Dozens of buildings and attractions across County Durham will open their doors for free this week as part of a national celebration of history, heritage and culture.
Nearly 70 venues, including castles, museums, churches and gardens will offer free admission during this year’s Heritage Open Days event, which runs from Thursday, 8 September to Sunday, 11 September.
The programme also features a range of special activities including guided walks, open air music performances and stone carving demonstrations as well as access to buildings that are not normally open to the public.
Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “Heritage Open Days is a great showcase of our county and the many cultural gems it has to offer.
“It’s an opportunity to visit somewhere new and inspiring and to share in the passion and enthusiasm of the many dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers who run many of the events.
“The wide-ranging programme always proves incredibly popular and I’m confident that this year we will continue to build on that tradition.”
Visitors to Durham City during the four-day event can enjoy stonemason demonstrations at the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, take a guided tour of the Town Hall and explore the Colleges of St Chad’s and St John’s.
Keen gardeners are spoilt for choice with the chance to explore North End Allotments and Durham Cathedral’s own allotment garden, where the Cathedral’s expert gardeners will beon hand to answer questions and offer tips and advice.
And the beautifully restored 17 th to early 18 th century Old Durham Gardens will be hosting a range of music performances from jazz to folk and dance.
Elsewhere in the county, people can pull on their walking boots for a day trip along the county’s stunning Heritage Coast. An eight-mile grand tour will take walkers up and down the denes and along the clifftops.
Horden Colliery Heritage Centre will be serving up tea and cakes in its tearooms, where visitors can also browse archives and memorabilia documenting the village during the past century.
Other venues taking part in this year’s event include Killhope: the North of England Lead Mining Museum, where visitors can take a trip down a Victorian lead mine, Binchester Roman Fort and Locomotion: the National Railway Museum at Shildon.
Visitors are advised that some events must be booked in advance.
Full details of the programme are available in a free Heritage Open Days booklet, produced by Durham County Council and available from Customer Access Points, libraries, County Hall, visitor information points and main post offices.
It can also be downloaded at www.durham.gov.uk/heritageopendays
For more information, call 03000 267 133 or email email@example.com