In 1991, the Council of Europe and the European Commission set up European Heritage Days to encourage the appreciation and protection of Europe’s diverse cultural assets. They wanted to throw open the doors to historic monuments and buildings, particularly those normally closed to the public.
Today, Heritage Open Days are held in September in 50 countries. England’s Heritage Open Days have grown into England’s largest heritage festival, with over 5,000 events held annually, including exclusive openings and family-friendly activities. This year, for the first time, the festival will take place on two consecutive weekends. It will also mark the centenary of the Universal Suffrage Act with ‘Extraordinary Women’ events, celebrating well-known and lesser-known remarkable women.
To find a suitable event or open day near you, visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk.
Do you fancy visiting somewhere exclusive – somewhere normally closed to the public, even on Heritage Days? Then you’re in luck. Places open exclusively this year are:
The Banqueting House, Gateshead.
An 18th century Gothic folly offering a stunning view of the Derwent Valley, open 10am – 4pm on 8th and 9th September.
The Nuclear Bunker, Whitstable.
Climb down the 15ft vertical ladder to learn more about this bunker, built in 1966 to monitor possible Cold War attacks, open 12pm – 3pm on 15th September.
The Wavertree Lock-Up, Liverpool.
A jail built in 1796, since used to isolate cholera victims and house destitute Irish families, open 12pm – 4pm on 9th Septem
More locally, of course, we have the following sites to visit:
All Saints’ Church, Spofforth
Church Lane, Spofforth, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 1AF
A warm welcome awaits visitors at this Grade 2 listed church. There will be an opportunity to view the 200 year old clock and see the registers held in church.
No booking required. Portable ramp available for visitors using wheelchairs.
Royal Pump Room Museum
Royal Pump Room Museum, Crown Place, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 2R
Visit for free as Harrogate’s museum celebrates its 65th birthday.
Pre-booking is required. No booking is required for entrance to the museum, but we ask that you book places on the guided tours to the sulphur well.
Call: 01423 556188 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Booking opens: 1 August 2018 10:30 Booking closes: 15 September 2018 10:30
Disc parking available for nearby. Access to the sulphur well is by guided tour only. The wells are in the basement of the building, down a steep and narrow flight of stairs. The induction
loop operates at the museum reception desk.
Max 8 people per tour/session.
Opposite the Valley Gardens, just off the Crown Roundabout, beside the Crown Hotel. Nearest car park, Royal Baths Car Park.
Knaresborough Castle and Museum
Castle Yard, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 8AS
Enjoy free entry to the Castle’s majestic 14th century Keep and the Courthouse Museum.
Pre-booking is required
No booking is required to visit the Keep and Museum but booking is required for tours to the sallyport. Tours are offered at 11.00, 12.00. 14.00 and 15.00
Contact: Harrogate Museums. Call: 01423 556188 Email: email@example.com Booking opens: 1 August 2018 10:30 Booking closes: 15 September 2018 11:00
The castle grounds are accessible for wheelchairs but there is limited access to the historic buildings. The Courthouse Museum is equipped with a hearing induction loop. There is a
public car park adjacent to the site with a public toilet block. Floors and steps are uneven in places. Max 15 people per tour/session. You will find the castle close to Knaresborough’s Market Place in the centre of town. The nearest car park is in Castle Yard. There is also a pleasant but fairly strenuous walk signposted up to the castle from Waterside.