Whither shall we wander?

Here in the Heritage Open Days office we have been beavering away for the past few months going through all the entries for this year’s programme, and more arrive each day. Some have entertained us, others intrigued, all have been interesting. And now the event directory is up on the website, you too can start looking through what’s on offer and planning where to go in September. But with nearly 3,000 entries listed already and more to come, where do you start, and what will catch your eye?

© Heritage Open Days - Hull HODs Event

Handy hints before you begin

  • Yes, entry to all the events is FREE. There might be charges for extras such as refreshments, but every event is free at the point of entry.
  • Some, but by no means all, events will need to be pre-booked. If booking is required, this will be clearly stated on the entry and details provided.
  • Do keep an eye on the directory; we will update it almost daily until the weekend itself, with amendments, cancellations, and new entries as new information arrives.
  • What about London and the rest of the UK? Well, we are actually part of a much wider European initiative to open up places celebrating our heritage and culture in September. For more information, please see the European Heritage Days and London and other UK events pages.

Browse and Explore

Everything that registers for Heritage Open Days will be listed on the event directory, the Browse & Explore page gives you various options to help you navigate the listings.

Something specific in mind?

If there’s a place that you have always wanted to visit, then try the keyword search. See whether they are opening their doors for Heritage Open Days. Be aware though that this is a wildcard search looking at words in the event titles, descriptions, and town names so it can come up with an interesting variety of results, for example if you type in ‘castle’, the results will include all the events in ‘Newcastle’.

Going local – find a hidden gem on your doorstep

A great place to start is to find out what’s happening in your area – you may be surprised. In my first year I found the oldest urban timber-framed building in England on my High Street. Then last year I popped into a local church and ended up having a fascinating tour of the bell tower, getting to go right to the top to see the bells in action, which was an unexpected, if noisy delight! So check out your local area using the town or county lists. Listings come up in alphabetical order by town and then event name – except for the keyword search, which is a bit more random but can be an interesting lucky dip if you need inspiration!

Interested in a particular theme?

Then try the options in the advanced search. Maybe you have read all the Dan Brown books and want to know more about Freemasons. Well, great, there are a fair few that open up over Heritage Open Days. Try the ‘type’ list – you can narrow it further by a location as well. Or perhaps you are interested in green living issues and how to make your home more energy efficient? Not a problem, there are lots of eco homes whose owners are waiting to tell you how they cut their energy bills. Just tick the ‘green living themed events’ box.

Paper listings

Ok, so you’ve explored the directory and got some ideas for where to go, but you don’t have a photographic memory, or a snazzy internet enabled phone and don’t fancy lugging a computer round with you over the weekend. Well, some places still produce beautiful printed leaflets, check local libraries and tourist information centres for them. Alternatively, we’ve got print-friendly listings for you here on the website. For a specific town, county or region, click on the links on the left hand side of the Browse & Explore page. Or, if you want to narrow things down and maybe include a hotchpotch of different places, then you can create your own set of listings using My HODs Favourites. Every time you see an entry you like, click ‘add to favourites’, then when you click on View My HODs Favourites your list will come up. You can review it, take out any you decide against, and print it - voilà you have your own listings, with just the events you wanted!

Watch this space...

For more information about using the event directory, check out How to use the Event Directory – like Ronseal, it does what it says on the tin!

For more inspiration about where to go, keep an eye on our twitter account @heritageopenday, we’ll be posting up highlights; the latest tweets can also be seen on our home page and the news section. And of course, watch out for posts from my fellow bloggers who will be telling you more about what’s on in their areas.

For now though, happy ‘hodding’ and do let us know what catches your eye!