Where to go for Heritage Open Days events in Kent

PUBLISHED: 10:47 08 September 2020

Mote Park, Maidstone

Mote Park, Maidstone


Heritage Open Days is back – with an emphasis this year on discovering previously overlooked green spaces | Words: Francesca Baker - Photos: courtesy of Heritage Open Days

To the great delight of fans of England’s largest festival of history and culture, Heritage Open Days will go ahead this month – with a few inevitable, innovative, differences from previous years.

This year the programme will comprise a mix of in-person and digital events. Kentish communities will be able to celebrate the stories of the places and spaces that are important to them while staying safe and adhering to current social distancing measures.

The event is entirely volunteer led, and the largest cultural grassroots festival in the country. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery means every Heritage Open Days event is free – including access to sites that usually charge for admission.

Last year, 5,700 events were organised which welcomed more than 2.4 million visitors. This autumn, some venues and outdoor spaces will open for pre-booked events and visits by small groups, while others will offer virtual tours and digital experiences.

Ditton Heritage CentreDitton Heritage Centre

Kent will be well represented, with many organisations and venues already planning their involvement.

In 2019 there were 241 events across Kent, with hubs of events in Dover, Thanet and Canterbury.

Like many arts venues, The Forum Arts and Music Centre in Tunbridge Wells struggled as a result of lockdown.

The centre is celebrating its history and taking a ‘digital-first’ approach by sharing key moments in the heritage of the building built in 1939, on the ancient site of Fonthill, Tunbridge Wells Common, next to an old spring and cold bath.

Some venues are opening up for socially distanced tours. Ditton Heritage Centre invites visitors to step back in time on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 September to find out more about the centre and the history of the village.

Hawkenbury AllotmentsHawkenbury Allotments

Volunteers will welcome you to the Victorian classroom and the collection of local historical resources.

The theme for 2020 is Hidden Nature. Hidden Nature events will encourage people to spend time outdoors and discover green spaces they were unaware of or had previously overlooked.

Activities will open up areas of the countryside that aren’t normally accessible and reveal the stories of not just wide-open spaces, but also smaller green environments such as community gardens, urban allotments, orchards and vineyards and even city farms.

In Mote Park there will be a series of walks, including a twilight tales event, a bat walk, and daytime strolls to take in the living landscape, past and present.

Tunbridge Wells ForumTunbridge Wells Forum

On Saturdays 12 and 19 September Hawkenbury Allotment Holders’ Association is inviting people to take a walk on this normally hidden site of 300 allotments on a Tunbridge Wells hillside to see the variety of produce the growers have tended.

Kent has a rich and varied heritage and it’s brilliant to see so many organisations getting behind an event that will see us exploring our local area – safely – after many difficult months where we have been at home.

This is a chance to really celebrate what we have on our doorsteps, and get out in the open to explore the history and heritage that make Kent great.

Click here to see all events happening in Kent.

More from Out & About

Wed, 17:39

The easing of lockdown saw a huge growth in paddlesports, with people eager to get some exercise and explore the countryside, safely | Words: Caroline Read - Photos: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Wed, 09:27

Kent is not only home to many stunning beaches but also has some of the safest and cleanest in the country, many with prestigious Blue Flag status

Read more
Friday, September 11, 2020

If you love a bit of birding, then you’ll be in seventh heaven on this walk that meanders through the sand dunes and salt marshes and rich habitats of the Sandwich bird observatory

Read more
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

In this strangest of years, the changing of the seasons is a reassuring constant. Let’s embrace the start of autumn | Words: Emma Ward - Photos: National Trust Images

Read more
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Heritage Open Days is back – with an emphasis this year on discovering previously overlooked green spaces | Words: Francesca Baker - Photos: courtesy of Heritage Open Days

Read more
Friday, September 4, 2020

Setting off from the beach at St Margaret’s, prepare to be amazed at the feast of delights that will unfold before you as you meander along across cliff tops

Read more
April 2018

Kent is blessed with fine and indeed famous country houses, but over the decades has lost as many of its grander houses as it retains. A new book by Martin Easdown reveals 120 examples that have simply disappeared

Read more

Designated a Heritage Action Zone by Historic England, a new book explains why this seaside town is so special

Read more
Saturday, August 29, 2020

Our county has lent its name to a number of different items and places that are now recognised across the world and linked to Kent. Here are some that might surprise you

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life