Heritage Open Days – Free to explore, have a peep!

05 September 2011

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Spanish City Dome, Whitley Bay © Andrew Heptinstall PhotographySpanish City Dome, Whitley Bay © Andrew Heptinstall Photography

Free to explore: thousands of buildings invite you in for a peep

Have you ever passed a building and wondered what was behind those forbidden walls? Well, September should be the month to indulge your curiosity as thousands of places across Britain are set to open their doors to the nosy, and many are normally closed to the public! Whether you live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, I bet you won’t have to travel far to find a site to stimulate your interest. Hidden gems alongside familiar buildings, follies, factories, family homes, venues of every age, style and function invite you in to discover and explore. And best of all, it’s all free of charge.

No, actually, best, really, are the tens of thousands of volunteers who make this incredibly generous offer happen. They run tours, give talks, stage performances, keep the kids amused and above all, extend a warm welcome. They make architecture human and bring history to life, they’re heritage’s heroes, but don’t worry, there’s nothing intimidating about them.

So, how to find out what’s on in your area? For up-to-date information, check out the following events’ websites:

And if you happen to be overseas and think you’ll have to miss out on the fun, there’s good news. Firstly, this happens every year in September. But secondly, and not many know this, Europe’s abuzz with open days this month as a whopping fifty countries take part in European Heritage Days. Visit the Council of Europe’s website for details. www.ehd.coe.int

By Katja Condy, English Heritage

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