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Hidden places: Heritage Open Days in Kent

PUBLISHED: 16:49 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:49 30 August 2018

Explore Chartwell, the family estate of Winston Churchill (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Explore Chartwell, the family estate of Winston Churchill (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Manu Palomeque

For the first time ever, England’s biggest festival of heritage and culture will take place across two weekends - and it’s all free

This month, for the first time in its 24-year history, Heritage Open Days – England’s largest festival of culture and history – is taking place over two consecutive weekends in September.

In recognition of the centenary of the Universal Suffrage Act, there will be hundreds of events taking place on the theme of ‘Extraordinary Women’ – focusing on both well-known and less-celebrated women.

In addition, Heritage Open Days is launching a second Unsung Stories project, following on from the critically acclaimed LGBTQ events last year.

Put her forward, a ground-breaking artistic collaboration, will see the creation of up to 25 new 3-D modelled figurines of present-day ‘Extraordinary Women.’ Interactive theatre makers non zero one will source nominations for community heroines in towns and cities, as well as online; selected candidates will be permanently commemorated with statues unveiled over the HODs weekend.

“Every year, Heritage Open Days becomes a more diverse and fascinating festival,” says patron, Loyd Grossman.

“It’s wonderful that, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are able to continue the Unsung Stories project, which actively sources and shares stories of individuals and events that conventional histories may have overlooked. And, of course, we continue to celebrate all aspects of local heritage, with thousands of other walks, talks, openings and events – all of them free!”

Take a look inside the Sibson Building, the award-winning new addition to the University of Kent campus (photo: Lesley Farr)Take a look inside the Sibson Building, the award-winning new addition to the University of Kent campus (photo: Lesley Farr)

New for 2018

• Sibson Building

University of Kent and Canterbury Society, Canterbury

Take a look inside this new addition to the University campus. Opened in 2017, this modern building is set in woodland on the northern edge of the campus. Learn about this W-shaped building and its eco-friendly features, including natural ventilation, thermal mass, night-time cooling and wildflower roofs.

6 and 7, 13 and 14 September, 9am-5pm

See a Bronze Age boat at Dover Museum (photo: Manu Palomeque)See a Bronze Age boat at Dover Museum (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Great for families

• Dover Museum Family Day

Dover Society, Dover

See a Bronze Age boat and enjoy other activities with a cross-Channel theme on a family day out. After being discovered 20 feet below ground in 1922, this historic boat was successfully excavated and visitors will be able to see it featured in a purpose built gallery in Dover Museum.

8 September, 10.30am-3.30pm

Visit Knole's showrooms and conservation studio or head outside and explore the 1,000 acres of parkland (photo: Manu Palomeque)Visit Knole's showrooms and conservation studio or head outside and explore the 1,000 acres of parkland (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Not normally open

• Chartwell Garden & Studio

National Trust, Westerham

Explore the family estate of Winston Churchill and see the lakes, kitchen garden and the Marycot, a playhouse designed for his youngest daughter Mary. A great day out for the family, activities will include walks, trails and den building as well as tours of Churchill’s painting studio.

15 September, 11am-4pm

Visit Pines Calyx on a walk from Dover to Deal, part of an art and architecture trail (photo: Dover Arts Development)Visit Pines Calyx on a walk from Dover to Deal, part of an art and architecture trail (photo: Dover Arts Development)

• Nuclear Bunker, Whitstable

Canterbury Society and Woodland Trust

Come and explore a nuclear bunker! Built in 1966 to monitor potential attacks during the Cold War, it was decommissioned in 1976. The bunker is not normally open, so this is a rare chance for visitors to climb down the 15ft vertical ladder and learn more about the history of warfare from a local historian.

15 September 12pm-3pm

Take a tour of the Georgian Maidstone Town Hall and spot the historic graffiti (photo: Manu Palomeque)Take a tour of the Georgian Maidstone Town Hall and spot the historic graffiti (photo: Manu Palomeque)

• CHALKUP21: A Walk Across the Clifftops

Dover Arts Development, Dover

Walk from Dover to Deal on an art and architecture trail. Participants will learn about six contemporary structures along the coastline, including Tonkin Lui’s Three Waves Dover esplanade and van Heyningen and Haward’s National Trust Visitor Centre, as well as historic Arts and Crafts and Art Deco houses.

14 September, 10.30am-4pm

• Maidstone Town Hall Tours

Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone

Take a tour of the Georgian Town Hall, originally used as the Magistrate’s Courts. Visitors will learn about its architectural features, the unique stories of the frescos in the council chamber and even see historic graffiti in an old prison cell.

8 September, 10am, 12pm and 2pm

• Knole

National Trust, Sevenoaks

Visit the showrooms and conservation studio of this country house, or head outside and explore the 1,000 acres of parkland. Visitors can also climb the spiral staircase of the Gatehouse Tower to enjoy the magnificent views of Knole Park, and dress in Tudor costume (Sat only) for a unique family portrait.

7 and 8 September, 10am-5pm

Find out more

Heritage Open Days

6-9 and 13-16 September 2018

Heritage Open Days is co-ordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust with funding by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and run locally by a large range of organisations (including civic societies, heritage organisations, and local councils, community champions and thousands of enthusiastic volunteers). It is England’s contribution to European Heritage Days, taking place across 50 countries.


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