For the first time the hugely popular Heritage Open Days will be held for two weekends from Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 September & Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 September 2018. Celebrating local heritage with free walks, talks, tours & displays in Bury St Edmunds & the surrounding area.
This September you can visit a huge variety of fascinating destinations including the ancient library in St Edmunds Cathedral, Bardwell Windmill, the Suffolk Regiment Museum and the Bury St Edmunds Record Office. You can even view behind the scenes at the Theatre Royal, take a look inside the historic Bury St Edmunds Farmers Club and for the first time this year a unique opportunity to explore the rise and fall of Rougham Hall.
For two weekends over September places and sites of historical interest will be open to the public for free, many of them allowing you to explore areas normally closed off to the public or holding additional activities for visitors to enjoy.
This year, marking the Vote 100 anniversary, we are celebrating the lives of extraordinary women. The Bury St Edmunds’ Quaker’s are opening their historic 18th century Meeting House and gardens with an opportunity to learn about the lives of local and national Quaker women. On Saturday 8 & Sunday 16 September the Guildhall will host a selection of talks, enactments and workshops from the stories of significant women of Bury St Edmunds whilst the St Edmunds Catholic Church and Chapel, one of the oldest in England, will display exhibitions of memorabilia relating to those women who have etched their place in local Catholic history.
Heritage Open Days are a fantastic opportunity to discover local hidden treasures. This year visitors are able to step inside the story of Rougham Hall with an historical talk by George Agnew followed by a fascinating walk through the ruins, parkland and gardens. Other historic explorations of the local area include a walk around Clare’s natural and built heritage, including Clare Castle, the Nuttery and Clare Common, and a rare chance to admire Bury St Edmunds from the roof of the Suffolk Regiment Museum.
There is also lots of fun for the family this year: children and adults will become starry-eyed over the solar observation and astronomy workshops at the Athenaeum; get hands-on with craft with woollen cloth and embroidery at the Guildhall and visit the home of the Suffolk Punch, Rede Hall Farm, to explore the farm and the living heritage of Suffolk.
Other highlights include historian Pat Murrell’s talk on the original Cupola House documenting its history until destroyed by fire in June 2012 and a rare opportunity to view the paintings of John Ward at Palace House in Newmarket.
Established in 1994, Heritage Open Days is England’s contribution to the European Heritage Days and has since grown into the country’s largest heritage festival. In 1991 the Council of Europe and the European Commission set up European Heritage Days to raise appreciation for Europe’s rich and diverse cultural assets and their need for care and protection. The central principle was as simple as it was compelling: to throw open the doors to historic monuments and buildings, in particular those normally closed to the public. Today, they are held annually in September in 50 signatory states to the European Cultural Convention. Each country running it in their own way, the festival not only highlights the dazzling diversity of Europe’s heritage, but also its intercultural links.
For more details on any of the events call the Bury St Edmunds Tourist Information Centre (based at The Apex) on 01284 758000 or visit www.whatsonwestsuffolk.co.uk
Also see the Heritage Open Days Website