Heritage Open Days 2018

Heritage Open Days 2018

Heritage Open Days is back, and for the first time ever it will take place over two long weekends: 6-9 September and 13-16 September. 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.

Heritage Open Days began life in 1994, and over the last two decades it's grown into a vibrant celebration of local histories and cultures, with over 5,000 events taking place in 2017. Many of the places and experiences on offer are unique to Heritage Open Days, and thanks to the support of the People’s Postcode Lottery the festival continues to grow and develop.

Today the offer ranges from tours of beautiful stately homes to explorations of natural landscapes and everything in between, including the staging of ground-breaking arts commissions.

Each year, Heritage Open Days focuses on a different theme or important moment in history. 2018 marks 100 years since the passing of the Universal Suffrage Act, when some women in the UK were granted the right to vote. To mark this anniversary we’ll be focusing on the theme of 'Extraordinary Women' – with hundreds of events happening around the country and at our places, exploring the stories of women who have been overlooked or forgotten by traditional histories.

We've picked a small selection of our places that are taking part in Heritage Open Days 2018 - which will you explore first?

Please note: all National Trust places taking part in Heritage Open Days offer free admission on the specified dates. Not all sites are involved, and the dates and times vary between locations.

Early morning on the Blickling Hall estate with the house reflected in the water of the lake, and a bluish mist all around

Blickling, Norfolk 

8-9, 15-16 September
This year we’re offering you the chance to step out at Blickling on two special Heritage Open Days walks. On the 8 and 9 September you can head out on a guided walk through Hercules Wood and explore areas not usually open to the public. Alternatively, bring along your boots on the 15 or 16 September for a walk around Oulton Air Field – a bomber base created on the estate during the Second World War. On Thursday 6 September you can also head into the house to see ‘The Word Defiant!’ – an art installation by award-winning theatre company Les Enfants Terribles, designed to shine a light on Blickling’s impressive book collection.

Visitors in the basement at Clandon Park, Surrey

Clandon Park, Surrey 

16 September
Clandon Park will be opening its doors for free as part of Heritage Open Days. This year you’ll be able to delve deeper in to the house than ever before, with a new walkway in to the basement revealing the impact of a severe fire in 2015. You’ll be able to see a new exhibition charting the restoration of the house, explore the Saloon, State Bedroom and Marble Hall on the ground floor, not to mention the beautiful gardens.

The wavy hedges of Glendurgan maze in Cornwall seen from above

Glendurgan Garden, Cornwall 

15 September
Glendurgan is the perfect place to lose yourself. Wander through the garden and discover giant rhubarb plants hiding down in the jungle-like lower valley, while spiky arid specimens bask on the sunny upper slopes. When you’re done exploring, head down to the beautiful hamlet of Durgan on the Helford River – the perfect place to watch birds and boats, skim stones and build sandcastles on the shore.

Kingston Lacy house in the daylight

Kingston Lacy, Dorset 

14 September
Kingston Lacy’s collection of artworks and artefacts is the stuff of legend, but for this year’s Heritage Open Days we’ll be focusing on the portraits of four women who were instrumental in shaping the estate over 400 years. Bringing together fine art, decorative objects and voices from the Bankes Archive, ‘Beyond the Portrait’ delves into their lives, spanning history from the English Civil War to the early twentieth century. There’ll also be plenty to explore in the gardens where early autumn colour might just be appearing on the trees, or you can head into the café to enjoy delicious seasonal treats.

Gondola steaming across Coniston Water

Steam Yacht Gondola, Lake District 

14 September
There's plenty going on for Heritage Open Days in the Lake District. Enjoy a special behind-the-scenes evening tour of the Steam Yacht Gondola, a re-built Victorian steam-powered yacht that sails on Coniston Water. Take a close up view of her figurehead, 'Sid' the Sea Serpent, who was re-carved from fine English oak and gilded by local craftsmen, and hear many yarns from the Gondola’s dedicated crew.

Visitors enjoying the Transitions in Time installation at Peckover House, Wisbech

Peckover House and Garden, Cambridgeshire 

8 September
As well as visiting Peckover House and Gardens for free, you’ll also have the chance to meet artists Sarah Evans and David Kefford - the duo behind our ‘Transition in Time’ art installation in the Drawing Room. Created to mark 70 years since Peckover came into our care, this is the perfect opportunity to chat to the creators about the installation, and discover more about the work they’ve been doing with local community groups.

Image of books from the workers' library at Quarry Bank

Quarry Bank, Cheshire 

8 September
On the first Heritage Open Days weekend, you can explore a lesser-known side to Quarry Bank as we delve into the history of the workers’ library. During the early 1900s the library gave the residents of Styal and workers in the mill access to a wealth of books including fiction, children’s books and contemporary non-fiction. You’ll be able to meet our collections team and Dr Ruth Colton, who has been researching the library and will be able to reveal what we’ve found.

Seaton Delaval Hall Northumberland

Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland 

8 September
The theatrical Delaval family loved to play pranks on their guests, and filled their home with tricks such as mechanical beds that dropped occupants into freezing water and walls that would disappear just as guests were undressing. Designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, the Baroque style of the Hall was a fitting backdrop to the family’s extravagant lifestyle – and we’re aiming to restore it to its former glory. The west wing is currently closed while we pack up the collection ahead of starting work on the roof, but for Heritage Open Days there’s a special chance to go behind the scenes and meet the team as they undertake this delicate work.

A photo of visitors in the in dining parlour at The Vyne

The Vyne, Hampshire 

15 September
Pay a visit to The Vyne for Heritage Open Days, and you can explore a newly opened house that has been unpacked after major works to restore the roof. While you’re here, why not discover more about our next project to conserve six rare Soho tapestries, made under the direction of leading weaver John Vanderbank? When you get peckish, you can grab a bite to eat in the Brewhouse tea-room, or lay out the picnic blanket on the north lawn to enjoy the late summer sun.

View of the house and garden at Treasurers House

Treasurer's House, York 

8–9, 15-16 September
Treasurer’s House sits above the remains of an old Roman road, which was excavated during the 1950s. Around the same time, one Harry Martindale was working in the cellars of Treasurer’s House when he suddenly saw around 20 Roman soldiers appear through the wall and march across the room. On all eight Heritage Open Days you can enjoy a free tour of the cellars where the strange phenomenon occurred - will you be the next to see the ghostly army?