29 Nov 2019
by Heritage Open Days

A collage of highlights from the 20219 festival. People walking in woods, around historic houses and hard hat tours
In 2019 Heritage Open Days celebrated 25 years of people power. (© Chris Lacey)

The year in numbers

  • 5,794 events
  • 2,159 organisers
  • 53,000 volunteers
  • 2.4 million visitors
  • £20 million added to local economies
The last 10 days have been amazing - the people we have met have just been brilliant and are so passionate about what they do.


Leicester - 2019

Making a difference

  • 91% of visitors feel increased pride in their local area
  • 84% of visitors feel that HODs events help bring different people together
  • 24% had not visited a heritage site in the last 12 months
  • 86% feel inspired to visit other heritage sites in future
  • 86% of volunteers are more likely to volunteer with other heritage sites/organisations
Numbers are important to organisers, but the effect of Heritage Open Days is much more than numbers; people come from all over to see our town, learn more of its past, and appreciate the history around us. Our town becomes better known, we increase our Society's profile and add to its membership.


Beverley - 2019

Festival snapshots

Clitheroe, Lancashire

In Clitheroe people came out of the coffee shops on a bright Saturday morning to watch the 'amazing' and 'very moving' re-enactment of the 1919 Peace Procession. This marked the start of an extraordinary day across the town, with the library hosting an exhibition and talk as well as very popular tours of their old gaol cells. Local shops displayed 'fallen soldier' sihouettes as part of an activity trail, while the castle was a hub of activity where you could meet an evacuee to hear first hand the effect of WWII on children and a chance to paint a peace pebble for a new permanent artwork.

Two images - the left a war memorial statue of a soldier with a scenic background of the town. The right, decorated and painted pebbles.
Clitheroe shone in the sunshine this year as a hub of HODs activity.
High Park Reservoir, Liverpool

High Park Reservoir had their highest number of visitors yet with donation boxes filling to four times their normal amount! 

A enclosed rooms, illuminated by yellow lights, the ceiling being held up my various scaffolding poles in the room.
HODs offered a rare chance to see the stunning High Park Reservoir, built in 1853 to provide Liverpool's drinking water. (© Maddy Pennock)

Hitting the headlines

National and regional media coverage included features in the Guardian, Evening Standard and Time Out Magazine. As well as mentions on ITV's This Morning and BBC Arts. 

Whilst the 10 days of the festival saw 2.3 million page views to the website and 660,000 organic social media impressions.

Tours for the Museum of Sex Objects in London were oversubscribed after featuring in several spreads. Whilst icons, Chatterley Whitfield and Blackpool Tower needed no extra coverage to fill their places - Chatterley's tours were all booked up in 3 mins, whilst the Tower had 2 reserve lists after filling the places in 15 mins!

Various images of news articles from magazines, newspapers and leaflets which relate to the Heritage Open Days headlines of 2019.
HODs headlines.

Celebrating 25 years of People Power

The silver anniversary of our wonderful locally driven festival inspired this year's theme of 'People Power'.

  • Over 460 People Power events were held over the festival, celebrating local stories of people and communities who have made a difference throughout history.
  • In collaboration with the Craftivist Collective, this year's Unsung Stories commission encouraged us all to 'Dare to Dream' with online toolkits, training events and 25 craftivism workshops held over the festival itself. 
A collage showing the craft actives of the dare2dream project, from people sitting around tables crafting to a finished image of the cloud craft.
Hundreds of people explored stories of past changemakers whilst considering how to make their own dreams a reality. (© Jonathan Cherry)
  • A 'Power' theme inspired hundreds of entries for this year's photography competition. Won by Ana Peiro for her dramatic image of the propeller rig within the Q121 wind tunnel building at the Farnborough RAE.
  • Bunting came out early (along with some impressive cakes!) as glasses were raised to toast the festival, particularly its incredible volunteers, at a series of anniversary celebrations. 150 people came to the national party in the stunning 2 Temple Place, while many more attended events in the regions.
Black and white photograph of an aviation object in a hangar.
A dramatic low-key image of the propeller rig within the Q121 wind tunnel building at the Farnborough RAE won our Photography competition this year. (© Ana Peiro)

A big thank you

Many thanks to all who participated - for visiting, sending in feedback, helping out on the day and planning behind the scenes. All of you who have shared your stories and highlighted the everyday wonder and value of the heritage that surrounds us - you have made this festival the extraordinary jewel it is. 

Here's to another 25 years!

A square cake with a bottom white icing, decorated and highlighted in dark blue and pink. The text reads 'Happy 25th Birthday'
YUM! Not just beautifully decorated with local icons, this lemon cake from the Sheffield anniversary launch was also one of the tastiest!

HODs will be back next year - save the dates: 11-20 September!

Find out more

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