Heritage Open Days around the South-East of England

A couple of weeks before the huge London Open House Weekend, there is a chance to do exactly the same thing outside London, as the Heritage Open Days opens up a number of buildings, and an awful lot of Churches around the country.

With over 800 venues to select from in the South-East alone, below is the list of places I would be found at, money and physics not withstanding.

Almost every town with something listed below has a number of other events taking place, so if you want to visit one specific venue, there will be plenty else in the area to make it a day out.

Rather sadly, one venue I missed last year isn’t in the list this year – but that’s the risk with these things. Maybe next year/decade?

Heritage Open Days runs Thur 6th Sept to Sun 9th Sept.

Some events need pre-booking, all are free. Some have limited capacity so you might have to wait for a tour.


Greenham Common Decontamination Centre Sat & Sun
Decontamination centre for Greenham Common air base, built in 1980 against chemical or biological attack. Airlocks, decontamination rooms, control panel and clean air processing room. Nearby decking platform (up stairs) with excellent view of Greenham Common. Newbury, Berks

King’s Meadow Swimming Baths Fri & Sat
An opportunity to visit these 1902, Grade II Listed, semi-open air baths. Special for their cast ironwork and Reading style brickwork. The tank of the bath is 120ft x 45ft and it ranges from 3ft 6" to 7ft 6" in depth. It was last open for public swimming in 1976 and is currently in a critical condition. Reading, Berks

The Forbury Hotel Thur-Sun
The wide hallways, vaulted ceilings, cornice mouldings and even the original lift shaft have been lovingly restored. The central lift shaft that runs the full height of the building is now the setting for a stunning Italian chandelier, with 86,000 individual glass beads from top to bottom. Reading, Berks

Horlicks (GlaxoSmithKline) Fri
During Heritage Open Day there will be one tour of the small museum, archives and the beautiful Art Deco Board room completed in 1927 and furnished with Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson furniture. There will also be a chance to visit Horlicks’s own railway station and platform which led onto the Great Western Railway Slough, Berks

Halton House, RAF Halton Officers’ Mess Sun
A rare opportunity to visit the weekend country house and gardens of Alfred de Rothschild. Built 1883 in the style of a French château, for 30 years it provided the venue for Rothschild’s weekend parties. In 1918 the house was acquired by the Royal Air Force. Aylesbury, Bucks

H G Matthews Brick Yard Sun
H.G.Matthews is a working brickworks and produce hand-made bricks for renovation of many historic buildings. They have recently started using wood fired kilns to achieve better matches to old bricks. Chesham, Bucks

Blackfriars Cellar Tours Sat & Sun
An opportunity to visit the largest undercroft in historical Winchelsea with its recently discovered, nationally significant, medieval marine etchings. Winchelsea, East Sussex

Royal Marines Museum Sat & Sun
Heritage Open Days allows visitors to access areas of the Museum which are not accessible to the general public, giving you a unique insight in to this extraordinary building which was previously the Officers’ Mess of the Royal Marines. Southsea, Hampshire

RSPB Cooling Radio Station Sun
A guided walk to the Cooling Radio Station and discover its remarkable and unique history that spans our past, present and future. Cooling, Kent

Grand Shaft Staircase Sat & Sun
Triple spiral staircase built 1803-1809 connecting grand shaft barracks on the cliff top with Snargate Street at sea level. Dover, Kent

Folkestone Leas Lift Sat & Sun
One of three surviving Victorian water balance lifts. Rare chance to explore pump room. Folkestone, Kent

The Archbishops’ Palace Sun
An exclusive opportunity to view this landmark building. This magnificent medieval Ragstone Palace in its riverside setting provided a resting place for the Archbishops of Canterbury on their way to London. Now the Kent Register Office. Maidstone, Kent

Network Rail: Training & Heritage Fri
Paddock Wood grew from the rich heritage of the railway and this unique opportunity is ideal for railway enthusiasts. Paddock Wood, Kent

