Heritage Open Days 2022 highlights


23 August 2022
Heritage Open Days, England's biggest free festival of history and culture, is back from 9 to 18 September 2022. We take a look at some of the highlights.


On 9 September, Family Tree received the following update from the organisers of Heritage Open Days: 

We’re deeply saddened by the news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. As our longest serving monarch, a leader of integrity and a source of pride and inspiration for generations of people around the world, she’ll be deeply missed.


Heritage Open Days (HODs) has begun today (Friday 9 September) and after careful consideration, events will continue until Sunday 18 September. As England’s largest festival of history and culture, HODs offers people a chance to come together and mark all that is good about their communities. 


It is a grassroots festival, delivered by thousands of extraordinary individuals and organisations. We will support our event organisers to do what feels right for them, whether that is running their events as planned, or cancelling their activities.

Visitors are encouraged to check our website for the latest information about events. Listings will be regularly updated throughout the festival.

Every year, thousands of volunteers organise events and activities that enable us to see hidden places and enjoy new experiences, free of charge.

This year's theme is Astounding Inventions, as event partners share stories on everything from the industrial revolution to the inventions that power our daily lives, the legacies of local inventors to the quirky innovations we couldn't be without. 

Event highlights

Berkshire Heritage

Berkshire Heritage have a dedicated event area where we can help you discover either your Berkshire Heritage or help find your family history in England or elsewhere. A team of experienced volunteers can assist you with their knowledge and expertise to discover your own heritage and those of your family. Dates between 10 and 17 September. 

Centre for Heritage and Family History, 2nd Floor of Reading Central Library, Abbey Square off Kings Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 3BQ; website.

Norfolk Family History Society

Library visits

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This Heritage Open Days, the society will welcome visitors to the Library and assist them with their family history research. Dates between 10 and 17 September. 

 70 St. Giles Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1LS; website.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Signal Box Demonstrations (Pickering): 10th & 17th September

Get hands on with the history of communication and signalling as the NYMR education volunteers show you how the signal box works. You’ll even have a go at operating signal levers yourself during the experience on Platform 2 on Pickering Station. Website.

Researching photographic history

Opened specially for Heritage Open Days the RPS Resource Room is where some of the RPS’s early membership records, its journal from March 1853 to the present day, and historical photographs and books about photography are housed. If you are researching the history of photography, undertaking genealogical research and may have had a photographer in the family, or want to know more about the RPS's own history, come and drop in and talk to Dr Michael Pritchard, photo-historian and Director of Programmes, who can provide advice and guidance. In addition, you will be able to see some of the historical documents and objects housed within the Resource Room. 

11 September. Pre-booking preferred.

The Royal Photographic Society, RPS House, 337-340 Paintworks, Arnos Vale, Bristol, Bristol, BS4 3AR; website.

Skelmanthorpe Textile Heritage Centre

Guided visits of a "one-up-one-down" former weaver's cottage - a Skelmanthorpe jewel. Hand-loom demonstrations Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday (15-18 Sep).

6 Queen Street, Skelmanthorpe, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD8 9DU; website.

Walter Wright Hat Factory Tour

If you have ever wanted to see how hats are made, then join a rare tour of one of the last surviving working hat factories in Luton. 12 Sep 11am, book here.

Walter Wright Ltd, 29 Albion Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU2 0DS

See the programme and find events close to you at Heritage Open Days.