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  • FREE visits to 5,000+ hidden property gems

    FREE visits to 5,000+ hidden property gems

    Heritage sites open Thu-Sun. Eng only. No vch needed

    You can get FREE access to many sites and tourist attractions in England (see below for rest of UK) between Thu 13 to Sun 16 Sep as part of Heritage Open Days - an annual event now in its 24th year. The venues and events included usually charge an admission fee or are closed to the public. 

    How to find those open near you

    See the full list of heritage sites open for free. Opening dates and times vary for each venue, and you may need to book in advance for some - all the details are on the website.

    There are only a small number in London, but a separate event called Open House London is running on Sat 22 Sep and Sun 23 Sep, where you can get in free under similar rules.

    Examples of free places that usually charge:

    Examples of places rarely open:

    • Durham Cathedral, County Durham. Rare opportunity to see the Chapter House, which you may recognise as Professor McGonagall’s classroom from the first Harry Potter film (Sat 15 Sep for Chapter House). 
    • Cambridge University library behind the scenes tour, Cambridge. Booking essential to see where over 4 million books are stored (Thu 13 Sep only)
    • The BFI, Berkhamstead. See technical demonstrations and go on mini tours of the vaults storing the film and TV collections (Sun 16 Sep only).
    • Norman Cross Prison Depot, Cambridgeshire. Look around this Napoleonic war prison used between 1797-1814 which housed up to 7,000 French prisoners (Sat 15 and Sun 16 only).
    • St Bees Head fog horn station, Cumbria. Take a look inside the normally closed station and enjoy views over the Irish Sea (Sun 16 Sep only).

    Don't live in England?

    Other events in the UK are Doors Open Days in Scotland and Open Doors Days in Wales (both throughout September). European Heritage Days in Northern Ireland was on Sat 8 and Sun 9 Sep.

    For other events, see our cheap days out page.

    • Why do they do this?

      The spirit of Heritage Open Days is to celebrate England’s hidden history and culture. However, a small number of privately-owned properties taking part get funding or have tax-exempt collections, which means they must allow public access for certain number of days a year. But most of them just open up for the joy of it!

  • FREE visits to 5,500+ hidden property gems

    FREE visits to 5,500+ hidden property gems

    Heritage sites open Thu-Sun. Eng only. No vch needed

    You can get FREE access to many sites and tourist attractions in England between Thu 7 Sep and Sun 10 Sep as part of Heritage Open Days - an annual event now in its 23nd year. The venues included usually charge an admission fee or are closed to the public. 

    How to find those open near you

    See the full list of heritage sites open for free. Opening dates and times vary for each venue, and you may need to book in advance for some - all the details are on the website.

    There are only a small number in London, but a separate event called Open House London is running on Sat 16 Sep and Sun 17 Sep, where you can get in free under similar rules.

    Examples of free places that usually charge:

    Examples of places rarely open:

    Don't live in England?

    Other events in the UK are Doors Open Days in Scotland, Open Doors Days in Wales (both throughout September) and European Heritage Days in Northern Ireland (Sat 9 & Sun 10 Sep).

    • Why do they do this?

      The spirit of Heritage Open Days is to celebrate England’s hidden history and culture. However, a small number of privately-owned properties taking part get funding or have tax-exempt collections, which means they must allow public access for certain number of days a year. But most of them just open up for the joy of it!