This year Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens hosted a special Pride Party interwoven with the traditional craft of proggy. This innovative event was co-created with young people as long term festival participants, Sunderland Culture, joined our New Wave programme.
A Hindu place of worship in a modern building, beautifully decorated with traditional designs, welcomed many eager visitors over Heritage Open Days for the first time this year. Careful planning to engage a large new team of volunteers, ranging in age from 11-70+, meant they could spend more time with visitors enriching the experience for all.
A collection of art and crafts from South Asia and neighbouring countries, housed in an extraordinary old building has been opening its doors to festival visitors since 2015. Heritage Open Days (HODs) provides a valuable platform for the expert team to highlight their work and draw in new audiences, whose feedback helps shape future plans.
Traditional skills don't have to be lost in the past. To demonstrate this Heatherfield Heritage's eclectic team (including painters, carpenters, mechanics and much more!) took a punt with an online offering for their first Heritage Open Days. Overcoming challenges they created a series of bitesize videos showcasing the stories and craft behind the arts of our inland waterways, with a lighthearted touch that proved popular.
This beautiful Historic House in Northamptonshire offered that little something extra over their first Heritage Open Days, which drew in the crowds. Inspired by our work with Icon they ran a Conservation Unlocked event with experts in stained glass, gilding, books, and textiles to showcase all the different conservation work done at this beautiful site with a world class collection.
The most northerly town in England was one of the first pioneers of Heritage Open Days. Its ongoing success as a festival hub is down to the work of many volunteers, working in partnership and willing to try new things. Since 2018 a multi-generational steering group has coordinated the brilliant progamme of events, drawing on its rich history to transform the town for a weekend, helping people see it in a new light.
This medieval house is bursting with stories but not a lot of space! To work round this the team at National Trust Tintagel Old Post Office work in partnership with their neighbours (Tintagel WI) to showcase their site and engage more of their local community. This year's focus for the festival was on celebrating the 30th anniversary of the restoration work for their wonderful wonky roof - by inviting more people in to share their story, they have also gained new information for their archives.
A world class archive with an extensive, and surprisingly diverse range of material in its collection, sits beyond a humble driveway in a small Hertfordshire town. Due to the sensitive nature of the site and its work the doors can only be opened to the public for one day each year - Heritage Open Day! The festival not only allows the public a rare opportunity to see behind the scenes but it also gives the expert staff the chance to share their work and see its impact on the people who access the collections they have so painstakingly restored and researched.
An amazing collection of shoemaking heritage including a curious machine that creates poetry in latin! The Alfred Gillett Trust has much to offer visitors but is not yet fully open to the public so Heritage Open Days provides a valuable opportunity for the team to share their stories. And in a year where we celebrated 'Astounding Inventions', that poetic machine stepped straight into the media spotlight!
This beautiful Georgian house was invaded by giant (knitted) bugs as part of an expanded visitor offer for the festival this year. Working in partnership with the local Westerham Society and also with other National Trust colleagues tested the team's planning and resources but helped bring in a new audience.
We all need a little help from our friends... for the Friends of Friendless Churches this means coming together to restore beautiful historic buildings to their place as community hubs. As a small charitable organisation with a wide remit and limited resources, Heritage Open Days provides an all important platform for them to share their work and reach out to potential new friends.
Swindon - expect the unexpected! This year a new hub of festival fun and surprising stories emerged from somewhere quite unexpected. This former railway hub is being rejuvenated as one of Historic England's Heritage Action Zones, with the community coming together to serve up a festival feast.
This former mining colliery is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the oldest known rope hauled railway system in the world. The team have been running Heritage Open Days since 2017 and it's become a 'firm favourite' in their events calendar. For 2021 alongside their usual brilliant tours and talks our Edible England theme gave them a whole new line of inspiration. In just three months they converted part of this industrial site into a thriving community allotment.
The team at this elegant Regency house has been cooking up a storm! Festival participants from our earliest days they take people back in time and behind the scenes of the house's restoration. More recently though, going online has enabled their Regency Cook to reach a much wider audience with his recipe for interactive workshops on puddings of the past.
This intriguing 300 year old Meeting House is definitely a hidden gem with a whole lot of heart. The Mansfield Unitarians' enthusiastic planning team has been running a Heritage Open Day since 2013, working in partnership locally (and beyond!) to create a weekend of fun and friendship for all the community.
The Friends group of a small local cemetery organised one of the biggest press highlights of the year. The Friends have worked in partnership with the local heritage group to run Heritage Open Days for a number of years but this time they researched ways they could connect with the national festival theme, and the result was a real 'CemeTreat'!
Not all castles are the same... in the heart of Devon sits one that has been an historic family home for over six centuries with a growing reputation as a hub of community engagement. The glorious Powderham Castle welcomes over 40,000 visitors in a normal year with an emphasis on working in partnership with local groups and educational charities. Heritage Open Days has become one of their open access programmes, giving visitors the chance to 'test drive' a day trip and the team an opportunity to connect with competitors.
From telescopes to jigsaw puzzles, the community at this Grade II* listed church in Greater Manchester have continually found new ways to welcome people and share their story. Taking part in Heritage Open Days has been an important part of this, not only helping local people discover the brilliant community centre on their doorstep, but uncovering more of the church's own heritage story along the way.
Leicester's YMCA houses a beautiful Edwardian Theatre - the oldest in the city. This year the site and its history was shared in a brilliant new way as young people from the Kick the Dust project created an immersive experience for visitors to explore over Heritage Open Days.
An independent charity dedicated to supporting people with sight loss in Sheffield for the past 160 years, Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind was due to celebrate their anniversary in 2020. They planned to open their doors for the festival to share their story and work until the pandemic curtailed plans. Going online instead though has given them accessible new ways to reach people that will be taken forward for the future.