Heritage Open Days is here again will be taking place from 8 - 11 September, so we’ve rounded up the best events taking place as part of the heritage festival.
Buxton Opera House is an Edwardian theatre that is still in use as a performance space today, with over 450 performances a year taking place within its walls. Join the Friends of Buxton for a look around the theatre, learning more about its history as a silent movie cinema and taking in its distinctive Frank Matcham design.
The Steam Yacht Gondola is sailing the pretty sights of Coniston Water with a behind the scenes tour on 10 September. Experience a pleasure cruise enjoyed by the Victorians on this fabulous yacht that has been lovingly restored from its watery grave on the riverbed. Enjoy a picnic on the bow or watch as the forests and hills lazily pass you by. Commentary from the crew will paint a picture for you of Donald Campbell and his pursuit of the world water speed record, and of John Ruskin with his work at Brantwood.
This Grade I listed 17th century house in an unspoilt Capability Brown landscape is yours to explore at Petworth on 12 September. With a 700 acre deer park surrounding, immortalised in works by Turner, there are plenty of outdoor places to explore or picnic in. Inside you’ll find a collection of works from Van Dyck, Blake and Turner. Wander through the kitchens with all their copper on display, or explore the galleries of sculptures and portraits.
Beatrix Potter is well known for her charmingly witty tales of mice and rabbits. The home which inspired these stories is open as a time capsule of this author’s life on 10 September. Not only a museum, the house have a very lively garden where you can find Jemima Puddle Duck’s egg (check the rhubarb patch!) and the rat-holes that were once the home to Samuel and Anna-Marie Whiskers.
Take a 90 guided tour through Bowood’s grounds designed by the famed landscaper Capability Brown on 8 September, where you’ll discover the hidden cascade along the lake and marvel at the arboretum. The house itself is Georgian and will be open as part of the open day. Inside you will find an orangery, a chapel and a whole host of artefacts acting as clues to the stories of former residents.
Enter a working mill from the Victorian times and meet some of the workers producing stone-ground flour on 10 September. Sitting on the banks of the River Great Ouse, the mill has stunning views and its own collection of wildlife to admire. There’s even a nearby campsite to relax in the picturesque meadows of the Ouse valley. Several walks start from the mill as well, taking you along the river and canals, or through the water meadows.
Enter the home of scientist and inventor Otto Overbeck, where you can explore the garden with its bananas and Estuary views, and then enter the Edwardian house with its fascinating collection of natural history on 10 September. The polyphon, a giant Victorian music box, will play you a tune, and there are rooms dedicated to ships and maritime history. Otto’s own invention, the Rejuvenator is also on display, promising to make you look younger and live longer.
Gibside opens its doors this on 10 September with a special look into its mysterious Chapel Crypt. Wander the 18th century landscape garden, and if you fancy a bit of gothic romance, step into the hidden world of the Palladian Chapel and its ghostly crypt, usually closed to the public. There are wooden castles and water play areas for the kids, and a brand new garden is being cultivated too with help from award winning gardener Diarmuid Gavin.
Beverley Minster dates back to the 8th century when it was once a monastery. The main body of the Minster church was completed between 1221 and 1425, which means three very distinctive styles of Gothic architecture can be picked out from its ornate walls and pillars; Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular Gothic. Explore the echoing chambers and see an exquisite example of English Gothic building on 10 September.
Enter this glorious theatre designed by Frank Matcham, which has brought drama and joy to Bristolians for over a century on 10 September. The open day allows you to see inside the VIP Ambassadors Lounge with its plush décor and exclusive space, and relax in the piano bar with a refreshing drink. The guides will be happy to explain the history of the theatre to you and you’ll get the chance to select your favourite seat in the house.
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