From 11 to 20 September during Heritage Open Days (HOD) England will be celebrating its heritage under the common theme Hidden Nature. The HODx, taster days of training and networking for communities will be back this spring!
Established in 1994, Heritage Open Days is England's contribution to the European Heritage Days and has since grown into the country's largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,000 organisations, 5,500 events and 46,000 volunteers every year in September. All kinds of historical and cultural places across the country open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history.
In 2019, for the first time, Heritage Open Days was across ten days, from the 13-22 September. A full ten days stretch saw a record 5,794 events take place across England organised by thousands of local people. It was the silver anniversary of the festival under the theme "People Power" celebrating 25 years of country's largest community centred festival.
Hidden Nature in Focus for 2020
After a record braking celebration of heritage in 2019, for 2020, England has chosen to turn the focus on natural heritage with a theme Hidden Nature. It will be an excellent opportunity for communities in England to celebrate England's extraordinary natural heritage that traditional history has overlooked or forgotten. Being inspired by the impact humanity has on the natural world while experiencing climate changes and modern development, organisers have recognised that nature needs to be in focus, now more than ever.
© Lancashire County Museum Service / Lancashire County Council, Winchester Music and Opera Society, Oxford Preservation Trust, Eton College, Dore Village Society
Organisers of events are encouraged to open up areas of the countryside that aren't normally accessible to the public and reveal the hidden history of not only natural landscapes but also gardens, green spaces, urban parks, orchards, vineyards, farms and forests. Since nature isn't just found in the great outdoors, the possibilities to connect with the natural world are endless. The theme could also allow exploring the Hidden Nature within urban spaces and buildings - from the animals that within the walls and under our feet to the origins of the timbers in roofs.
The registrations for local organisers will be open from mid-March to 1 August. Follow HOD news to learn when the registrations are open.
HODx days - inspiration and planning days for organisers
Heritage Open Days thrives on the commitment of some 56,000 local people who share a passion for places, history and culture. Aiming to provide the necessary support to the HOD local organisers and inspire new registrations, HODx days will precede the festival in September. These social days, meant to provide information, tips and techniques, will welcome potential and experienced organisers for free. HODs team will take you through registration, media, marketing, and social media, with a focus on how to give events some added sparkle by engaging in the national theme Hidden Nature. You can check the schedule on the Heritage Open Days dedicated page.
If you are interested in participating in Heritage Open Days, read the special resource packs. While Heritage Open Days are welcoming people and organisations with different interpretations of heritage and culture to organise events, there are four simple entry criteria to follow.
The Heritage Open Days festival is coordinated nationally by the National Trust with support from players of People's Postcode Lottery. Heritage Open Days is part of the European Heritage Days, the most widely celebrated participatory cultural events shared by the people of Europe.