15 places to explore for free during the second weekend of Heritage Open Days

The library at Felbrigg Hall Credit: National Trust

The library at Felbrigg Hall Credit: National Trust - Credit: Archant

England's biggest festival of heritage and culture returns for its second weekend with free events taking place across Norfolk.

The Forncett Industrial Steam Museum ownerr Rowan Francis, helps Toby Robinson, 8, from Rockland St

The Forncett Industrial Steam Museum ownerr Rowan Francis, helps Toby Robinson, 8, from Rockland St Mary, to run one of the machines Credit: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant

Heritage Open Days kicked off in style last weekend and saw thousands of people exploring the county's hidden gems.

From the heroes of East Anglia to a church tower tour, there are events to suit every taste running from September 13 to 16.


1. Hero Tales of East Anglia

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The Forum, NR2 1BH

September 15, 7pm to 8.30pm (pre-booking required)

An entertaining evening of storytelling and music for adults.

The stories of three of the region's most famous Saxon sons are told by storyteller and author Dave Tonge with musical accompaniment by Trevor James.

Two of them, Saint Edmund and Hereward the Wake are real heroes whose tales have grown so much in the telling that they have passed into legend, while the third, Tom Hickathrift, is a lanky, long limbed lad of folktale.

2. Saving a historic Norfolk Wherry fleet

The Forum, NR2 1BH

September 13, 10am to 11am (pre-booking required)

Join Trustee John Ash as he describes the process of restoring wherries and keeping history afloat.

In 2005 the Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust (WYCCT) was set up with the prime objective being to restore to sailing condition the Pleasure Wherry Hathor and Wherry Yachts Olive and Norada.

Heritage Lottery Funding was obtained and after a ten year programme all three wherries were sailing again and their Wroxham Base had been rebuilt.

Bishop's House Gardens Credit: Simon Finlay

Bishop's House Gardens Credit: Simon Finlay - Credit: Archant

READ MORE: Norfolk arts scene gear up for Hostry Festival 2018 which includes a Bridget Jones star3. Great Women - Norwich High School for Girls

The Assembly House, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RQ

September 16, 1pm to 4pm

Discover famous alumni from Norwich High School for Girls which was housed at the Assembly House from 1901-33 and add to the alumni list.

4. Bishop's House Garden

Bishop's House, St Martin at Palace Plain, NR3 1SB

September 13 to 14, 10am to 4pm

Archeologists and volunteers in Caistor St Edmund Credit: Bill Smith

Archeologists and volunteers in Caistor St Edmund Credit: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant

This historic private four-acre formal city centre garden has belonged to the Bishops of Norwich for over 900 years.

Seelong herbaceous borders, roses,the hosta walk, the meadow labyrinth, a jungle walk, bamboos and extensive shrubberies.

5. Tower Tour

Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Unthank/Earlham Road, NR2 2PA

September 14 to 15, 11am/11.30am/12pm/1pm/1.30pm/2pm/2.30pm/3pm/3.30pm

Visit the highest vantage point overlooking Norwich, with views stretching as far as Great Yarmouth, Happisburgh and Swaffham.

The tour lasts approximately 35 minutes.

6. Weird Norfolk - A Collection of Curiosities

The Forum Gallery, NR2 1TF

September 13 to 16, all day

Step into the strange world of Norfolk's weird and wonderful folklore and spooky supernatural tales in this special exhibition.

Brought to you by The Forum in partnership with Archant, the exhibition is based on material from the Eastern Daily Press and Evening News' popular feature 'Weird Norfolk'.

READ MORE: Celebrate wonderful Weird Norfolk on Heritage Open Days


7. British Trust for Ornithology

The Nunnery, IP24 2PU

September 15, 10am to 1pm with tours at 10.30am and 11.30am

Discover the architecture and Benedictine history of the 12th-century BTO buildings and find out about the work of the Trust.

The gardens and the adjoining Nunnery Lakes Reserve are a haven to wildlife.

Gastronomic review: 'Fine-dining reaches new heights in immersive show'8. The Coffee Mill Masonic Lodge

The Coffee Mill, Bridges Walk, IP24 2AG

September 15, 10am to 3pm

The current building dates from the 19th century and ceased to grind corn in the 1920s.

It was then used as a coffee mill before being converted to a Masonic Lodge in the 1960s.


9. Heritage Guided Walk – Medieval Town Wall

September 16, from 2pm

Walk England's second most complete medieval town wall with trained guides and find out why and how it was built.

Pre-book by calling Great Yarmouth TIC on 01493 846346 or email tourism@great-yarmouth.gov.uk

10. Royal Naval Hospital tour

Queens Road, NR30 3JU

September 15 to 16, 11am to 3pm

Built in 1811, this former Navy hospital was originally built for Nelson's men.

Come and learn of its fascinating history as a hospital, naval headquarters and residential apartments.

Includes tours of the original Chapel and Nightingale ward.

The tour lasts approximately 20 minutes.


11. Olive Edis exhibition

Cromer Museum, NR27 9HB

September 13 10am to 4pm, talk 11.30am

Admire a beautiful series of portrait photographs by Olive Edis, Norfolk's pioneering female photographer.

She took photographs of everyone from North Norfolk fishermen to future kings.

Curator Alistair Murphy will be giving a talk about her life and work.

The main site is free to explore but the talk must be booked.

12. Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate open doors

Felbrigg, NR11 8PR

September 13 to 14, 12pm to 5pm (last entry to the hall is 4pm)

Explore one of the most elegant country houses in East Anglia.

Inside the Hall, see stained glass windows, nodding mandarins in the Chinese bedroom and Queen Mary's teapot.

Outside, enjoy the decorative and productive walled garden, the rolling landscape park with a lake, 520 acres of woods and waymarked trails.

READ MORE: Gastronomic review: 'Fine-dining reaches new heights in immersive show'SOUTH NORFOLK

13. Caistor Roman Town open day

Caistor St Edmund, NR14 8QL

September 16, 11am to 4pm

Delve deeper into Roman history on a tour of the site.

Listen to a storyteller, have a go at digging like an archaeologist or dress up as a Roman and go to training school.

14. Forncett Industrial Steam Museum

Kingsmuir, Low Road, Forncett St Mary, Norwich, NR16 1JJ

September 13 to 16, 11am to 3pm

Experience the fascinating story of steam power from the early beginnings in 1698, through the 250 years of the industrial revolution, right up to the steam turbine used today.


15. Aylsham Parish Church: St Michael & All Angels

The Market Place, Aylsham, NR11 6EH

September 13 to 16, 9am to 4pm

This magnificent Parish Church dates back to the 1300s and opens its doors for free this weekend.

This year they are commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Humphry Repton, probably Britain's finest landscape gardener.

Norwich's historic Catton Park, designed by Repton, will be holding a special community open day during the festival on September 16 from 11am to 4pm with food, performances, crafts and the chance to paint the Repton landscape.

To see the full programme of free events and search in your area visit the Heritage Open Days website at www.heritageopendays.org.uk

To see the full programme of free events and search in your area visit the Heritage Open Days website

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