25th Anniversary Highlights for Heritage Open Days in the North East

This year, Heritage Open Days will celebrate its 25th anniversary with ten days of FREE events!

Thanks to support from the National Trust and players of People’s Postcode Lottery, England’s biggest festival of history and culture will offer visitors across the North East the opportunity to enjoy family days out, explore places not normally open to the public, and learn more about the heritage on their doorstep.

A special programme of People Power events will also highlight communities, groups and individuals - both contemporary and from history - who have affected positive change; buildings saved, greenspaces created, friendships forged, campaigns fought and voices heard. While a series of ‘craftivism’ workshops will encourage everyone to become change-makers, by combining craft and activism as part of this year’s Unsung Stories arts project, Dare to Dream.

Over 350 events are planned in the region, with highlights including the Newcastle University, Library Archives, Cragside and the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club.

NEW FOR 2019

Inspiring Public Art, NVCP and North Tyneside Council, Tyne and Wear

Celebrate North Tyneside's public art heritage with a performance of songs, poems and interesting facts about the borough's public art! Visitors can also pick up a copy of a newly published book highlighting some of the key installations in the borough.

Fri 13th, 10:30am 12pm

NEW FOR 2019

Reasons to Dig, The Auckland Project, Bishop Auckland

Join a ‘reasons to dig’ workshop to explore local history through archaeology. As well as digging up history, visitors can also connect with the environment by learning how to grow fresh fruit and vegetables and find out about pioneering techniques being used at the site.

Sat 14th and Sat 21st, 10am, 11:30am and 2pm


Dare to Dream Workshop, St Chad’s Church, Bensham

Drop in at this workshop exploring positive change through gentle protest, as part of this year’s Dare to Dream arts project.Participants will reflect on change-makers of the past, before stitching a dream for the future onto a fabric ‘dream cloud’, to share publicly and encourage us all to be solution-seekers.

Sat 14th, 10am – 4pm


Collections Showcase, Newcastle University Library Archives, Newcastle

Meet the Special Collections and Archives team and discover People Power treasures from the storeroom. Visitors will learn about issues including the fight for women’s rights, campaigning for homosexual equality, student marches, and speeches on human rights in a thought-provoking handling session.

Thur 19th, 1pm 4pm


Cragside, National Trust, Northumberland

Discover the world of a Victorian inventor! Crammed full of ingenious gadgets, kids will love exploring this extraordinary house. The family can then head outside for fun in the play area, and try to find their way through the rhododendron forest tunnels of Nelly's Labyrinth.

Thur 19th, 10am 5pm


Hardwick Park Children's Trail, Stockton-on-Tees

Stretch your legs at this 18th century parkland, with a Georgian-themed discovery trail. Perfect for primary school aged children, kids can discover the history of the area, see plenty of wildlife, and complete the challenge to win a special sticker. Why not take a picnic and make a day of it!

All festival dates, 10am 4pm


Royal Northumberland Yacht Club, Friends of LV50, Blyth

Discover what living conditions were like 140 years ago on board a lightship; a floating version of a lighthouse. Not normally open to the public, visitors during the festival can take an above-and-below deck tour of Light Vessel 50.

Fri 13th Sat 14th, Thurs 19th Sat 21st, 10am 4pm (12pm on Saturdays)


The Glass House Redevelopment, Bright Blue Studio, North Shields

Take a tour of this newly redeveloped private building and its modern glass gallery. Led by the architect, visitors will explore all floors to see how new spaces and technologies have been integrated with the fabric and meaning of the original 17th century fort and later smokehouse.

Sat 21st, 10am 3pm

Full listings can be searched here: www.heritageopendays.org.uk

Image credits: The Hon. Nicholas Howard, WWT Slimbridge, National Trust, Bombay Sapphire, National Maritime Museum Greenwich