heritage Open Days is England’s largest annual festival of history and culture. Every September, doors are flung open at some of the country’s best-known attractions, as well as private and community spaces, thanks to support from the National Trust and players of People’s Postcode Lottery. To celebrate the festival’s 25th anniversary, 25 new places are opening their doors, from country houses, museum archives and gardens, to theatres, wildlife reserves, distilleries and even a solar farm.
“It’s always exciting when new places join Heritage Open Days,” says National Manager, Annabelle Thorpe. And this year we have a bumper crop of first-timers. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 25th anniversary than by sharing it with these iconic places.”
Many of the venues taking part for the first time are not normally open to the public, including the Mausoleum at Castle Howard and the Burnley Empire Theatre, which is opening its doors for the first time since closing in 1995. Other events are offering behind-the-scenes access to their buildings and archives, such as the Prince Philip Maritime Collections at Royal Museums Greenwich, with items being presented by local community groups as part of this year’s People Power theme. While Eton College Collections are welcoming visitors to special curators’ choice trails, opening an appointment-only exhibition, and offering a rare chance to see School Yard.
The 25 new places cover a wide range of topics; natural heritage will be celebrated at the home of World Wildlife Fund founder, Sir Peter Scott, while the country’s manufacturing and industrial heritage will be on show at working sites, such as the Bombay Sapphire Distillery. Visitors can also explore the restored Wentworth Castle Gardens, newly reopened and launched this year as part of the National Trust. And, at places like these which normally charge, festival visitors get free entry, making it a great opportunity to experience local destinations on a budget.