Heritage Open Days: Celebrating a history of creativity


31 May 2023
Heritage Open Days, the country’s largest festival of history and culture, returns with a packed programme of free events.

Heritage Open Days (HODs) returns this September with thousands of free events and experiences. From historic houses to factories, museums to music halls, formal gardens to graveyards, places, spaces and communities across the country will again host free events this autumn. 

Creativity unwrapped

Hundreds of activities will adopt this year’s theme, Creativity Unwrapped, sharing England’s colourful history of creativity. The festival will celebrate the experts and enthusiastic amateurs whose passions and skills add something special to our daily lives.

Liam Montgomery, Heritage Open Days Marketing & Projects Manager says: “Whether it’s art, music, writing, or another outlet, creativity moves us and shapes our history and culture. We’re excited to put the spotlight on the people and places who give England’s heritage the X-factor and inspire festival-goers to engage with thousands of years of creativity”

Heritage Open Days events 2023

The festival will again feature thousands of events and activities across the country:

  • Organisers participating for the first time, or offering new events, include Lamport Hall in Northampton, whose skilled conservators will be on-hand for a chat
  • Join a walking tour of Garforth in West Yorkshire to learn about the town’s coal mining history
  • Enjoy a ride across London on a vintage omnibus, thanks to the London Bus Museum.

A wide range of organisers that usually charge for events, free sites that put on extra special events for the festival and places that aren't usually open to the public will take part again this year. Early highlights include:

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  • The National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Nottinghamshire’s family-friendly (8 years+) and interactive exhibition ‘The Journey’
  • Walking tours of the Royal Northern College of Music Collection in Manchester
  • The award-winning Archaeology on Prescription project at Willow House in York

Hundreds of organisers will embrace the festival’s theme of Creativity Unwrapped, such as London’s Museum of Brands, which will screen nostalgic television adverts from Heritage Brands. 

Visitors in the main collection (copyright Museum of Brands)

Founded in 1994, Heritage Open Days has captured imaginations for almost 30 years. Last year more than 45,000 organisers and volunteers ran nearly 5,000 events across the country, attracting one million visits. Around one-third of visitors had not visited a heritage site/event in the past year while 80% of festival-goers said their visit made them more proud of their local area.

Heritage Open Days is brought to you by the National Trust with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Every single Heritage Open Days event is free, including access to many sites that usually charge for admission. 

For further information, and to register your event, visit Heritage Open Days