Heritage Open Days 2019

Heritage Open Days 2018

From 13-22 September 2019, the Heritage Open Days festival returns with a packed programme of activities. This annual festival celebrates our diverse history, architecture and culture, so you can visit many of the places we care for entirely for free.

What is Heritage Open Days?

Heritage Open Days started in 1994, and over the last 25 years it's grown into a vibrant celebration of local histories and cultures, with over 5,500 events taking place in 2018 across England. Thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and the contributions our volunteers make, the festival gets bigger every year.

This celebration of our heritage means you can visit more of the places we care for for free. Access historic houses, beautiful landscapes, and listen to intriguing stories, spanning throughout all regions of England, all for free from 13-22 September 2019.

This year's theme

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival, Heritage Open Days will explore the theme of 'People Power' in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre. See how local communities have created positive change through the power of people for our green spaces and society. 

What’s new this year

This year, two extra places will be taking part - Wentworth Castle Gardens in Yorkshire and Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire. 

We've handpicked a selection of National Trust places that are taking part in Heritage Open Days. 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.

Look back on these events from 2019:

East England
Visitors walking among the estate at Blickling, Norfolk

Blickling Estate, Norfolk 

14-15 September 2019

Join the team at Blickling Estate for 'Riverlands', a national river restoration project. This includes a series of walks and talks to learn more about the history and ecology of the River Bure. As part of the 'Riverlands' project, discover the improvements that have been made to the habitats of a multitude of insects, plants and fish to help them thrive in an age of urban living.

London and South East England
Sandham children family visits

Sandham Memorial Chapel 

14 and 15 September 2019

At Sandham you will have a rare opportunity to see some of Stanley Spencer’s original sketches for the chapel’s paintings. Uncover how Stanley captured the detail in everyday things through drawing and painting. Have a go at making your own sketches, inspired by the beautiful surroundings of the chapel, and see original WWI military kit for yourself.

Visitors in the Octagon Room at Basildon Park

Basildon Park, Berkshire 

20-21 September 2019

At Basildon Park, celebrate the Festival of Light with Rangoli artworks, Indian food, curator talks and the launch of the ‘Culture Shock’ programme exploring the Indian heritage of Basildon Park. Discover how people from South Asia shaped this special place by listening to first-hand accounts of what it was like to move to Reading.

Visitor enjoying the sunset from a rock at Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors, Derbyshire

Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors, Derbyshire 

14 September 2019

Don't miss out on the People's Landscapes exhibition at the Longshaw Estate. Discover special objects that belonged to the influential G. H. B. Ward, who pioneered the movement for public access to walk in the moorland areas of the Peak District.

A room at the recently reopened Firbeck Infirmary at The Workhouse, Southwell

The Workhouse, Nottinghamshire 

21 September 2019

Come and see the results of a five-year project which has drawn on archival research to conserve the original 1871 Firbeck Infirmary building. Experience the building in its originally-intended state, and interact with the Victorian stories that The Workhouse holds.

North England
Walker sits at Surprise View, Borrowdale

Borrowdale and Derwent Water, Cumbria 

14, 15 & 22 September 2019

Join our rangers on a guided walk to discover the hidden histories and wildlife of the Lake District. There’s a different guided walk every day including the Neolithic settlement at Town Bank, Kinniside, the Fog Signal Station, and up Smithy Beck to come face to face with the archaeological remains of ancient settlers.

Visitors walk through the gardens at Sizergh

Sizergh, Cumbria 

16, 18, 20 & 21 September 2019

Join this guided walk to Sedgwick Gunpowder Works for a unique chance to discover Sizergh’s industrial past and learn some of the hidden secrets of the estate. Book in advance to get the best out of this event.

South West England
Walk through history at Godolphin House

Godolphin House, Cornwall 

16, 18 and 20 September 2019

Godolphin is teaming up with Godolphin Cross Community Association to provide a programme of events celebrating the area's mining history. Author Stephen Polglase will be leading guided walks through Godolphin's woodland telling the story of copper mining and how this created the landscape we see today.

Codger's Fort on the estate at Wallington, Northumberland

Listen to the National Trust Podcast: The Heritage Question

In episode 63 of the National Trust Podcast we head to Blackpool to explore what heritage means to us all. Listen as National Trust curator James Grasby goes behind the scenes to explore the history and legacy of the Blackpool Illuminations.