We are awash with heritage, and now for the first time ever England’s biggest festival of heritage and culture will take place for two weekends, with over 550 events taking place in towns, villages and the countryside across the South West.
This year Heritage Open Days will include a special programme of ‘Extraordinary Women’ talks, walks and exhibitions, in celebration of the centenary of the Universal Suffrage Act.
Festival highlights across the region also include Mapperton House, the American Museum in Britain and Stancombe Quarry – with every single event FREE to visit!
Here’s a handy list of highlights…
NEW FOR 2018
American Museum in Britain, Bath
Join a day of celebrating the very best in American heritage and horticulture and see the newly launched replica of the Upper Garden at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s 18th century home. Come and meet the gardening team responsible for designing and planting – you might even pick up a top tip or two from the Head Gardener!
Sat 15th, 10am – 5pm
NEW FOR 2018
Stancombe Quarry, Bristol
Take a guided tour of this active quarry to learn about the geology of the site, and hear how limestone is blasted, crushed and processed before being used to build new homes. Transport enthusiasts will also be fascinated by a display of vintage and modern quarry plant and lorries, while the kids will enjoy fun exhibits, games and activities.
Sat 15th, 9:30am – 3pm
Pittville Pioneers, Friends of Pittville, Cheltenham
Visit some of the town’s beautiful historic buildings for a series of talks about local Extraordinary Women. Hear about Dr. Grace Billings, Cheltenham’s first female doctor, Mary Ann Scott who established a boarding school for girls, and the remarkable life of Mary Jane Briggs, an early suffragist and shipwreck survivor.
Fri 14th, 10am – 11am and Sun 16th, 2pm – 3:30pm
Alfred Gillett Trust, Somerset
Put your best foot forward and learn about the Extraordinary Women who have contributed to global footwear company C & J Clark. Visitors will hear about the impact of a local hero tasked with workers’ education, a fashion designer who collaborated with the brand, and the company’s first female director, Alice Clark.
All festival days, 10am – 5pm
GREAT FOR FAMILIES
TS Adventure Bristol Sea Cadets, Bristol
Celebrate the 80th birthday of the Bristol Sea Cadets! Visitors can experience some of the diverse training the unit offers, including a chance to get hands-on with marine engineering demonstrations, learn some maritime skills like rowing and sailing, get creative with craft-based activities, and watch the Cadets perform drill displays.
Sat 15th, 10am – 4pm and Sun 16th, 10am – 3pm
GREAT FOR FAMILIES
Killerton, National Trust, Exeter
Search this historic family home with suffragette-themed trails tailored for children of all ages, as well as dressing up costumes in the fashion exhibit. Visitors can also head outside to discover woodland walks, an Iron Age hill fort and even an extinct volcano!
Sat 8th, 11am – 5pm
Salisbury Guildhall Cells and Tunnel, Salisbury City Council, Salisbury
Go behind the Guildhall’s Georgian façade, and find out more about its past as a courthouse and prison since Medieval times. A special guided tour will also let visitors retrace the steps of those sentenced at the building, through the underground tunnels to the old cells and basement.
Thurs 13th and Fri 14th, 10am and 2pm
NOT NORMALLY OPEN
Mapperton House, Beaminster
Explore the Earl and Countess of Sandwich’s Jacobean manor house on a tour of rooms and items not normally open to the public. Visitors will get to see a fine collection of pictures and furniture as well as learn about the Montagu family’s connection to Samuel Pepys, and the origin of the eponymous snack!
Fri 14th, 11am and 12pm