Special Features


10th-19th September 2021


Heritage Open Days, England’s largest festival of history and culture, returns this month. Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, local people and visitors will be able to explore hidden places and try new experiences. Heritage Open Days are incredibly popular, and following last year’s online only offering, it will be great to visit these wonderful places in person again. However, there are still some online events too meaning that even if you can’t get out of the house you can still be involved. 

From a restored water mill to a Medieval extravaganza, a market town tour to tales of prison food, this year’s programme has something for everyone and it’s all free.

Many events will explore this year’s theme, Edible England, offering opportunities to learn about food production, celebrate local specialities and uncover the customs and quirks around what we eat and drink. 

Sarah Holloway, Programme Manager for Heritage Open Days, said: “We’re all interested in where we live but we don’t necessarily know the stories behind the buildings and spaces we walk past each day. Our event organisers keep finding creative ways to tell these tales and keep them alive. 

“HODs connects people through shared experiences and this year, that feels more important than ever. It’s also one of the reasons we chose Edible England as our theme. Food brings people together and what we eat and drink is at the heart of much of our culture, our history, our communities, and our daily lives.” 

Heritage Open Days is coordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Every single Heritage Open Days event is free, including access to many sites that usually charge for admission.

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We’re delighted our players are able to continue to support Heritage Open Days in 2021. The festival has always been about bringing communities together, and this year we’re particularly excited to see how this can be done through food and drink events. It’s certainly a tasty theme!” 

Highlights from across our region include:


Greed, Guilt, And Gruel At Otley Courthouse 

Otley Courthouse, Otley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS21 1FJ 

Discover shady stories and vicious villains from the past. There are court cases about theft and poaching as well as details of prisoners’ food, police officers’ canteen refreshments and magistrates’ teatime, all available live and online. 

Saturday 11 September: 10am to 4pm 

Pre-booking: Required 

A Walk By The River With Food In Mind 

Leeds Civic Trust, 17 – 19 Wharf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EQ 

■ Leeds Food in mind – Image © Hazel Lunn

How did food arrive for the people of Leeds before the M1 was constructed? Find out on this walking tour which will take you from Centenary Bridge to Brewery Wharf, Dock Street, Tetley’s Adelphi, Royal Armouries, Leeds Dock and Canary Wharf. 

Sunday 19 September: 10.30am 

Pre-booking: Required 

Walking Tour – Selby Town Centre: A Hive Of Activity

Market Place, Top of Gowthorpe, Selby, North Yorkshire, YO8 4NX

■ Selby – Market walking tour

Get the inside story of Selby’s famous Monday Market on this unusual walking tour. You will be transported back to a pre-decimal, pre-digital age of post-war community spirit coupled with an eye for a bargain and meet a market trader and a traditional butcher, both played by your storyteller guide.  

Saturday 11 and Sunday 19 September: Tours at 10am and 1pm

No booking required

Harrogate Borough Council Civic Centre

St. Luke’s Avenue, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 2AE

Take a rare opportunity to join a guided tour of this working building which opened in December 2018. The building is split into office accommodation, conference facilities and the civic area with an impressive circular council chamber. 

Saturday 18 September: Tours at 10am, 10:45am, 11:30am and 12:15pm 

Pre-booking: Required

CWGC Stonefall Cemetery Tours

Stonefall Cemetery, Wetherby Road, Follifoot, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 1DE

■ North Yorkshire – Stonefall CWGC Cemetery Tour

With over 1000 Commonwealth War Graves, Stonefall Cemetery is one of the largest CWGC sites in the North of England. Join a walk to learn about the work of the CWGC and the stories of some of those buried at Stonefall. In this 70th anniversary year of the dedication of the Air Force casualties at the site, the tours will also feature details of the service which took place in July 1951.

Saturday 11, Wednesday 15, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September: Tours at 10:30am, 11am, 1pm and 1:30pm

Pre-booking: Required

Howsham Mill  

Howsham Mill, Howsham Hall Road, Howsham, York, North Yorkshire, YO60 7PA  

■ North Yorkshire – Howsham Mill from across the river – Image © M Phillips

Visit this beautifully restored 18th-century watermill on Yorkshire’s River Derwent, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Learn how the mill works and the process of restoration and hear how income from electricity sales funds educational visits.  

Sunday 12 September: 10.30am to 5pm  

No booking required   

The White Swan Inn Exhibition  

White Swan, 1 Church Hill, Hunmanby, North Yorkshire, YO14 0JU  

■ North Yorkshire – White Swan at Hunmanby

Pubs have long been the lifeblood of rural communities. Visit this historic old coaching inn and assembly room, situated on what was formerly the main route between Hull, Bridlington and Scarborough and see more about its history and heritage.   

Saturday 11 September: All day from 11am  

No booking required   

Selby Medieval Day

Selby Abbey, The Crescent, Selby, North Yorkshire, YO8 4PU

Explore traditional crafts, food and drink and dress at this medieval extravaganza. There will be history and heritage displays and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages.

