Homes & Gardens

Heritage Open Days

A unique opportunity to explore and enjoy interesting buildings in English cities, towns and villages and completely free of charge.

Heritage Open Days is a celebration of England's architecture and culture that takes place every year (8th to 11h September 2011). Properties that are normally closed to the public or that charge for admission, throw open their doors. Over the four days, an eclectic mix of properties will participate from follies to windmills, town halls to tithe barns, churches to temples. Tours, events and activities that focus on local architecture and culture are organised giving everyone the opportunity to discover and learn more about England's past. The event is backed by English Heritage.


There are nearly 4000 places and events to choose from, information on which can be found in the Event Directory. Last year the event attracted 1 million visitors and with new attractions this year, it looks to be even more successful. Highlights include the Battle of Britain Command Centre at Bentley Priory in Stanmore, where there will be a re-enactment of the Operations Room. The 18th century ironstone Gothic Temple at Stowe, Buckinghamshire with its circular domed vault and magnificent views over parkland can be enjoyed whilst visitors in Bristol will have the opportunity to visit


Heritage Open Days was established in 1994 as England’s contribution to European Heritage Days, in which 49 countries now participate. In the UK, there are four other schemes taking part in September with Open House London, Doors Open Days in Scotland, Open Doors Days in Wales and European Heritage Days in Northern Ireland.

Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive, English Heritage, says: "Heritage Open Days this year is set to be even bigger than last year, so even if you are a regular Heritage Open Days-goer there will be something new for you to see and do. This is a chance to explore not just country houses but the history and culture of everything from Buddhist temples and Masonic lodges to mines, farms, pubs and factories."