Every September, an army of dedicated volunteers get together to champion local treasures through Heritage Open Days. Between 8 – 11 September, some 40,000 people across England have organised 5,000 free events to celebrate our fantastic history, architecture and culture.
Loyd Grossman, Patron for Heritage Open Days, will be making a special visit to Winchester on the evening before the festival and will be speaking at an event in the Guildhall about his career and involvement with heritage. To book tickets, visit the website here.
We caught up with our local representative, Nicky Gottlieb, to get a taste of just some of the many experiences Wintonians can expect to enjoy.
Abbey House on The Broadway was built in the 18th century on the site of a former nunnery and is now the official residence of the Mayor of Winchester. On Thursday 8 September there will be an opportunity to take a guided tour of some of the city’s rarely displayed collections of paintings and furnishings. Pre-booking is essential as places are limited, and details of how to reserve your place are available here. On Sat 10 and Sun 11, the Mayor will be on hand to show visitors around the house and answer questions.
The Chesil Theatre will be opening its doors on Sat 10 and Sun 11 between 10am and 4pm. Winchester’s dramatic society is based at St Peter’s, a 13th century church which was converted into a 70 seat theatre over 40 years ago. Visitors will have the opportunity to step behind the scenes, explore the stage lights, costumes, sets and photography from past productions.
There will be a chance for 2 – 7 year olds to meet Binky Bear at P & G Wells Bookshop on College Street, Sat 10 at 10am. Visitors are welcome to bring their teddy along to meet Binky and take a picture, before picking up an Explorer’s map complete with trails, checklists and colouring sheets. Binky’s author Liz Nankivell will be available for book signing afterwards and pre-booking is essential. Don’t miss the Winchester Bindery Open Day on Friday 9, also at P & G Wells. For details, visit here.
Other child friendly activities include story telling from Pedlars and Petticoats at St John’s House, Sat 10 between 10.30-11am and 11.30am-12pm. Children aged 10 years and younger are welcome and fancy dress is encouraged. The education team from the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust will be hosting a fun outdoor session on the meadows by the Hospital of St Cross, exploring wetland plants, conservation and river dipping. The event is sponsored by Carter Jonas and will take place on Friday 9 between 2 – 5pm.
The King Alfred Heritage Bus and Coach Display will be open Sat 10 between 10am – 3pm at the Cattle Market car park on Worthy Lane. It’s a rare chance to see 14 buses and coaches on display together, with a free vintage bus service running between Worthy Lane and the Broadway. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult and regrettably the event is unsuitable for wheelchair users.
The Ginchester Walking Tour will take place Sat 10 from 6 – 7pm. Led by the Cabinet Rooms connoisseurs, the tour will start at the Buttercross and end at the Green Man Pub, taking a look at the city’s history and what makes Winchester wonderful. Guests (18 and over) will also have the option to book a specially priced G&T package.
For a full list of events on offer and to keep an eye on any amendments to the scheduled programme, please visit the Heritage Open Days website or keep and eye on the Winchester HODs Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also download a PDF with an events programme: Winchester Heritage Open Days 2016 Programme.