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Norwich Heart, Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust

Heritage Open Days in Norwich

Heritage Open Days 2015

Heritage Open Days (HODs) returns to Norwich and Norfolk from Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th September!

Browse the events online or download the brochure here.

From Tuesday 1st September, any remaining tickets for pre-book events will be available to book in person only from HEART at The Guildhall, Norwich (10am-4pm).

With 243 free events including open buildings, guided tours and walks, exhibitions, performances, and even a vintage fashion show - across Norwich, Breckland, Thetford, Broadland, Great Yarmouth, South Norfolk, North Norfolk and further afield – this year's HODs promises to be the biggest and best yet.

2015 marks the 21st anniversary of the national free heritage festival, and the 11th for which HEART has co-ordinated events locally.

This year's national HODs campaign theme is 'Do Something New' with a focus on refreshing, reinvigorating and reinterpreting local HODs locations, sites and events. We have worked with heritage venues across the county to pull together another fantastic programme, bursting with new events as well as firm favourites!

Some Heritage Open Day events require pre-booking and, due to their popularity and limited capacity, it is recommended this is done as soon as possible. However, for over half of the events no pre-booking is required and visitors can just drop in on the day.

The HODs brochure is now available from venues around the county, and can be downloaded here. Alternatively, check out the online listings.

New events for 2015 include:

  • Wherry Hathor at Pull's Ferry, Norwich. Rare visit to Norwich by this unique pleasure wherry, built in 1905 for the Colman sisters. It is an iconic symbol of the Edwardian discovery of the Broads as a holiday destination. Newly re-launched, her magnificent and colourful Egyptian-themed interiors have been lovingly restored to their original grandeur by the Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust, in whose care she now rests.
  • Vintage Fashion Show at The Guildhall, Norwich. The Costume & Textile Association present a vintage fashion show with garments dating from 1920 to 1980, modelled by volunteers.
  • Happisburgh Lighthouse, North Norfolk. Erected in 1791, Happisburgh Lighthouse is the only independently operated working lighthouse in the UK. Saved from closure by the local community in 1988, it is now managed by the Happisburgh Lighthouse Trust. Funding for operational and maintenance costs is raised entirely by voluntary effort. Visitors can climb the tower (112 steps) as part of a guided tour.
  • Edith Cavell's Swardeston, South Norfolk. Walk with the local 'overseer of the poor' Ezra Parr as he tells you about Swardeston in the 1880s and the Cavell family. You will see a special exhibition about the Cavells and new DVD in the Cavell Room by the church.
  • Priory Gardens: Past Times Fayre, Great Yarmouth. A pop-up Gorleston Community Heritage Centre. Interest groups and schools will be exhibiting their local heritage projects within the lovely setting of Priory Gardens. There will be a marquee housing a vintage tearoom and various activities will be taking place. Part of the Friends of Priory Gardens public consultation on Gorleston community heritage and the proposal for a dedicated heritage hub in the town.
  • Evening Concerts from the UEA Chamber Orchestra, taking place in Harleston, North Walsham and Norwich. Please click here to find out more.

Themed Trails

HODs 2015 is set to be bigger and better than ever, but with over 240 events running it can be tricky knowing where to start! We've put together a series of suggested itineraries, grouped by theme. Whether you're a music lover or a gardening geek, wartime enthusiast or looking for family-friendly fun, we have a plethora of events to whet your whistle. Check it out over on our blog.

Keep up to date!

Check this page regularly for festival updates!

Follow HEART on Twitter and Facebook, and search using hashtags #NorwichHODs and #NorfolkHODs for all the latest information.

Stay up to date with HEART by signing up to our e-newsletter, or become a HEART Supporter.



HEART is appealing for HODs volunteers who make such a big difference in the success and delivery of this fantastic weekend celebration of local heritage. In 2014, HEART's dedicated army of volunteers played a huge part in making the Norwich and Norfolk HODs weekend the UK's largest outside of London. Last year, HEART's HODs booking team dealt with a record number of bookings for local events – a staggering 1,261 in total and 38 very special volunteers helped across a variety of roles from bookings to brochure distribution, photography to stewarding and being HODs ambassadors. If you are interested in volunteering, please download the appropriate version of the application form below and return to

HODs Volunteer Application Form (Word 2013 version)
HODs Volunteer Application Form (Word 97-2003 version)
HODs Volunteer Application Form (PDF version)

Jo Archer, HODs Project Lead at HEART, said: “We are very excited about this year's HODs and already the programme is looking more impressive than ever. Last year HEART coordinated 226 free events across Norwich and Norfolk and we are hoping to develop this further by appealing to new venues and organisers for 2015. If you know of a heritage gem that the public never gets to see, please get in touch and we can work together to help make it accessible for this one very special weekend in September.” 


Last year's event


Last September saw over 230 free events take place - including open buildings, guided tours and walks, heritage literary events, exhibitions and performances - across Norwich, Thetford, South Norfolk, Broadland, Great Yarmouth, North Norfolk and further afield. Norwich HEART was named the top HODs organiser in England!

About Heritage Open Days 

Heritage Open Days is the country's largest heritage festival with over 4,600 events, around 40,000 volunteers and some three million visitors taking part last year. Celebrating local history, architecture and culture, the four-day event offers everyone the chance to explore hidden places and experience something new - all of which is completely free of charge.

Heritage Open Days operates as part of the National Trust with funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery and Historic England. Established in 1994, it is England's contribution to the European Heritage Days, which is held annually in September in 50 signatory states to the European Cultural Convention.

For more information and to find out about events across England:


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