Next month is the annual Heritage Open Days, where normally private buildings across the UK open their doors to the public.

It’s a sort of London Open House Weekend, but outside London* and lasting two weekends.

Due to You Know What, this year there’s rather less on offer, although the listings pages do tend to fill up a bit closer to the date.

I’ve trawled the pages and found all the venues on the South-East that need pre-booking if you want to visit them and wouldn’t usually be open on other days. I’ve usually found the best way to work is to find something you really want to visit, then plan a day visiting other venues in the locality.

For pre-booking, by county:


None of the listed venues so far require pre-booking


Keach’s Meeting House, Winslow

  • Saturday 19 September: 2pm-5pm

Bell Walk, Winslow, Buckinghamshire, MK18 3AH

Visitors can see inside the small Baptist chapel built in 1695, with information about the building, Benjamin Keach (Baptist preacher in the 1660s, pilloried for his writings) & the history of Baptists in Winslow, including early Baptist women.


28 High Street, Winslow

  • Saturday 19 September: 2pm-5pm

28 High Street, Winslow, Buckinghamshire, MK18 3HF

A Victorian building which was rebuilt as offices in 1885 by the solicitor T.P. Willis, became the headquarters of Winslow Rural District Council and now belongs to Winslow Town Council. The building will be open with displays of information about the history of Winslow and about the Town Council.


Stadium MK & Ring Of Steel Tours

  • Friday 18 September: Tours start 10am, 12pm & 2pm

Stadium MK, Stadium Way, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK1 1ST

A tour of the Ring Of Steel at Stadium MK, learning about its history and construction, with some fun arts activities for children to get involved in.



Colne Valley Postal History Museum

  • Saturday 12 September: 10.00-16.00
  • Sunday 13 September: 10.00-16.00

109 Head Street, Halstead, Essex, CO9 2AZ

Exceptional private museum of the post and telephone services in the UK housed in a suburban garden. More than 160 post boxes, telephone kiosks, stamp machines and thousands of items of GPO memorabilia including posters, bicycles, uniforms, advertising & ephemera are on display in two buildings and around the garden.


Colchester’s Street of Tombs Exhibition

  • Saturday 12 September: 10am – 3:30pm
  • Sunday 13 September: 10am – 3:30pm

Roman Circus Visitor Centre, Roman Circus Walk, Colchester, Essex, CO2 7GZ

Learn about the current excavations at the front of the Essex County Hospital which is an area once crossed by this remarkable and largely under-appreciated Roman street.


Rothamsted Manor Heritage Weekend

  • Saturday 19 September: 10.00-17.00
  • Sunday 20 September: 10.00-17.00

Rothamsted Manor House, Rothamsted Estate, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2BG

Visitors can take free guided tours of Hertfordshire’s Rothamsted Manor and explore its’ rich history, take part in various science activities, enjoy the rarely seen 16th Century murals and paintings and enjoy cream teas.


The Lost Wharves of Berkhamsted – A guided tour of yesterday’s canal

  • Wednesday 16 September: 10am

Old Mill House Hotel, London Road, Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 2NB

This guided tour identifies the sites and stories behind the many wharves which once existed along the banks of the canal and led to the growth of Berkhamsted in Victorian times. Visitors will learn of the importance of the Port of Berkhamsted.


St Peter’s Church and the Court House

High Street, Berkhamsted, Herts

  • Sunday 20 September: 3pm

Detailed tour of church pointing out important architectural and historical features, Visit also to Tudor Court House, a much altered building has had many uses over the years.


Greater London

Grand Junction at St Mary Magdalene’s

  • Saturday 19 September: 11am-4pm

St. Mary Magdalene Church, Rowington Close, London, W2 5TF

Visit one of the finest neo-Gothic churches in the country. Learn about its rich heritage, marvel at the great artistry of architect G E Street, explore the majestic chapel of St Sepulchre, or take a closer look at the new community heritage wing.


Crystal Palace Bowl

  • Saturday 19 September: 10am-5pm

Crystal Palace Park, Ledrington Road, London, SE26 6UT

Follow in the footsteps of musical legends and step on stage at the Crystal Palace Bowl! A rare opportunity to explore this architecturally award winning building and learn more about the long history of live music at the Palace.



Maidstone Town Hall Tours

  • Wednesday 16 September: 10am-2:30pm
  • Thursday 17 September: 10am-2:30pm

Maidstone Borough Council, Town Hall, Middle Row, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1TF

Enjoy a tour incorporating the architectural features of this fine Georgian building, the richly decorated council chamber, the gaol and its graffiti.


Palace Cinema Broadstairs

  • Friday 18 September: Open 11am-2pm.
  • Saturday 19 September: Open 11am-2pm.

Harbour Street, Broadstairs, Kent, CT10 1ET

See inside Broadstairs’ lovely old Grade II listed cinema! Limited visitors at a time for a quick look around (we’re small – it won’t take long!) or book in advance to stay for a short talk on local cinema history.



Claremont House

  • Saturday 12 September: 11am-4pm

Claremont Fan Court School, Claremont Drive, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9LY

Claremont House boasts a rich and varied past as the former home to Britain’s forgotten Princess Charlotte of Wales, Queen Victoria, the exiled French monarchy and World War II Hawker Aircraft Company.


For the full search list, go here.

*Inexplicably, some London venues do take part.


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One comment
  1. Catherine S says:

    2 of the links go to the wrong site . They are the Lost Wharves of Berkhamsted and St Peter’s Church, Berkhamsted. Both go to Rothamsted Manor.

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