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Norwich Heart, Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust


Norwich’s heritage a national success

Tuesday, 13th October 2015

A national survey highlights Norwich as one of the top places to enjoy and experience heritage. The survey, from the independent think tank RSA in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund, shows Norwich is in the top 3% of areas with the most heritage, and in the top 1% for heritage activities and events.

The Heritage Index, which looks at engagement with heritage as well as historic buildings, sites and blue plaques, singles out Norwich as one of the surprising star performers, in 3rd position for heritage events and coming in 9th place overall in England.

The good news comes on the back of the success of this year’s Heritage Open Days in Norwich and Norfolk, which showcased the county’s heritage with over 240 events between 10th and 13th September. Heritage Open Days (HODs) is England’s largest and most popular voluntary cultural event – this year marked the 21st anniversary of the national free heritage event, and the 11th for which Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) has co-ordinated events locally.

Organisers are currently evaluating this year’s celebration of heritage, architecture and culture, which is shaping up to be the biggest so far, and are urging visitors to help develop future events by completing the survey at

Jo Archer, HODs Project Lead at HEART, said: “This year has been an amazing success, with more events than ever before and, it looks like, more visits too. We had over 5,100 pre-book ticket requests for the 243 events, and our volunteers did a fantastic job managing the bookings process, delivering brochures and on the ground stewarding events. We're still collating the final data, but there's no doubt that this year's HODs is one to remember.”

In Norwich, one of the Heritage Open Days venues, the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, had a record 3,000 visitors, enjoying four days of displays, tours and stunning views over the city from the top of the tower. Nearly 1,000 people took part in events at The Guildhall including a vintage fashion show and exhibition, tours and lectures.

Events ranged from open buildings, guided tours and walks, to literary events, exhibitions and performances, and over 170 venues took part across Norwich, Thetford, Breckland, South Norfolk, Broadland, Great Yarmouth and North Norfolk.

Other highlights this year included a chance to board the Wherry Hathor at Pull’s Ferry, which was enjoyed by around 1,600 people, a climb to the top of Happisburgh Lighthouse, a guided tour of the Cold War history of former RAF Coltishall and an historic pub crawl in Harleston.

To have your say about this year’s Heritage Open Days in Norwich and Norfolk, fill out the survey at For more about Heritage Open Days, visit, or see the Flickr photo album of this year’s events at

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Notes to editors


For more information please contact Janet Robertson, Communications Co-ordinator on 01603 599578 or  


Generic images and 2015 event images for Heritage Open Days in Norwich and Norfolk can be found at  


For more information on the Heritage Index, visit:





Norwich’s Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) is an independent charitable organisation which champions remarkable heritage in Norwich and beyond.  Working in collaboration with local and European partners, we have helped to contribute to the local and regional economy through heritage regeneration, tourism and major cultural events.


To find out more about HEART please visit


 About Heritage Open Days


Heritage Open Days was established in 1994 as England’s contribution to European Heritage Days (EHD), The Council of Europe created European Heritage Days to bring people closer to their cultural heritage by throwing open the doors to historic monuments and buildings – preferably those which are usually either closed or are only partly accessible to the general public.

Today, Heritage Open Days is England's biggest heritage festival involving over 1,500 organisations and 40,000 volunteers who organise thousands of site openings and events, jointly attracting over 3 million visitors. It celebrates our fantastic history, architecture and culture; offering people the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences - all of which are FREE to explore.  

Every year on four days in September, the bunting is unfurled and buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors. It is a once-a-year chance to discover the often hidden or forgotten gems on our doorsteps and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life.

On a national level, the programme is managed by the National Trust and funded by players of the People's Postcode Lottery and Historic England.

About Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Tourism Division is pleased to facilitate the Borough’s Heritage Open Days events together with the Conservation Team. Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Conservation Department has an excellent reputation nationally for conservation-led regeneration and the repair and sustainable re-use of vacant and neglected historic buildings. Great Yarmouth is a top 10 UK seaside resort with heritage viewed as an important part of the area’s tourism offer.


About Broadland District Council


About Breckland District Council


About South Norfolk Council


About Thetford Town Council


About Visit North Norfolk

Visit North Norfolk is the official Destination Management Organisation for the North Norfolk area. We exist to support tourism businesses in the area, helping them to achieve a higher profile than they would alone. Through the support of businesses, the operation of the fully-responsive website and diverse and engaging marketing activity, our aim is to raise the profile of North Norfolk and its businesses and in-time make it one of the most popular go-to destinations for a holiday or short break in the UK. We aspire to grow the number of people aware of and visiting the area, lengthen their stays, encourage greater spend and increase repeat visits.