Heritage Open Days 2019

England’s largest festival of history, architecture and culture will be returning again to Lancaster and Morecambe Bay from 13-22 September.

Luneside Engineering
Re-discover Lancaster's hidden gems including Luneside Engineering 

Heritage Open Days provide people with the perfect opportunity to explore hidden places across the country and try out new experiences - all for free.

This year, Heritage Open Days (HODs) celebrates its 25th anniversary and the theme is ‘People Power’, celebrating the power of people to galvanise change in their workplaces and their communities. The People Power theme also recognises the input from organisers, communities and visitors over the years in making the festival what it is today.

HODs aim to get people involved in maintaining their local heritage, and many of the Lancaster and Morecambe Bay heritage venues have volunteer groups which welcome new members to come and help with conservation and preservation work, as well as being volunteer stewards and guides. 

During the ten days, you can join a host of special openings, guided tours and events, exploring some of the hidden gems in and around Lancaster and Morecambe Bay and bringing local history and culture to life.

Peek behind the scenes at The Dukes Playhouse, go ‘On The War Path’ with a talk on Lancaster’s military history, or experience Victorian life in the tiny but fascinating Cottage Museum.

Meet mini-beasts and butterflies at Williamson Park, find out about Luneside Engineering’s famous mechanical elephants or be amazed by birds of prey at Leighton Hall.

A walk around Morecambe will reveal its wonderful entertainment heritage and you can go on a tour of the Winter Gardens which opened in 1897.

Come and explore the home of Ludus Dance in Lancaster’s Assembly Rooms and then join in a tea dance led by the Youth Dance Company. Discover the secrets of The Storey Garden or find out what Lancaster and District Heritage Group’s archaeological dig has uncovered at Quay Meadow.

As with previous years you’ll be able to make a few days of it with regular additions to the programme including tours of Lancaster’s town hall with a special viewing of its magnificent clock tower, plus tours of Lancaster Castle, Priory Church, Grand Theatre, Standfast and Barracks and Quaker Friends Meeting House who are all featuring again for 2019.  

There’s also plenty of things to see and do in other areas around Morecambe Bay including a guided walk around Hincaster Tunnel in Stainton, a tour of Kents Bank to Kirkhead Tower in Grange-over-Sands and open days at Swarthmoor Hall, the Roxy Cinema and Conishead Priory and Modern Buddhist Temple in Ulverston.

Coun Jean Parr, Cabinet member with responsibility for arts, culture, leisure and tourism, said:  “Thanks to those who volunteer their time to help preserve and showcase the districts rich offering of historic buildings, structures, waterways and parks, this year’s festival promises something for everyone. With walks, talks, tours, boat trips, exhibitions and activities, we hope you’ll join us for a day or two to celebrate the unique history and heritage of Lancaster and Morecambe Bay.”

More information on all the venues taking part in this year’s festival and when they will be open can be found at www.heritageopendays.org.uk   Alternatively you can pick up a free copy of the programme at visitor information centres in Lancaster and Morecambe.

Last updated: 30 August 2019