Now that the wet and windy weather is closing in, are you wondering what to do this weekend? If you are, then look no further: Heritage Open Days are happening NOW and they are right on your doorstep.
Take a look at the Heritage Open Days website and see what is happening near you. Heritage Open Days have been running since 1994 and have grown and grown every year until now, in 2013, more than 1,400 organisations are taking part.
Here is how it works: for a few days every year, places that are usually closed to the public, or which charge entry fees, throw open their doors and let us in for free.
The places range from tunnels to castles, and from police cells to woodland walks. Keep a look out for the bright pink posters or, even better, check out the map on the Heritage Open Days website. This lists all the events and openings taking place. Do check as some visits have to prebooked but for others, you just have to turn up on the day.
You’ll find a surprising amount going on. Here in my patch of North Yorkshire, there is a dizzying amount from which to choose, from churches and chapels to steam railway stations.
Lots of big attractions are taking part, such as Oxford Castle and lots of National Trust properties. But there are also hundreds of smaller, quirkier locations and events taking place.
Here are just a few of them:
Lydford Gorge – Okehampton, Devon. A three-mile circular walk through the oak woods and river gorge, to see the White Lady Waterfall and the bubbling water at the Devil’s Cauldron.
Bristol University’s Theatre Collection – Bristol. An opportunity to view one of the world’s largest theatre archives.
The Kilns – Oxford. Explore the garden and library of C.S. Lewis’ old home. Watch out for wardrobes!
The Panacea Museum – Bedford. A lovely old house is home to artefacts from the life of “prophetess” Joanna Southcott, along with an exhibition about the Panacea Society founded by women following Southcott’s teachings.
Hilltop – Ambleside. Beatrix Potter’s old house, in a particularly beautiful part of the country. Apparently Hilltop is like a “time capsule” of Beatrix Potter’s life.
Chartwell Garden & Studio – Kent. The woodland estate at Sir Winston Churchill’s old home (above). Includes lakes, trails, den building and fabulous views.
Heritage Open Days run from now until Sunday 15 September 2013.
Image credit: National Trust.