6th-9th and 13th-16th September 2018
For the first time ever, England’s biggest festival of heritage and culture will take place across two weekends, offering visitors across the West Midlands more opportunities to discover the secret history of their towns, villages and countryside. Alongside traditional Heritage Open Days events, there will be a special programme of ‘Extraordinary Women’ talks, walks and exhibitions, in celebration of the centenary of the Universal Suffrage Act. Special openings across the region include Bonds Hospital Almshouse, Tanat Valley Light Railway and Berrington Hall – with every single walk, talk, opening and exhibition FREE to visit!
Here’s a taste of some activities already registered.
Stories from Historic Narrowboats, Stoke-on-Trent
Climb aboard two historic narrow boats, named Keppel and Lindsay! Visitors will also listen to audio archives from the Revealing Voices project in the wharf buildings and learn about the lives of Extraordinary Women who worked long hours – often without pay – in the canal haulage trade together with their families.
Thurs 13th, 6pm – 8:30pm
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, Worcestershire
Come and learn more about the women of Hanbury, from aristocracy to those who worked on the estate. Get the chance to see parts of the house not usually open on the top floor of the Hall, and follow a trail around the grounds to learn more about the features and history of the estate.
Sat 8th and Sun 9th, 10am – 5pm
GREAT FOR FAMILIES
Tanat Valley Light Railway, Shropshire
Take a free monorail ride! Visitors to this local heritage railway charity can also explore woodland walks and nature trails and see quirky railway vehicles, including the only steam mono rail engine in the world and an original BMW Isetta Bubble car with railway wheels.
All festival days, 10am – 5pm
GREAT FOR FAMILIES
Waterworks Museum, Hereford
Enjoy a great day out for all the for the whole family with interactive exhibits and the unique children’s Heritage Water Park. Housed in an authentic Victorian waterworks, the museum is a time capsule of social history and will be demonstrating over thirty working engines and pumps on the day.
Sun 9th, 12pm – 4pm
NOT NORMALLY OPEN
Bonds Hospital Almshouse, Coventry City Council, Coventry
Get a rare chance to view part of this 17th century hospital. Founded by a former Mayor of Coventry, this almshouse originally housed 10 poor members of the Trinity Guild and a housekeeper. Restored in the 1830s, and upgraded in 2005, today the building provides sheltered accommodation as part of a picturesque quadrangle in the heart of the city.
Sat 8th, 11am – 4pm
NOT NORMALLY OPEN
Coventry Freemen’s Guild Room, Coventry City Council, Coventry
Explore the atmospheric City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild Room and discover interesting carvings dating from the 15th century. Disbanded by Henry VIII, the Guild was re-formed in 1946 and visitors will get to see the chamber it now occupies in the Medieval undercroft of St Mary’s Guildhall.
Sat 15th and Sun 16th, 10am – 4pm
Blakesley Hall and Yardley Medieval Walk and Tours, Birmingham
Join experts on a leisurely stroll around the village of Yardley. Discover the hidden history of the area including medieval moats and historic buildings. Visitors can also take part in costumed guided tours of Blakesley Hall!
Sat 15th and Sun 16th, 11am – 4pm
OPENING FOR FREE
Berrington Hall, National Trust, Herefordshire
Delve into history with free entry to Berrington Hall and go back in time to the Georgian era inside the mansion. Explore ‘Capability’ Brown’s final landscape with a lake, classic walled garden and pleasure grounds, or learn ‘The Art of Georgian Gambling’ as the ‘Mannered Mob’ re-enact some classic Georgian card games.
Sat 8th, 10am – 5pm
There’s still lots of time to organise and register an event to tell your story
Search for more local events at www.heritageopendays.org.uk