03 Jun 2024
by Heritage Open Days


Heritage Open Days (HODs) returns this September with thousands of free events and experiences. Brought to you by the National Trust, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and run by thousands of local organisations and volunteers, HODs brings people together to celebrate their heritage, community and history.

From historic houses to factories, museums to music halls, formal gardens to graveyards, places and spaces will again open for free this autumn. Across the country, thousands of intriguing events and fun new experiences will happen as part of Heritage Open Days, the country’s largest festival of history and culture, which they have been since 1994 – the same year the world’s first smartphone came to market, the Channel Tunnel opened, and Sunday trading was legalised in England.

Over the three decades since Heritage Open Days began it has grown in scope and scale. What began as a weekend dedicated to revealing buildings not normally open to the general public has exploded into a ten-day festival, celebrating a myriad of different aspects of heritage and culture. Growing from just 700 events in the first year to over 5,250 in 2023, and offering more than 100,000 events and over 39 million visits across 30 years. Still committed to its founding principles of free access and being community led, it’s a much-loved event that many look forward to every year.

Hundreds of activities will adopt this year’s theme, Routes – Networks - Connections, bringing together the past and present in a festival that includes workshops, talks, hidden spaces, walks and activities for all the family.

Featuring thousands of events and activities including:
  • Explore the history of Joseph Whitwell through the paths and waterways at Hollybush Conservation Centre with a self-guided tour celebrating his legacy in Yorkshire as the world's largest forced rhubarb producer.
  • In Gosport, you can try your hand at shipwreck archaeology on the beach! Under guidance from the Nautical Archaeology Society learn how to record a real shipwreck, then use that information to discover the history of the vessel when it was still afloat.
  • Discover a castle that's not a castle, on an island that's not an island. Venture across the causeway to Holy Island and discover the magic of Lindisfarne Castle with a garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll blooming with summer flowers, 19th-century industrial lime kilns, and shoreline walks. 

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