Saturday 18 September: 10am to 3pm

No booking required

A Little Bit Of What You Fancy: Diets, Remedies, And Recipes From The Past

Castleton Mill, Castleton Close, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 2DR

Dr Emma Storr’s talk will consider hospital and workhouse diets in the nineteenth century and the remedies made at home. Were hospital and workhouse meals nutritious and how effective were homemade remedies? What diets were recommended by the Leeds General Infirmary? Dr Storr will consider references including Dr Thomas J Graham’s ‘Modern Domestic Medicine’ (1826) which was used by Mr Bronte. This talk will take place in the beautifully restored Grade 2 listed Castleton Mill, a former textile mill situated alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Friday 10th September 18:00

Booking required

From Mining Village To Millennium Village: The Industrial Heritage Of Allerton Bywater

Samuel Valentine’s Urban Food Hall, 20 – 24 Station Road, Allerton Bywater, Leeds, West Yorkshire, WF10 2BP

Join local historian Clive Cowell and discover four mines, a pottery, a nature reserve, and a railway.

This walk will trace the long history of coal mining in the area and its human cost, but you will discover a lot more about Allerton Bywater, not least Samuel Valentine’s Food Hall where you can enjoy the very best of local produce.

Tues 14th and Thurs 16th at 13:00

Booking required

Northern Monk Brewery Tour

Northern Monk Brewing Co Ltd, The Old Flax Store, Marshall’s Mill, Marshall Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 9YJ

To celebrate ‘Edible England’ Northern Monk are offering two tours of the original brewery. Listen to a detailed talk about their brewing methods and then pop up to the bar above to enjoy some beer and food. Northern Monk is located in the Grade 2 listed Marshall’s Mill complex, a former flax spinning mill, once the beating heart of industrial Leeds, which has been restored to celebrate its working heritage. The brewery continues to expand every year as a pioneer for independent businesses in Leeds and keeps the spirit of Marshall’s Mills alive.

Sun 19th 17:00 and 19:00

Booking required

Roundhay Park – The Hidden History

Lakeside Car Park, Roundhay Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2JL

An opportunity to visit some of the lesser-known areas of the 700-acre Roundhay Park and learn more about its history. Roundhay Park is generally well known, but with 700 acres there are many areas that are rarely visited. This walk, led by the Friends of Roundhay Park, will visit some of the lesser-known areas and explain the development of the park from a medieval hunting area, then a family estate and then the purchase of the park for the enjoyment of the people of Leeds. The walk will visit a gazebo, the remains of a fishpond used to supply the Mansion with fish, and the arboretum containing many exotic trees, as well as better known landmarks such as the sham castle and Barrans Fountain.

Sat 18th & Sun 19th at 11:00 and 14:00

No booking required

A Walk Around New Park, Harrogate

New Park, Skipton Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 3HF

This is a walk around the industrial and working-class suburb of New Park, Harrogate. It looks at the area as it is today and with photographs at how it was in the past. New Park was developed as an industrial suburb along the main Skipton and Ripon Roads from the 1840s. It had the town’s gas and electricity works plus quarries and an industrial laundry. Workers’ housing was built, and the district had a pub, shops, chapels, school, and an institute. It became a thriving community.

Thurs 16th 13:30

Booking required

Knaresborough Castle Keep

Knaresborough Castle, Castle Yard, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 8AS

It might seem peaceful now, but the Castle was one a mighty stronghold of medieval kings. Built in the 14th century by Edward II, the Keep was a luxury royal residence. Explore the King’s Chamber, the dungeon, the garderobe, and ancient graffiti.

Entrance to the Keep is free, along with the Castle Grounds.

(Please note there is an entry charge to the Museum.)

Friday 10th 10:00 – 16:00

No booking required

Selby Abbey Stained Glass Tour

Selby Abbey, The Crescent, Selby, North Yorkshire, YO8 4PU

Join a stained-glass expert on a tour of the Abbey’s incredible windows!

This tour will cover some of the finest examples of stained glass in Britain. Discover the stories behind the Abbey’s famous Jesse Window, incredible St Germanus Window, Washington Window, and all things royal in the south transept. Alongside these famous stained-glass windows, the guide will reveal some less noticeable windows and their amazing histories, alongside some quirky features you would usually struggle to notice!

Mon 13th 10:30 – 11:30

No booking required

Abbots Staith Archaeology Day

79 Micklegate, Selby, North Yorkshire, YO8 4ED

A number of local groups from Selby and the surrounding villages will share their local history and archaeology research with the public.

The building will be open to the general public. Tables will be provided in the rear of the warehouse first bay (behind shop) for local history and archaeology groups to interact with the public, display their research and talk about archaeological digs they are carrying out. A similar event was provided by the Staith in 2016, but more groups have begun research and digs since then, and the groups that joined them in 2016 have expanded their knowledge.

Sat 11th 10:00 – 16:00

No booking required

To pre-book, find out more details or for other event listings, visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk. Search by location or use the map function to discover what else is happening in your local area.

To ensure that visitors are safe and that events can keep to the latest government guidelines, all event details are subject to change. Visitors should re-check details on the website before confirming plans nearer the time.

You May Also Like

Yorkshire Reporter September 2021 – Leeds


Must Read

No results found.