Taking place from Friday 9 September until Sunday 18 September 2022, this year’s Heritage Open Days will celebrate innovative English inventions by bringing free events, tours and activities to Gloucestershire.
Known as one of England’s largest occasions celebrating history and culture, SoGlos has handpicked a selection of Heritage Open Days for history buffs to choose from, with more events being confirmed all the time… visit heritageopendays.org.uk for more information.
Heritage Open Days in Cheltenham
From beautiful architecture and hidden gems to art and music, explore Cheltenham’s abundant culture with this year’s Heritage Open Days tours and guides.
History lovers can discover the Victorian features of St Luke’s church on a guided tour of the galleries and clock tower, through a hidden spiral staircase. With impressive stained glass windows, mosaics and a turret clock revealing the brilliance of Victorian engineering, visitors can enjoy a journey through time. Taking place from Sunday 11 September until Sunday 18 September 2022, visitors can also take part in knitting and art workshops, or visit the artist-in-residence studio within the church. Booking in advance is advised.
There’s also a chance to listen to a short concert of choral and organ music from 3pm on Sunday 18 September 2022 at charming regency church, Christ Church. There will be performances from the likes of the Christ Church choir and Matthew Martin, Director of Music, Gonville and Caius College Cambridge. Booking isn’t necessary for this event.
Enjoy a historic tour around Dean Close School to see some of the senior school’s original buildings, dating back to 1886. The tour will include the original Headmaster’s House, the Old School Room and the Chapel, as well as some more modern additions, like the Beacon Theatre. This event will take place from Wednesday 14 September until Saturday 17 September 2022 and pre-booking is required.
Alternatively, you can check out Cheltenham’s hidden gem, the Cheltenham Synagogue. Taking place on Wednesday 14 September 2022 from 6pm, an online talk will uncover the history and the role that the Grade II* listed synagogue played in the local community. Pre-booking is required for this event.
Heritage Open Days in the Cotswolds
Populated with picturesque views and pretty chocolate-box villages like Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bibury, the Cotswolds is home to an impressive number of historical buildings.
For this year’s Heritage Open Days, special events have been organised to provide an insight into the culture and history of the Cotswolds.
On Tuesday 13 September 2022, from 11.30am, culture and nature enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the history of the Cotswolds on a guided tour of Westonbirt Gardens. An example of high Victorian landscape design, the tour leads visitors through the gardens’ stunning features, including the lake, Camellia House, ponds and school, while revealing details of the rare collection of over 18,000 trees and the Holford family history. This event requires pre-booking.
Other highlights in the Cotswolds include a tour of Rendcomb College’s unusual Italianate mansion, as well as the nearby parish church. Visitors will be guided through the medieval and Tudor history of the church, while discovering the mansion’s key features. Taking place on Sunday 18 September 2022, guests will also be invited to a Songs of Praise service at 4pm, led by the college chaplain. No booking is required for this event.
Heritage Open Days in Gloucester
Famous for its historic docks, rich waterways and iconic cathedral, Gloucester’s fascinating history dates back to Roman times. Find out more about the city’s rich heritage as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days.
Visit Beerland House to see the impressive 18th century architecture. Open on Friday 9 September, history fans will be able to see the building’s ornamental façade, forecourt, decorated ceilings and a carved wooden staircase. Showcasing the life of one of its previous owners, the high county Sheriff, his daughter’s ghost has been said to appear at the staircase window!
Heritage Open Days in Tewkesbury
Famous for mustard back in William Shakespeare’s day, as well as being home to the beautiful abbey, featuring medieval stained glass in its seven quire windows, Tewkesbury is filled with history to discover on Heritage Open Days in 2022.
From 12pm on Tuesday 13 and Thursday 15 September 2022, visitors can pop into The Bell Hotel for a glimpse of the building’s extensive history and rumoured ghostly goings-on. Located just a stone’s throw from Tewkesbury Abbey and dating from 1696, visitors can embark on a guided tour through the building to see highlights including the 300-year-old bar and potentially the resident ghost of Dinah Craik, author of the novel John Halifax, Gentleman, reputed to have been written at the hotel. Pre-booking is required for this event.
There’s also an opportunity to head over to the Tudor House Hotel and dive into the culture around the previous home of novelist John Moore. The once private home turned court of justice during the reign of James I, is complete with a secret garden and an oak door with axe marks believed to be from Cromwell’s soldiers. Tours will be taking place from 12pm on Monday 12 and Wednesday 14 September 2022. Pre-booking is required.
Heritage Open Days in Stroud
Brimming with independent shops, cafés and galleries, Stroud is a popular destination for tourists, with a lively art scene.
Running on both Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September 2022, keen craftspeople can learn the way of weaving at the Gigg Mill as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days. Visitors can also take a look behind the scenes of the Gigg Mill Weaving Shed to see how the famous Stroud cloth, worn by the soldiers of Waterloo and used at Wimbledon, is made by working hand and power-looms. Pre-booking for this event is not required.
You can also take a look around the unique and unfinished Woodchester Mansion while learning about why it was never completed. Opening its doors on Friday 9 September 2022, visitors can see the construction and architectural detail of the limestone mansion, while little ones search for carved stone creatures inhabiting the Grade I listed building. Nature fans can also try spotting a horseshoe bat from one of the breeding colonies within the gothic house. There is no pre-booking required for this event.
There’s also a chance to re-live the story of the creation of the shearing machine and early lawnmower at Stroud Brewery. Running from Saturday 10 until Sunday 11 September 2022, budding engineers can visit the exhibition and even enjoy a tasty treat or refreshing pint from the brewery.
Enjoy a stroll along the scenic canal towpath to St Mary’s Mill and see the Phoenix-made water wheel, among other Phoenix textile machines and a Tangye steam engine, powered by electricity. Taking place from Saturday 10 until Sunday 11 September 2022, St Mary’s Mill is welcoming craft and history buffs to learn the history of the cloth industry. Pre-booking for this event is required.
Or go to Dunkirk Mill to see an original cutter at work and a 12-foot-wide water wheel, which dates back to 1855. From 11am on Saturday 17 until Sunday 18 September 2022, mechanical fans can see the Phoenix-made water wheel in action and discover the role the wheel played in driving historic machinery for finishing the famous Stroud cloth.