Let’s open the doors!

Loyd Grossman CBE has declared Heritage Open Days open for business as historic sites across England prepare to offer free access to 3.5 million visitors between 8-11 September.

© Mike Hall - Costumed characters are a treasure at St John's House, Winchester for Heritage Open Days

Speaking to an audience at the Guildhall in Winchester on the eve of the four day festival the heritage champion and festival patron said, ‘Let’s open the doors! Heritage Open Days is an exercise in public consciousness.  You can’t love and protect something unless you know about it!’ 

Winchester is one of the latest towns and cities across England to embrace Heritage Open Days with a new programme of nearly 50 free events across the historic city. 

The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Treasure Your Treasures’ and events include free exclusive public access to places such as the French, Portuguese and Danish embassies in London and the Liver Building in Merseyside. All castles, forts, follies, towers and cottages of the Landmark Trust sites will have free access. There’s also free entry to several stunning gardens marking the Capability Brown Tercentenary including Burton Constable in Yorkshire and Bowood House and Gardens in Calne, Wiltshire. National Trust properties waiving entry fees for Heritage Open Days include Thomas Hardy’s Cottage in Dorchester, St Bees Head Fog Horn Station in Cumbria and Chedworth Roman Villa in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.