A chance to explore Norfolk’s hidden gems in a celebration of the county’s heritage

Cathy Eden, project co-ordinator of the Heritage Open Days, with heritage champions and festival org

Cathy Eden, project co-ordinator of the Heritage Open Days, with heritage champions and festival organisers launching the programme. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

People are being invited to step back in time and discover some of Norfolk's hidden gems and historic sites, during an eight day long celebration of the county's heritage.

Taking place across two weekends in September The Heritage Open Days festival is a much anticipated chance to explore some of the region's normally hidden sites as well as the county's more familiar landmarks. Now, the 2018 festival brochure has been launched revealing exactly what will be on offer during this year's festival.

Featuring almost 300 events including free guided tours, talks, walks, open buildings, exhibitions and performances. Highlights include tours of the well known sites such as the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, The Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News offices, Blickling Hall and Norwich Castle. As well as more obscure sites such as the former leper hospital Lazar House, hidden tunnels below The Missing Kind in Norwich and The Great Hospital.

Cathy Eden, Norfolk Heritage Open Days project co-ordinator said: 'I'm very excited to say that it looks like this year's will be our biggest yet. 'Norfolk's Heritage Open Days programme is one of, if not largest in the country and that's something we're really proud of.

Adding that the festival would not take place if it were not for the large number of volunteers involved Ms Eden said: 'I think people are really proud of the county. This festival would not happen if people didn't get involved. Lots of people have given their time and it makes people think about what they have as a community, you can really feel like the city and the county is yours to explore.'

Growing in popularity each year, some of the tours of usually private buildings and sites must be pre-booked and often sell out within minutes.

Tickets for these events will go on sale from 9am on Monday, July 23. There are also hundreds more events in the programme that do not need to be booked in advance.

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Norfolk's Heritage Open Days runs from Thursday, September 6 to Sunday, September 9 and Thursday September 13 to Sunday September 16.

The free Heritage Open Days brochure is available from The Forum, tourist information centres and many other places around the county or can be downloaded from The Forum's website.

All the events can also be seen at www.heritageopendays.org.uk

Norfolk's Heritage Open Days is part of a national festival and is co-ordinated by The Forum Trust. For more information, go to www.theforumnorwich.co.uk/hods

Weird Norfolk Comes to The Forum

Discover the weird and wonderful from all corners of the county as Weird Norfolk comes to The Forum.

A new addition for 2018, throughout the Heritage Open Days (HODs) festival Weird Norfolk -The Eastern Daily Press and Evening News' popular feature- will be hosting a number of events in The Forum.

Throughout the festival, step into the strange and curious world of the county's folklore and legends at a special exhibition bought to HODs by The Forum in partnership with Archant. Little ones will be able to keep themselves entertained by completing a Little Legends activity sheet designed by the world-renowned illustrator Gemma Correll.

On Saturday, September 8 and 15 those feeling creative will be able to have a go at making their very own witch stone to keep away bad dreams. Or, on Saturday, September, 8, join yarnsmith Dave Tonge for an afternoon of folk tales and storytelling.