Unlocked: 10 Sites That Aren’t Normally Open

Heritage Open Days is a great opportunity to discover unique and often hidden places. From tranquil estates to underground bank vaults, so many normally closed or inaccessible sites are opening up for us this September. Here are ten great sites to keep your eyes open for.

The Banqueting House, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

Nestled in the forest, the Banqueting House stands in a picturesque, grassy clearing. Experience the house just as the 18th century ladies and gentlemen did with the rare opportunity for a look inside, stroll around the lawn, or take in the beautiful views of the lake.

The Lock up, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

The Lock Up on Town Bridge in Bradford on Avon is a must see this Heritage Open Days. From its early beginnings as a travellers' chapel for the dangerous highwaymen-riddled routes, to its conversion into a blind house or drunk tank to hold locals until morning as they sobered up, there’s a fascinating history here just waiting to be discovered.

The BFI National Archives, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire © - BFI

Fancy an exclusive peek into film history? Watch a technical demonstration or go on a tour deep into the archives to discover how the nation’s film and TV history is being preserved when the BFI National Archives open up this September.

Dunshay Manor, Swanage, Dorset

Only a couple of miles from the Dorset coast is Dunshay Manor. This is a rare and exciting chance to see the house in all its newly-restored glory, and uncover the story of the Spencer Watson family, who owned the manor for most of the 20th century.

The Robin Hood Hut near Halswell House and Park, Bridgwater, Somerset

So much is on offer at Halswell House and Park: the main rooms at Mansion House will open and old photos and maps of the property will be on display, take in the incredible landscape view from the roof, discover the recently restored ‘Mrs Busby’s Temple’ in the exquisite garden, or take a short walk to the Robin Hood Hut.

The Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone, Kent © - MBC

Step inside The Archbishop’s Palace, along the River Medway, and gain access to areas usually restricted to the public with this fascinating tour, revealing the beautiful Maidstone building’s rich and intriguing history.

Curzon Cinema, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Hidden beneath the floorboards at Curzon Cinema in Sheffield are the old Sheffield Banking Corporation bank vaults. Don’t miss your chance to go on a special guided tour of this unique space, with a look at the state of the art projection equipment also on offer.

King Edward VII Estate, Midhurst, West Sussex

The King Edward VII Estate has a fascinating and varied history, but is usually closed to the public. This Heritage Open Days, you’re invited to explore the historic buildings and gardens that were once considered a masterpiece of design.

Surrey County Council, County Hall, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

Built in the 19th century, and more recently featured in TV shows like A Very English Scandal and Call The Midwife, go on a tour through the history of Surrey County Council, County Hall, including trips to the historic council chamber and the gaol cells.

Durham Cathedral Gardens, Durham, County Durham

Head outside to the colourful gardens of Durham Cathedral. Visit the vibrant, hidden cut-flower garden, or discover more about the historic uses of plants at the monastic herb garden. The dedicated team of gardeners will also be on hand to answer your questions.

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