The Grange Fri-Sun
A rare opportunity to view the Gothic splendour of Augustus Pugin’s former home, built by himself in 1845. It was here Pugin produced some of his finest work including the designs for the House of Lords. Ramsgate, Kent

St Matthew’s School Air Raid Shelter Thur & Fri
World War II air raid shelter under playground, with historical display. Once equipped with shovels, picks, a crowbar and a seven pound hammer in case of direct hits, the shelter was used with great frequency from 1940. Southborough, Kent

Opera House Thur – Sat
A blue badge guide will show visitors behind the scenes, in the Dress and Upper Circles and the Boxes, and recount the history of the Opera House. Please bring your own torch. Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Wesley-Barrell Upholstery Workshop Tour Thur
Enjoy a Wesley-Barrell upholstery workshop tour, which will take visitors through the process of making our sofas, from the frame to the finished product. Ducklington, Oxfordshire

Blackwell’s Bookshop Sat & Sun
We are opening the private office of Sir Basil Blackwell (1889-1984) who was known as ‘The Gaffer’. It is decorated and furnished much as it was during his lifetime and is only opened to the public for special events. Oxford, Oxfordshire

Chemistry Research Laboratory Sat
Opportunity to see modern research laboratories, analytical facilities such as the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometers and behind the scenes areas that keep the building operating. Oxford, Oxfordshire

City of London Freemen’s School Sun
The City of London Freemen’s School was founded in 1854 for "70 boys and girls, to be admitted to the school between the ages of 7 and 10 and to be kept until the age of 14, during which time they should be fed, clothed and educated without charge". Ashtead, Surrey

Behind the Scenes at Dorking Halls Thur – Sun
Rare opportunity to see behind the scenes of this historical venue dating from 1931. This informative tour will take in the auditoriums and stage areas, technical stores, projection and lighting rooms and much more. Dorking, Surrey

Mullard Space Science Laboratory Open Day Sat
Visit UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory to learn about the origins of the UK’s space science programme and the world-leading role that is played today. Dorking, Surrey

Guildford Cathedral Tower Sat & Sun
Climb the 249 steps up the tower for wonderful views of Guildford and beyond. Guildford, Surrey

Henley Fort Sun
Built in 1896 as the western post of thirteen fortified positions to defend London against possible invasion by the French, Henley Fort is the most complete of those remaining. Hidden from casual view at the top of The Mount, the fort has outstanding views across the Thames Valley and on a clear day you can see London. Guildford, Surrey

Seething Wells Waterworks Thur – Sun
The Lambeth Waterworks was established in Seething Wells in 1852 and it was water from these works that Dr John Snow used to prove that cholera was waterborne. Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

The Bentall Centre – Back of House Tour Fri
The behind the scenes tour of the centre offers an insight in to the building’s structure, history and development to date. Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

The John Lewis Undercroft Sat & Sun
Chalk and flint vaulted cellar built c.1350. It was lifted bodily from its original position on the site and now joins the medieval bridge remains , c.1170, in the basement. Kingston upon Thames, Surrey,

Surrey Society of Model Engineers Sat
Behind-the-scenes tour of model engineering society which mainly concentrates on miniature railways. Sited on six acres close to the River Mole at the lower end of Leatherhead. Leatherhead, Surrey

Mill Church Sat & Sun
18th century windmill which became a church towards the end of the 19th century. Believed to be the only consecrated windmill in the UK. Reigate, Surrey

Battle of Britain Bunker Fri – Sun
The Bunker housed the Fighter Command No.11 Group Operations Room throughout the Second World War, which was the room from which most of the RAF’s side of the Battle of Britain was coordinated. Uxbridge, Bucks

Radar Tower Beacon Hill Fort Sat & Sun
One of the earliest developments of radar in WWII – used to detect ‘E’ boat attacks on RN Destroyer Base. Harwich, Essex

 

« « Previous Blog Post Next Blog Post » »

Sign up for my free weekly email newsletter

Sample Issue

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this article!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

web