Heritage Open Days in Norwich

Heritage Open Days is back in September, offering the chance to delve into Norfolk’s fascinating and sometimes hidden heritage once again. This year’s festival runs Thursday 12th – Sunday 15th September with events celebrating the county’s fantastic heritage for everyone to enjoy.

In Norwich and Norfolk alone there are 208 free events during the festival – including open buildings, guided tours and walks, exhibitions and performances – taking place across Norwich, Thetford, South Norfolk, Broadland, Great Yarmouth and further afield. There’s plenty to see and do across the long heritage weekend – as well as the ever-popular pre-book events, there are lots of drop-in activities and open buildings – see how many you can fit in!

The events brochure for Norwich and Norfolk, produced by Norwich’s Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust, is available in cultural venues, tourist information centres, libraries, post offices, cafes and shops across Norfolk. It can also be downloaded from Norwich HEART at www.heritagecity.org/hods.

There are still a few pre-book events available – discover Norwich Cathedral’s medieval graffiti, tours of Rosary Cemetery, Francis Cupiss printing company in Diss, The History of Advertising Trust in Raveningham and Ships Ahoy! tours in Blakeney.

From Monday 2nd September remaining and return tickets for pre-book tours will be available in person only from HEART at The Guildhall, Norwich (10am-4pm).

Five Norfolk gems for you to explore over Heritage Open Days:


The Bishop’s Garden, Norwich

Come and see this historic private four-acre formal city centre garden that has belonged to the Bishops of Norwich for over 900 years. Tucked away next to Norwich Cathedral, the gardens are a mix of stunning formal design, organic kitchen garden, bamboo walk and even a grass labyrinth.

Thursday 12th and Friday 13th September, 10am-4pm


Tolhouse Museum, Great Yarmouth

Take a journey through crime and punishment in one of England’s oldest prisons. Learn of the fates of witches, thieves, smugglers, pirates and murderers.

Thursday 12th, Friday 13th September. 10am-4pm

Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September, 12pm-4pm


Blickling Estate – The Mausoleum, Old School and Tower, Broadland

See inside the Mausoleum, tomb of the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire. From the outside it’s a pyramid, but from within it’s a dome! You can also explore the Old School and get a great view of the Estate from The Tower – designed for watching horse racing in Tower Park.
Saturday 14th September, 10.30am-3pm


British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford

A chance to explore buildings which once formed the medieval Benedictine nunnery of St George, one of the oldest of Thetford’s religious houses, and which are now the BTO headquarters. There is a display about the history of the site and the work of the BTO, plus the adjoining wildlife haven Nunnery Lakes Reserve is open for you to explore.

Saturday 10am-12.30pm. Tours on the half hour.


Barford, South Norfolk

The whole village of Barford in South Norfolk goes HODs crazy with local history displays, concerts, heritage tours, open churches and a historic shepherd’s hut.

Various events Friday 13th to Sunday 15th September


‘A Monk’s Life’ Re-enactment Weekend, St. Benet’s Abbey, Ludham

A special re-enactment weekend looking at the life of monks. Norwich & Norfolk Medieval Association will be camped for the weekend demonstrating medieval food, medicine, music, calligraphy, storytelling and more.

Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September, 10.30am-4pm


HEART has co-ordinated HODs in Norwich since 2005 and is now one of the largest free heritage events in England and Wales outside London. The brochure is produced in partnership with Broadland District Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, South Norfolk Council and Thetford Town Council which are responsible for organising events in their respective areas.

For more information visit www.heritagecity.org/hods, follow us on Twitter – www.twitter.com/norwichheart, also use #NorwichHODSand #NorfolkHODS – join our Facebook group Norwich HEART or call 01603 305575.

Norfolk’s Heritage Open Days is part of a national festival which is co-ordinated in partnership by The National Trust, the Heritage Alliance and Civic Voice.