9 things to do during Heritage Open Days in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 11:00 02 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 02 September 2019

Norwich Puppet Theatre Credit: David Kirkham

Norwich Puppet Theatre Credit: David Kirkham


Get ready to celebrate Heritage Open Days’ 25th anniversary, with more than 350 free events lined-up across Norfolk this September.

Cinema City which will be screening The Final Reel Credit: Cinema CityCinema City which will be screening The Final Reel Credit: Cinema City

This year, England's biggest festival of history and culture will offer visitors across the county the opportunity to enjoy family days out, explore places not normally open to the public and learn more about the heritage on their doorstep.

A special programme of People Power events will also highlight communities, groups and individuals who have affected positive change: buildings saved, green spaces created, friendships forged, campaigns fought and voices heard.

With tours, talks, walks, open days, exhibitions, performances and shows, there's something for everyone.

Here are just a few highlights to get you started…

1. The Final Reel: Showing and Discussion

Cinema City, St Andrew Street, Norwich, NR2 4AD

September 14, 11am

The Punk Behind the Window Credit: Colin HoweyThe Punk Behind the Window Credit: Colin Howey

Book at

Focusing on Norfolk's many rural, urban and coastal towns, The Final Reel takes an affectionate and entertaining look at our nation's obsession with cinema.

From the early days of silent film, through to modern multiplexes and beyond, this John Hurt narrated documentary celebrates the story of cinema, followed by a discussion with the filmmakers.

2. The Punk Behind the Window

St Swithin's Church, Frettenham, NR12 7NW

September 14, 10.30am to 4pm

Flames to Forum - The Norwich Library fire 25 years on Credit: Norfolk Library and Information ServicesFlames to Forum - The Norwich Library fire 25 years on Credit: Norfolk Library and Information Services

No booking required

In the 1980s, punk musician Paul Greener designed a dramatic stained-glass window for this 14th century church.

As part of this year's People Power festival theme, hear him tell the story of the unlikely events that led to the creation of this striking piece of church art.

3. Flames to Forum: the Norwich Library Fire 25 years on

The Forum, Norwich, NR2 1TF

September 21, 10.30am to 3.30pm

No booking required

Riverlands at Blickling Estate Credit: National Trust - Blickling EstateRiverlands at Blickling Estate Credit: National Trust - Blickling Estate

Remember the Norwich Central Library fire 25 years on, with a look at the People Power of those who came together to restore what was lost, and a celebration of the Forum which rose from the ashes. Visitors can also discover historic items from the Norfolk Heritage Centre collections which tell the story of the library, past and present.

4. Riverlands, National Trust

Blickling Estate, Aylsham, NR11 6NF

September 14 to 15, 11am and 1.30pm

Book at

Join the launch of Riverlands, a national catchment-scale river restoration project, on the River Bure at Blickling.

One of the engines at Forncett Industrial Steam Museum Credit: Dibs McCallumOne of the engines at Forncett Industrial Steam Museum Credit: Dibs McCallum

On a weekend of special walks, guides will be discussing the history and ecology of the river as it meanders through the estate.

5. Steam Day

Forncett Industrial Steam Museum, Forncett St Mary, NR16 1JJ

You may also want to watch:

September 18, 11am to 4pm

No booking required

Telling the story of steam power from 1698 to the present day, this event is a must for any engineering enthusiasts.

Putting on a Pageant Credit: Will TeatherPutting on a Pageant Credit: Will Teather

Visitors can see a demonstration of 19 rescued and restored steam engines from the industrial revolution, including one used to open London's Tower Bridge!

6. Putting on a Pageant

The Forum, Norwich, NR2 1TF

September 21, 10am

Book at

Travel back to 1578 and discover how Tudor Norwich prepared for Queen Elizabeth I's visit.

Perfect for families and young historians, this interactive talk will involve drama, music, gift-giving and even a special guest!

Wind Energy Museum Credit: Debra NicholsonWind Energy Museum Credit: Debra Nicholson

7. Wind Energy Museum

Staithe Road, Repps with Bastwick, NR29 5JU

September 13 to 15, 20 and 21, 11am to 4pm

No need to book

Home to the only historical collection of its kind, visitors can explore 200 years of wind power history at this unique museum.

There will be educational guided tours, children's activities for all ages and Victorian workshop demonstrations, with a special vintage fete on Sunday 15.

8. Eastern Daily Press tours

Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE

September 13, 11am/1pm/3pm

Book at

Have you ever wanted to visit the EDP office, see where the daily news stories are written or to take a look at some of the historic newspaper archives?

Join Archant as they open their doors and offer an exclusive tour of the building.

9. Norwich Puppet Theatre

Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1TN

September 21, 10am to 4pm, September 22, 12pm to 4pm

No need to book

Take a peek behind the scenes of the Puppet Theatre! Visitors can discover the history of the theatre and its unique conversion inside a medieval church, while kids will have fun getting creative with puppetry crafting activities.

Heritage Open Days is coordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust, with support from players of People's Postcode Lottery.

This year, the festival runs from September 13 to 22, and more details and full listings can be found at

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