Friday 11 September 2020

Free Heritage Open Days across the Midlands - starting today!

Have you heard about Heritage Open Days? They are running from today until 20th September it's the largest volunteer led festival in the UK. I've found some great events that would be ideal for families who are looking to save money but still have a great time with their kids - and every event is free! 

The theme this year is Hidden Nature, and it's an opportunity to explore nature on our doorstep and further afield, and embrace the benefits of being outdoors. This year, for the first time, there are digital events, so audiences can tune into fascinating talks, tours and exhibitions from all over the country. This means that no matter where you are, you can access events and activities.

Here's a round up of locations involved in this event from across the Midlands region...

Retford Heritage Open Day, Bassetlaw Museum, Nottinghamshire (online) 

Explore the theme of ‘journeys’ with a programme of exciting online events to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims. And with virtual tours of local sites, competitions, trails, writing competitions and live filmed events, there’s something for everyone! 

Fri 11th – Sun 20th, available anytime


Virtual Tour of Daventry, Daventry Town Council, Northamptonshire (online)  

Experience Daventry's Hidden Nature from past to present. Through oral histories, commentary and photo archives, visitors on this special virtual tour will learn how the town has developed, while discovering the green spaces, wildlife and bird song which can still be enjoyed today. 

Fri 11th – Sun 20th, available anytime


Green Spaces at Urb Farm, Growing People, Milton Keynes 

Explore this horticultural social enterprise which trains young people to produce sustainable and seasonal goods for the local community. Visitors should also keep an eye out for foxes, toads, woodpeckers and hedgehogs; just some of the Hidden Nature which can be found in this peaceful urban green space. 

Tues 15th, 3pm – 5pm and Thur 17th, 1pm – 3pm


Cavendish Hall and Spencer's Yard, Beeley Heritage Group, Derbyshire 

Experience early Victorian rural life for farmers and Romany Gypsies in the Peak District with ‘living history’ group, the Ragged Victorians. Visitors can also see a specially curated exhibition, and look around authentic sites from the time including a shepherd’s hut, and diary and cow house. 

Sat 19th and Sun 20th, 11am – 4pm

Discover Ladbroke Church, Warwickshire (online) 

Join an online guided tour of this Grade I listed church. Currently closed due to major renovations, visitors will get a special look inside to discover the history and stained glass of this fascinating 700 year old building, as well a chance to find out more in an interactive Q&A. 

Sat 12th, 2:30pm (booking required)


Forge Mill Museum, Friends of Forge Mill Needle Museum, Redditch (online) 

Experience the heritage of the local fishing equipment industry with a series of special online activities, from virtual tours of the mill’s waterwheel to music by the Indigo Arts lockdown choir. And children will love getting crafty with instructions to make a needle maker’s hat from newspaper! 

Fri 11th – Sun 20th, available anytime 


Coombe Country Park, Coventry City Council, Coventry 

Take a stroll around this park and admire the Hidden Nature on the outskirts of Coventry. Using a self-guided trail, visitors can explore 500 acres of beautiful gardens, woodland, lakeside walks and bird watching, all set against the stunning Coombe Abbey. 

Fri 11th – Sun 20th, 10am – 3:30pm


Discover Sinai Park, Sinai Park House Trust, Burton-on-Trent 

Walk the newly opened National Forest Sinai Woodlands route and discover Hidden Nature off the beaten track. Visitors can also see how natural materials were used to build this unique complex of timber framed buildings 800 years ago, as well as hearing about ongoing work to restore the Georgian plunge pool. 

Sat 19th and Sun 20th, tours from 10am (booking required)


Poetry Trail and Photography Pilgrimage, Hereford Cathedral (online / in-person) 

Take part in a range of activities at Hereford Cathedral, including the last ever Cloisters Tour from the popular three year Vicars Choral research project. Available on-site and online, participants can also reflect on the location with trails of responsive photography prompts and poetry verses inspired by the surroundings. 

Sat 12th, 10am – 3pm (booking required for in-person events)


Austin Village Walk, Austin Village Preservation Society, Birmingham 

Discover the fascinating history of this lesser-known model village built for munitions workers in WWI. Led by a local resident, visitors on this guided tour will hear about the area’s 200 prefab wood bungalows shipped in from the USA, and how the village achieved conservation status in the 1990s. 

Sat 12th, 11am (booking required)


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