Save the Date! - Heritage Open Days returns 6-15 September 2024

Heritage Open Days... for families!

Heritage Open Days, Events, 2023

What will delight the whole family during this HODs festival... we've got you covered.

Think Heritage Open Days is just for history buffs? Think again! It's a fabulous opportunity to get out and about with the family and the little ones to discover some amazing places and fun events.

You can also be reassured that all Norfolk HODs events are free, plus you'll most likely come away having learned something fascinating about our local history or heritage!

As lots of the pre-book HODs events are fully booked now, we've popped together a list of events and locations that are free, drop-in, and family friendly.

Saturday 9 September: Head to Waterloo Park, North Norwich's stunning, family-friendly park with a Grade II listed Pavilion for a full day of entertainment. Witness the panoramic views from the balcony of the Pavilion, which is also a café, and enjoy music, an exhibition of the history of Waterloo Park. Plus, you can see the amazing results achieved from the plants in their very own Dye beds, which reflect the history of dyeing in the area, alongside a free drop-in printmaking activity for children of all ages. Come and learn how to make a gorgeous botanical inspired print, and a card for someone special, all materials provided.

Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 September: Did you know Girlguiding Norfolk's Archive Resource Centre is unique in the UK? It's the only purpose-built Girlguiding Archive/Museum, and they love to bring the guiding history of the past 110 years alive for all ages to appreciate & enjoy! Visit to experience camp skills, learn what Brownies did with cotton reels in the 1940s and how leaders were trained to help displaced persons in Europe and further afield at the end of WWII. See how they creative streaks to make these accessible to girls and young women, not only in Norfolk but all over the country. You're encouraged to explore for yourself and share your stories in true girlguiding style.

Waterloo Park. Credit: Norwich City Council

Sunday 10 September: Explore the fascinating site of Gressenhall, a family friendly museum and farm set in the rural landscape of the Norfolk countryside. With over 50 acres to explore there’s lots to see and do! Study objects from the workhouse and enjoy interactive displays, find out how workhouses played a role in the care system, get up close and personal with preserved farm machinery, rural collections and steam engines. You can also take a stroll down to the heritage working farm to see rare breed animals, including our 6 Suffolk Punch Horses. A brilliant day for everyone while you learn about the history of farming and take in the beauty of the site on a trailer ride!

Sunday 10 September: Visit the Plantation Garden, the restored Victorian garden with a gothic fountain and Italianate terrace, gorgeous plant beds and woodland walks, free of charge from 9am- 6pm. Music from local musicians and afternoon tea refreshments (2-5pm) will make for a brilliant atmosphere. You can learn about the history of the making of the Garden, its decline in the mid-20th century, and its re-discovery and restoration from 1980 onwards from the information boards placed around the Garden. There will also be 'The Colour of Flower' exhibition to enjoy too. And if you're inspired by all the gorgeous greenery, The Panache Plants will be selling a range of exotic and herbaceous plants on the day.

Friday 15 September: Visit one of Norwich's most iconic landmarks and let the kids explore Norwich Cathedral creatively through hands-on activities in the library. Drop in any time from 3.30-5pm to have a go at paper marbling, designing a stained glass window and lots more. The event is ideal for primary-school age children, and ideal for an after-school activity.

Friday 15 September: Celebrate 100 years of Mile Cross with The Common Lot's Lantern Procession! In the weeks prior to the festival, the community have been busy crafting lanterns together and local theatre company The Common Lot have been rehearsing originally created songs. Gathering on the green outside Mile Cross Primary from 6pm, lanterns in hand, the procession will walk from the old estate to the building site where the new houses are set to be built,on the old City Works Depot site. You can hang lanterns and sing to bless the land for the homes that are coming. Simple refreshments and lots of camaraderie are available on the night. See you there!

Saturday 16 September: Enjoy a day at Dereham Station with the 'fiery dragon' steam train! The station will be open from 9.30am-4pm. You can discover the origin and development of the local railways at one of the illustrated short talks and by visiting the Museum Room, while a guided tour around the station's public areas will give you the low-down on the station itself and adjacent railway buildings. If you want a real insight into railway life of the past then come along to another of our short talks when a retired railwayman will recount some reminiscences and anecdotes. There will also be crafty activities for children too!

Dereham's Fiery Dragon C. NMR Archive

Saturday 16 September: Colourful Morris Dancers will be taking to the streets of Norwich! Performers from all over the East of England will be demonstrating traditional dances including Morris dancing with sticks and hankies, clog dancing and more. Sure to delight all ages and perfect entertainment during a day out in the city centre, the traditional dances will take place at various times at The Forum, Chantry Square, Tombland, Norwich Cathedral, Pottergate, Maddermarket Theatre, Back of the Inns (by the entrance to Castle Mall) & London Street.

Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 September: Who doesn't love a National Trust property to explore? Blickling Estate is hosting a special day for HODs which delves into the past of the life of tenant, American horticulturalist Zelia Hoffman, and some of the estate workers who cared for Blickling in the 1920s. You'll get to meet and interact with characters from Blickling's past and present in the Farmyard throughout the day, 11am-4pm.

Don't forget to share this with your friends, family or anyone else you think might love to visit and join in. If you attend a HODs event, we'd love to know what you got up to, too!