Top Ten Events Still to Come

From butterflies, beasts and garden paradises, to windmills and boats - there's still plenty to see and explore.

You may have just enjoyed a weekend of fabulous festival events, or you might be wishing you did, but in both cases you're in luck as HODs has another 6 days to go! Here are ten highlights from the thousands of things still to come... 

For butterflies, birds and other beasts... 

If you think you won’t find an exotic oasis in Lancaster, step into this former Edwardian palm house and you’ll be surprised by what you find. The Butterfly House and Mini Zoo at Williamson Park is the rainforest home to an abundance of wildlife, and the festival is your chance to visit for free. There’s much more than butterflies, with tortoises and chameleons being just two examples of what lives inside. To see even smaller creatures, the mini beast cave is the place to look, and to see the site’s flying inhabitants, you can actually wander through the aviary as the birds fly and feed around you. Zoo keepers will be on hand to give tours and explain what you find.

Explore the magical arboretum at Queenswood

For a fun day in the forest... 

Hidden in the Herefordshire countryside you’ll find Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum. Enter this magical woodland to discover so much more going on beyond the trees. You have the chance to learn about the site’s history on a guided walk, while the activities on offer include children’s crafts, green woodworking, and charcoal making.

For a mix of classic and contemporary...

Within Kent’s last medieval deer park, you’ll find Knole, the historical house and park that’s now a National Trust property, but was once an Archbishop’s palace. The newest feature is the Conservation Studio, the first of its kind in the National Trust, which allows visitors to watch conservators working on objects from the house’s collection in a state-of-the-art new space. Take a look around the showrooms to find out about the site’s history, and climb the spiral staircase in the Gatehouse Tower for incredible views of the 1,000 acres of parkland, before venturing outside and exploring it yourself. You may even meet one of the 350 resident deer!

For scientists and curious minds...

Ever wondered how a windmill actually works? At Green's Windmill and Science Centre, they’re offering visitors the opportunity to climb to the very top of the restored 19th century windmill and see for themselves how the grain turns into flour. The site is also the former home of mathematical physicist George Green, so they built an interactive science centre in his honour, where you can learn his story and have fun experimenting with lights, electricity and magnets.

The proposed neon transformation of the Apollo Pavilion - but you can see it in person

For architecture and innovation... 

Peterlee’s Apollo Pavilion is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and, to celebrate, artist Steve Messam has designed a temporary transformation for the structure. His addition will be four neon inflated forms, illuminated from within, to fill the gaps in the pavilion and intersect with the brutalist architecture. The result will be an art installation combining local heritage with creative innovation, and open exclusively during the festival, so this is your only chance to see this unique work in person.

For the music lovers... 

In the 1970s and 80s, Crystal Palace Bowl hosted so many iconic music acts - Pink Floyd, Elton John and Bob Marley, to name only a few - that they built an architecturally award-winning permanent stage in 1997. However, today it’s a beloved but neglected landmark more than a venue, having not hosted concerts for many years and vitally needing repair to restore it to its former glory. This event is a rare opportunity to follow in the footsteps of musical icons and access the stage, as you learn about the site’s history and have your say about its future.

Take a look around the stunning 30 acre estate of the De Vere Tortworth Court Hotel

For a touch of luxury at a stunning estate... 

De Vere Tortworth Court Hotel in Gloucestershire boasts a historic mansion house, 30 acre estate, and Victorian arboretum housing over 300 plant specimens. As a luxury hotel, there is a limited number of people that usually get to explore the estate and what it has to offer, but exclusively for HODs, the public are being invited to access it for free. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to explore the stunning estate, and attend a staff talk to learn more about the site’s colourful history.

For a hidden subtropical paradise...

Venture to this coastal National Trust property to discover a hidden paradise of subtropical gardens in Devon. Overbeck’s in Salcombe is positioned 80 metres above the sea, which allows their diverse collection of rare and exotic plants to thrive. Wander through the gardens to find surprises around every corner, and head into the Edwardian villa for the perfect vantage point to take in the breath-taking views of the grounds and unspoilt coastline.

For art and culture in a castle...

With exhibits of archaeology, natural history, and fine, decorative and contemporary art, there’s so much more to this castle than what meets the eye – though even that view is impressive itself. From palace to prison to museum, Norwich Castle has been constantly evolving throughout the many years since its origins over 900 years ago – and now the space is preparing to go through more exciting changes! HODs will be one of the last opportunities to see the Castle Keep in its current format. Visit to discover the site’s rich history as a castle, to look around the museum and art gallery it is now, and to have a last look before it becomes a little different in the future.

Are you brave enough to climb the mast? © Excelsior Trust

For those who wish to be at sea...

It's all aboard in Lowestoft as visitors are invited to view Excelsior, one of the last sailing trawlers to be built in the area. Come look around this 98 year old ship and find out how it went from Lowestoft to Norway and back again, before then being commissioned by HRH Princess Royal. Ask the crew what life was like on board as you tour the ship, try out the bunks, and - if you're brave - climb the mast.

And one extra for luck, with added sparkle...

Spend an evening under the stars and test your astronomy knowledge in Oswestry with The Astronomical Society. The group were founded in 1989 and meet up every month. For the festival they're opening up to the public and hosting an evening at Oswestry Racecourse, bringing their telescopes and expertise with them. Enjoy a relaxing Saturday evening as you observe the night sky and look to identify celestial objects such as Mars or Saturn. 

Find out more...