For the first time in its history, Heritage Open Days (HODs) is set to run events across two weekends instead of one this September.

HODs will take place between 6-9 & 13-16 September 2018 and event registration is now open to local venues, organisations and individuals wishing to host an event and be a part of this year’s festival.

HODs is England’s largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,500 organisations, 5,000 events and 40,000 volunteers. Every September, places across the whole country throw open their doors to celebrate their local heritage, community and history.

The Norfolk HODs programme, coordinated by The Forum in Norwich, offers one of the largest programmes in the country. Last year, over 70,000 visitors attended 300 heritage events in Norwich and across Norfolk.

For event organisers, there are four criteria that must be met to take part in the festival:

Entrance must be FREE!

Events need to offer something special like opening a building or an area that isn’t usually open to the public, or offer free entry to a usually charging site or activity. Organisers might consider having volunteers on site to answer questions, run activities, showcase work, or bring a venue alive with a performance.

Events must provide some form of information for HODs visitors to learn something new; maybe a guided tour or talk, leaflets, an exhibition or a skills demonstration.

The event needs to take place within the HODs dates of 6-9 & 13-16 September 2018, but it doesn’t have to be open on all days or even for a full day. It’s completely flexible.

HODs is an annual chance to enjoy our heritage and the history of places local to us, but 2018 introduces some themes which might help inspire new ideas for events. These include:

Extraordinary Women: Nationally, the HODs main theme for 2018 celebrates women who have touched lives on every scale and left a legacy that should be cherished but perhaps been overlooked.

2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage: a fantastic time to celebrate European links.

Humphry Repton anniversary: commemorate the bicentenary of the 18th century landscape gardener’s death.

Cathy Eden, HODs Coordinator at The Forum, Norwich, said: “HODs is a free community festival that enables people of all ages to discover the hidden heritage right on their doorstep. Hundreds of fantastic events are organised by people who feel passionate about their local history and community and this year there’s even more scope with the double weekend. We’d love to hear from organisations, venues and individuals who would like to be involved in hosting a Heritage Open Days event this year.”

Local venues will need to register their events via the national HODs website and registration is now open. The Forum, Norwich, offers support to Norfolk event organisers and produces and distributes the local HODs brochure. Organisers must have registered their event(s) via the national HODs website by 20 May 2018 to guarantee inclusion in the local HODs brochure.

The Forum is supported by Norwich City Council and the Tourist Information Centre in the delivery of HODs, both playing a key part in its delivery over past years. The festival is also supported by South Norfolk Council, Thetford Town Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Broadland District Council, Breckland Council and Visit North Norfolk.

For further information on the national Heritage Open Days programme visit

For local enquiries about hosting an event please email [email protected] and visit for updates.