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

Norfolk’s 2021 Heritage Open Days festival brochure is launched alongside new headline sponsor

Members of the Norfolk Heritage Open Days and Pensthorpe team hold up the 2021 brochure in a park full of flowers.
Heritage Open Days

Following a reduced festival in 2020, Heritage Open Days is due to come back with a bang this year with ten unmissable days of FREE tours, talks, walks, open days, exhibitions, performances and shows planned across Norfolk.

The return of this much-loved Norfolk-wide event was marked with the launch of the Norfolk Heritage Open Days brochure, alongside the announcement that Pensthorpe Natural Park is the headline sponsor for this year’s festival. It was fitting therefore that the brochure launch was celebrated with a photoshoot in the beautiful setting of Pensthorpe.

Katie Ellis, Heritage Open Days Event Producer, said:

“We are so pleased that after so much uncertainty, Heritage Open Days will return as a full-scale festival this September and we have a fantastic line-up of venues and events, with something for all ages. The festival will be a hybrid of in-person and online events, which will reflect current government guidelines to keep visitors and organisers safe.  Heritage Open Days wouldn’t be possible without the enthusiasm and commitment of the many organisers, participating venues and organisations who are supporting us in delivering the event for Norfolk, not least of which is our headline sponsor, Pensthorpe Natural Park and sponsors of Feastival at The Forum, Larking Gowen. Our grateful thanks also go to Norwich Print Solutions who have sponsored the fabulous brochure.”  

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture, and has been running for over 25 years. The Norfolk Heritage Open Days programme is coordinated and promoted by The Forum, who are delighted to welcome Pensthorpe Natural Park as headline sponsor this year. This marks the beginning of a partnership that will see the two organisations – The Forum and Pensthorpe Natural Park – work closely together in the coming months as Pensthorpe has confirmed headline sponsorship not only of Heritage Open Days but also Norwich Science Festival, which returns from 23 to 30 October 2021.  

Members of the Pensthorpe Natural Park team hold up the Norfolk Heritage Open Days brochure.
Martin Dupee, Natalie Douglas and Bill Jordan (left to right) at the Norfolk Heritage Open Days brochure launch. Photo: Keiron Tovell

Martin Dupée, General Manager, Pensthorpe Natural Park, said:

“Pensthorpe is proud to be the headline sponsor of two extraordinary events coming to Norwich this year; The Norwich Science Festival and Heritage Open Days. Both events are playing an integral role in the city recovery plan, as well as a number of other great campaigns across the region.

During the week of Heritage Open Days we have a wonderful opportunity to open our doors to visitors who may not have had the chance to visit and to see the wonders of nature and wildlife that behold Pensthorpe. The agenda set by the Norwich Science Festival from nature and zoology through to biology and sustainability offers every generation an insight into the changing world of science and the part nature plays in that.”

This year’s Heritage Open Days takes place from Friday 10 September to Sunday 19 September, and offers everyone the opportunity to explore new buildings, discover some hidden gems not normally open to the public and learn more about the cultural heritage of our communities.

The theme for this year’s Heritage Open Days is ‘Edible England’, so the festival will close with a very special two-day event to celebrate Norfolk’s rich farming heritage and burgeoning food and drink industry. Feastival at The Forum will take place on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September and will showcase Norfolk based independent and artisan traders with tasters, promotions and a fine selection of local produce. Throughout the weekend there will also be delicious street food stalls, talks, and other food related events and activities. This exciting new event for the city centre is being sponsored by chartered accountants and business advisors, Larking Gowen, who are experts in agriculture and tourism for the region.

Family try chutneys at a food stall
Feastival at The Forum. Photo: Anna Stevenson

Chris Scargill, Tourism, Leisure & Hospitality partner at Larking Gowen said:

“As a local firm, communities and local connections are important to Larking Gowen and we value being connected and embedded in this region. We have a passion for the Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality sector in the region and our specialist work with a number of food and drink producers in the region. Through our sponsorship of Feastival we can strengthen our ties to the sector and build relationships within the community”.

Printing of the festival brochure has been generously sponsored by Norwich Print Solutions, and is available to pick up now from The Forum in Norwich as well as Tourist Information Centres, libraries and venues across the county and electronically at

The Heritage Open Days programme includes plenty of the usual favourites as well as some exciting new venues and activities. Here’s just a taste of what’s on offer:

  • Visit the Edible East exhibition at The Forum, Norwich, and take part in food-themed workshops and events for all ages to explore fascinating food facts from the past with creative activities linked to Norfolk Museums and local heritage gardens.

  • Discover the history of Norwich through a series of guided walking tours delivered by the Association of the City of Norwich Tourist Guides

  • With something for all ages, explore acres of natural landscape at Pensthorpe and discover more about its wildlife inhabitants

  • Join a Family Facebook premiere with Norfolk Heritage Centre and learn all about how Caley’s, Rowntree-Mackintosh and Nestle all at one time filled the city streets with the smell of chocolate

  • Take an exclusive backstage tour at the Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston as it celebrates its 120th anniversary

  • Join a guided walk around the Blickling Estate taking in the parkland, river and woodland

  • Take a tour around the Norfolk Showground and hear all about the 175 year history of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association

  • Learn about wild cooking and foraging In Conversation with Richard Mabey at The Carnegie in Thetford

Booking for these and many other exciting venues and activities will be launched on Monday 9th August. All festival events are free to attend with many available for visitors to drop-in on the day unless indicated otherwise in the festival brochure, but some popular venues and events offer limited space and must be pre-booked.

The festival is delivered with support from Norwich City Council, Broadland District Council,  Thetford Town Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, South Norfolk Council, North Norfolk District Council, Visit North Norfolk and many local organisations and individuals. The festival is also supported by public funding from Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund.

For further information on the national Heritage Open Days programme visit For local enquiries about Heritage Open Days, please get in touch via [email protected] and visit for updates and tickets.