11 September 2023

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Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised more than £5.4 million for the National Trust since 2013.

This year’s Heritage Open Days events will see more than 2,000 historic locations from churches to cotton mills, fire stations to museums, throw open their doors.

The National Trust supports the programme of special events and local exhibitions, using funds raised by Postcode Lottery players.

The work of the National Trust allows organisers and venues across the country to access the help and advice they need to run a successful Heritage Open Days event.

The Heritage Open Days team advises on everything from creating new events, or recruiting local volunteers, to running a marketing campaign.

The team brings the Heritage Open Days community together so that organisers can get tips, share challenges, and swap great ideas.

Public demand is huge. More than a million people took part in Heritage Open Days in 2022, when visitors had the opportunity to take part in some unusual activities.

A “drainspotting” tour of Sheffield’s Victorian pavement features proved popular, as did the opportunity to be a firefighter for a day at the Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum.

The programme of events for 2023, which will run from September 8 to September 17, is equally eclectic. We have listed some highlights below.

BFI National Film & Television Archive

A humble driveway in a small Hertfordshire town leads to a world class archive with an extensive and surprisingly diverse range of material in its collection.

The sensitive nature of the site and its work means that the doors can only be opened to the public for just one day each year. The festival gives the public a rare opportunity to see behind the scenes, where visitors can view the technology and vaults preserving the nation’s film and TV heritage.

Jo Molyneux, Conservation Centre Co-ordinator, says: “The look of surprise and gasps from people when they enter our film vault make the team smile -- most people are not prepared for quite how big it is!”

Creativity Unwrapped – Art Endures at Wombwell Cemetery

Wombwell in South Yorkshire was once a creative hub architects, artists, dancers, musicians, and poets. The Wombwell History Group ensures their talents and memories can live on.

The Friends of Wombwell Cemetery and Wombwell History Group will share fascinating stories about the lives of Wombwell's former residents.

They will be uncovering the lives of Joss Hudson, an entomologist, poet, historian, and writer; Willie Johnson, the violinist of the Ibbotson String Band; Colin Clarkson, a successful local artist; and many more local people who gave the town its creative sparkle.

Lamport Hall Conservation Open Day

Visitors to Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire will have the opportunity to explore this well-known stately home and its gardens.

They can also meet the skilled conservators who work on the Hall’s important collection of furniture and paintings.

For families and younger visitors, there will be activities and hands-on crafts to enjoy, as well as a treasure trail and Georgian characters to meet.

Winchester Muse Poetry Platform

Winchester Muse is described as Winchester's “premier poetry platform.”

Audiences will hear from accomplished local poets who will be performing original work based on the Heritage Open Days theme of “Astounding Inventions.

The event will be held at the beautiful St. Lawrence Church in the heart of Winchester.

Liam Montgomery from the Heritage Open Days team says:  “Creativity is abundant in the heritage sector – whether its stories about creative people and the places that inspired them, or spotlighting the historic spaces home to creativity old-and-new such as theatres, cinemas, art galleries, libraries, and more, or focusing in on the ingenious creativity behind heritage skills such as conservation and heritage crafts that help preserve creativity for centuries to come.

“There are already over 2,000 events registered this year and we can’t wait to see how our community celebrate the history of creativity this year.”

Full details of these events, along with the rest of the Heritage Open Days programme, can be found here: