Heritage Open Days 2017

Heritage Open Days 2017

This year, from 7-10 September, Heritage Open Days is back to shine a light on England’s fascinating historic places. This annual festival celebrates our diverse history, architecture and culture, offering you the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences all for free.

Each year Heritage Open Days focuses on different themes and aspects of history; in 2017, fifty years since the partial de-criminalisation of homosexuality, we bring LGBTQ heritage to the fore, mark the anniversary of the creation of Conservation Areas in the UK, and join our European Heritage Days partners in exploring the place of history in the natural world.

Heritage Open Days began life 23 years ago, as a celebration of built architecture, but in recent years the festival has broadened to encompass a vast range of places and experiences, many not usually available to the public. Here is a selection of National Trust places taking part.

Please note: all National Trust properties taking part in Heritage Open Days offer free admission; not all sites are involved, and the dates and times vary.

A la Ronde in the summer

A la Ronde, Devon 

Sat 9 September, 10.30am - 5.30pm

This sixteen-sided building is full of creative treasures from around the world. Dating back to 1796, it was decorated with fantastic shell and feather designs. With our 360’ touchscreen virtual tour, you can get close to the shell ceiling and view it as intended.

The Gatehouse Tower dominates Knole’s west front

Knole, Kent 

Sat 9 September, 10am - 5pm

Explore the medieval deer park and follow a secret history trail, especially for the little ones. Visit the recently-restored Gatehouse Tower and climb the spiral staircase to enjoy views across the estate. Dress in Tudor costume and pose for a unique family portrait in our giant frame. Knole is in the midst of a huge building and conservation project and there's a unique opportunity to visit our recently-opened conservation studio.

View from the chapel to the avenue

Gibside, Tyne and Wear 

Sat 9 & Sun 10 September, 10am - 6pm

Once a stunning 18th-century estate, today Gibside Hall is an atmospheric ruin, surrounded by spectacular gardens. Visitors can see the Palladian designed chapel and explore the shell of the former Orangery - built around 1773 to house Mary Eleanor's magnificent collection of exotic plants – as well as the Walled Garden.

Steam Yacht Gondola with steam

Steam Yacht Gondola, Cumbria 

Fri 8 September, 5pm – 6.30pm

A free, 'behind the scenes' tour of Steam Yacht Gondola, a re-built Victorian steam-powered yacht that sails on Coniston Water in the Lake District. Step on board and meet the engineers who maintain the boat and the helmsmen who sail her. Take a close up view of 'Sid' the Sea Serpent, re-carved from fine English oak and gilded in gold by local craftsmen and hear many yarns from her dedicated crew.

East Front of Melford Hall

Melford Hall, Suffolk  

Sat 9 September, 1 - 4.30pm

Our ornate Chinese silk costumes are over 100 years old and will be shown for the first time in the boudoir. Naval experts reveal the family’s naval connections with his 'Tales from the High Seas’, while our courtyard talks will explain the history of the building. Head out into the garden to discover the way our beautiful grounds have evolved throughout the ages.

Lavender outside Mr Straw's House

Mr Straw’s House, Nottinghamshire 

Fri 8 September, tours 11am – 4pm

This Edwardian semi-detached house is little changed since the Straw family took up residence in 1923. A unique place, full of everyday household objects, evidence of the family business and their treasured possessions, Mr Straw’s House offers a chance to step back in time.

A view of Croft Castle in Herefordshire

Battle of Mortimer’s Cross at Croft Castle, Herefordshire 

Sat 9 September 10am - 5pm

Join us for a living history day full of gunpowder, battles, archery and swordfights, bringing to life one of the most significant battles of the Wars of the Roses. See the Yorkist and Lancastrian camps in situ, depicting civilian and soldier life with crafts, cooking, period costume, weaponry, dancing, battles and music displays throughout the day.

Sofas and chairs in the drawing room at Goddards

Goddards House & Gardens, Yorkshire 

Fri 8 & Sat 9 September, 10.30am - 5pm

Celebrate 250 years of Terry's confectionary history (think chocolate orange) at their family home. The warm Arts and Crafts house, designed by Walter Brierley, is surrounded by glorious gardens brought back to life using the original plant lists created by garden designer George Dillistone. New displays on show throughout the house chart the highs and lows of the Terry’s of York chocolate business.