Heritage Open Days brochure launched – 243 free events to discover Norfolk’s amazing heritage

Heritage Open Days (HODs) is back in September, offering the chance to delve into Norwich and Norfolk’s fascinating and sometimes hidden heritage once again. This year’s festival runs 10th to 13th September with events celebrating the county’s fantastic heritage.

Co-ordinated by Norwich’s Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART), the bumper brochure launches today (3rd August), with 243 free events including open buildings, guided tours and walks, exhibitions, performances and even a vintage fashion show – across Norwich, Breckland, Thetford, Broadland, Great Yarmouth, South Norfolk, North Norfolk and further afield. The brochure was launched at the Great Hospital, which will be open for tours and an evening concert by the City of Norwich Brass Band during the HODs festival.

2015 marks the 21st anniversary nationwide of the Heritage Open Days scheme, and the 11th run by HEART. The national HODs campaign theme is ‘Do Something New’ with a focus on refreshing, reinvigorating and reinterpreting local HODs locations, sites and events. Norwich and Norfolk this year offers over 75 new events, as well as many old favourites.

New event highlights include:

  • Narborough Bone Mill, Breckland. Come on a guided tour down the riverbanks of the Nar to see the site of a 19th-century watermill that ground bone for fertiliser. Our Heritage Lottery Fund project has excavated, conserved and interpreted the waterwheel and the brickwork ruins, and you will be some of the first visitors to be able to look around.
  • Wherry Hathor at Pull’s Ferry, Norwich. Rare visit to Norwich by this unique pleasure wherry, built in 1905 for the Colman sisters. It is an iconic symbol of the Edwardian discovery of the Broads as a holiday destination. Newly re-launched, her magnificent and colourful Egyptian-themed interiors have been lovingly restored to their original grandeur by the Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust, in whose care she now rests.

  • Vintage Fashion Show at The Guildhall, Norwich. The Costume & Textile Association present a vintage fashion show with garments dating from 1920 to 1980, modelled by volunteers.
  • Happisburgh Lighthouse, North Norfolk. Erected in 1791, Happisburgh Lighthouse is the only independently operated working lighthouse in the UK. Saved from closure by the local community in 1988, it is now managed by the Happisburgh Lighthouse Trust. Funding for operational and maintenance costs is raised entirely by voluntary effort. Visitors can climb the tower (112 steps) as part of a guided tour.

  • Edith Cavell’s Swardeston, South Norfolk. Walk with the local ‘overseer of the poor’ Ezra Parr as he tells you about Swardeston in the 1880s and the Cavell family. You will see a special exhibition about the Cavells and new DVD in the Cavell Room by the church.

  • Priory Gardens: Past Times Fayre, Great Yarmouth. A pop-up Gorleston Community Heritage Centre. Interest groups and schools will be exhibiting their local heritage projects within the lovely setting of Priory Gardens. There will be a marquee housing a vintage tearoom and various activities will be taking place. Part of the Friends of Priory Gardens public consultation on Gorleston community heritage and the proposal for a dedicated heritage hub in the town.

HEART has co-ordinated Heritage Open Days in Norwich since 2004 and last year was named the top HODs organiser outside London. The brochure is produced in partnership with Norwich City Council, Breckland Council, Broadland District Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, South Norfolk Council, Thetford Town Council and Visit North Norfolk, with support from the University of East Anglia, The Forum, Norwich University of the Arts, Van Dal (The Florida Group), Hansells Solicitors & Financial Advisers, and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Jo Archer, HODs Project Lead at HEART, said: “The Norwich HEART team are very pleased to announce the launch of the 2015 brochure. There is a fabulous range of events on offer across the county for the four days of the festival, all of them free to enter and many new to this year. We have a team of wonderful volunteers in place to respond to ticket requests and enquiries when booking for pre-book events opens on 3rd August. We look forward to welcoming you to this year’s festival.”

Cllr Martin Wilby, Deputy Leader of South Norfolk Council, said: “South Norfolk Council is working with Norwich Heart to promote South Norfolk and help our local economy. Events like these boost businesses in and around our historic markets towns and bring thousands of visitors to the district. We are fortunate to have some beautiful heritage sites in South Norfolk. With this year’s events cluster at Harleston, guided tours of Wymondham Abbey and the Bawburgh Banqueting Houses – new to HODs this year – to name just a few. South Norfolk has so much to see and do that visitors are welcomed back again and again.”

Cllr Stuart Clancy, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development at Broadland District Council, said: “Broadland is a beautiful district seeped in history and heritage. Heritage Open Days support our vibrant tourism industry, which is a key part of Broadland’s economy. We are delighted to be taking part in the 2015 programme and welcoming visitors back to such interesting and important sites in our district.

Tina Cunnell of Thetford Town Council said: “Thetford Town Council is proud to have four new events this year, including the fantastic one-woman play The Capable Convict Henry Kable by Fine Time Theatre. Our Heritage Open Days have something for everyone – from steam engines to nature trails, Mayoral Regalia, historical walks, and our colourful Town Crier.”

Some Heritage Open Day events require pre-booking and, due to their popularity and limited capacity, it is recommended this is done as soon as possible. However, for over half of the events no pre-booking is required and visitors can just drop in on the day – check the brochure or the website.

The Heritage Open Days events brochure for Norwich and Norfolk is out now (3rd August) and available across Norfolk or to download from www.heritagecity.org/hods, where you can also request tickets for many pre-book events. For more information visit www.heritagecity.org/hods or follow @norwichheart, #NorwichHODS and #NorfolkHODs on Twitter and Norwich HEART on Facebook.



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