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Heritage Open Days – September 6-15, 2024

Heritage Open Days are observed on certain dates in September every year and takes place from September 6 to 15 this year. This is a celebration of England’s rich culture and history and encourages everyone to learn more about it. It’s the country’s largest festival that brings together over 2,500 organizations every year. During this observation, the doors of historical monuments and buildings, which are usually closed, are left open to the public. This day brings people closer as the public, private, and voluntary sectors come together to plan a day filled with education and fun. Every year, the date of observation is announced and new activities and events are planned. Although the date differs from year to year, the holiday is usually 10 days long in September.

History of Heritage Open Days

The history of Heritage Open Days can be traced back to 1994 when England participated in the European Heritage Days along with 49 other countries. European Heritage Days is a collaborative initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission that brings together all 50 signatory nations to the European Cultural Convention. The annual program allows visitors to view buildings, monuments, and locations that are not usually open to the public. Its goal is to increase accessibility while also encouraging the preservation of architectural and natural heritage.

In English-speaking countries, these celebrations are also known as Doors Open Days and Open Doors Days. Similarly, Heritage Open Days is an annual celebration of England’s architecture and culture that gives people free access to historical buildings that are either not ordinarily open to the public, require an entrance fee, or are always free and open to the public. It also comprises architectural and cultural excursions, events, and activities.

This celebration ropes in 2,500 organizations, 5,000 events, and 40,000 volunteers every year. Heritage Open Days are one of England’s largest cultural events, attracting over 800,000 people each year. This special event is organized by volunteers — typically property owners or managers. Heritage Open Days do not encompass the entire United Kingdom; it only operates in England, except for London, which has a separate event called Open House London the following weekend, generally the third weekend in September. The first-ever Heritage Open Days were held in September 2018.

Heritage Open Days timeline

European Open Days

European Open Days are established and held for the first time.

It's Set Up

The Council of Europe and the European Commission set up European Heritage Days to raise appreciation for Europe’s cultural diversity.

Heritage Open Days

The day is established.

Heritage Open Days Return

Heritage Open Days make a comeback.

Heritage Open Days FAQs

Who started Heritage Open Days?

The Council of Europe and the European Commission set up European Heritage Open Days.

How much does it cost to participate in Heritage Open Days?

The Heritage Open Days festival is free of cost for visitors. All entrance fees are waived.

How can someone help out with Heritage Open Days?

There are numerous different activities that the festival needs volunteers for. All the information is available on their official website.

Heritage Open Days Activities

  1. Visit a Heritage Open Days site

    If you live in England, take advantage of this day and visit one of the many historical landmarks that are part of Heritage Open Days. You can even participate in the different events and activities that are organized for visitors during this time.

  2. Volunteer

    If you are in the area, volunteer for HOD. You could donate time, money, or effort to the festivities and become a part of the celebration in a new and more meaningful way.

  3. Learn more

    If you are not in England or unable to participate, take this time to learn about the history and culture of England and how Heritage Open Days came into being. Find out how beneficial such an initiative can be for the region.

5 Fun Facts About England

  1. It’s home to one of the weirdest sports

    Cheese rolling is a very serious sport in England.

  2. Champagne was invented here

    It was England that came up with the sparkling wine formula, not France.

  3. It’s obsessed with tea

    Tea is one of the most popular drinks in England.

  4. They have a favorite name

    There are 656 pubs called ‘The Red Lion’ in England.

  5. It’s illegal to get drunk

    You read that correctly — it is illegal to get drunk in a pub in England.

Why We Love Heritage Open Days

  1. It encourages exploration

    Oftentimes, we put historical and cultural landmarks and experiences that our countries provide on a bucket list and never follow through. Whether it is due to lack of time, planning, or funds, Heritage Open Days take away all reservations and encourage people to explore.

  2. It is an ‘ode to’ England

    Living in a place for too long, we tend to take it for granted. Heritage Open Days remind everyone of the beautiful and culturally and historically rich country that they live in and how much it has to offer. It keeps us rooted in our history and ensures that we remember where we came from and what we stand for.

  3. It creates a community

    Over thousands of organizations participate in this celebration and more than 80,000 people attend each year. Including the volunteers that help make the event what it is, there is a sense of community that’s created through Heritage Open Days.

Heritage Open Days dates

2022September 9Friday
2023September 8Friday
2024September 6Friday
2025September 12Friday
2026September 11Friday

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