Heritage Open Days - FREE Entry to Top North East Attractions

This year, Heritage Open Days take place from 10 - 19 September 2021. Thousands of volunteers organise events to celebrate England's history and culture. All events are completely free of charge and it is a real chance to explore somewhere new. 

Please double check all information direct with venue / on the Heritage Open Days website before setting out and details and information can change over time. 

There are hundreds of events taking place across the North East (you can search what's on near you here) but I have put together a few highlights in this post which will give you a little idea of what to expect. 

  • FREE entry to Seaton Delaval Hall 

Saturday 11 September (no booking required) 

Seaton Delaval Hall, The Avenue, Seaton Sluice, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, NE26 4QR

What they say: Visit Seaton Delaval Hall as part of Heritage Open Day. Explore the central hall, basement, stables, gardens and more. Find out about the transformation being achieved onsite with the National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported Curtain Rises project.

Read my guide to visiting Seaton Delaval Hall here. 

  • FREE entry and events at Blyth Battery 

Saturday 11 & Sunday 12 September (no booking required) 

South Beach, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24 3PQ

11 buildings to explore. Guided tours.
Living history displays. Live 1940s music.

What they say: One of the most complete batteries, containing both WWI and WWII buildings. Including one of the only remaining battery observation posts from WWI. Some military vehicles, George Formby imitator. Tours available.

  • FREE entry to St Mary's Lighthouse 
Friday 10, Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September (booking required) 

St. Marys Lighthouse, St. Marys Island, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, NE26 4RS

What they say: To Celebrate Heritage Open Days we offering free admission to St. Mary's Lighthouse and the opportunity to climb the stairs to the top of the tower.

Read my guide to St Mary's Lighthouse here. 

  • FREE entry to Segedunum Roman Fort 
Saturday 11, Sunday 12, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September (no booking required)

Segedunum Bath House & Museum, Station Road, Wallsend, Tyne & Wear, NE28 6HR

What they say: Seize an opportunity to discover the ancient site of Segedunum on the banks of the River Tyne, near the old Wallsend slipway.

Travel nine stories high to the legendary 35m Viewing Tower and take in spectacular views across the city and river.

Read my guide to visiting Segedunum here

  • Meet & Greet a Roman Soldier at Arbeia Roman Fort 
Saturday 11 and Saturday 18 September (no booking required) 

Baring Street Primary School House, Baring Street, South Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE33 2BB

What they say: Come along meet Julius Verax, a Roman Soldier who lived here at Arbeia who will be onsite talking to visitors. You might even be lucky enough to get a selfie with him.

Read my guide to visiting Arbeia Roman Fort here

  • FREE Victoria Tunnel Taster Tours 
Thursday 16 September (no booking required) 

Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, NE1 2PF

What they say: Newcastle's history weaves beneath the city streets. Join us to discover more about a crucial chapter in the city's past.

  • FREE Tyne Theatre & Opera House Tours 
Wednesday 15, Thursday 16, Friday 17 and Saturday 18 September (booking required) 

Tyne Theatre & Opera House, 109-119 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, NE1 4AG

What they say: Tyne Theatre and Opera House Tours! To celebrate the 2021 theme of Edible England, we invite you to join us to sample the history of Victorian theatre special effects to meet the changing tastes of the times.

  • FREE The Common Room Building Tour 
Sunday 12, Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 September (booking required) 

The Common Room of the Great North LTD, Westgate Road, The Common Room Building Tour, Tyne & Wear, NE1 1SE

What they say: The Common Room welcomes visitors to explore the history of The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. Be one of the first to visit our building after its refurbishment, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Read our guide to visiting The Common Room here

  • FREE entry to Cresswell Pele Tower 
Sunday 12 & Sunday 19 September (no booking required) 

Cresswell Road, Cresswell, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 5JY

What they say: This is a rare chance to brave the stumble stairs and view the expansive Druridge Bay from the ramparts of a 14th Century Pele Tower, in the company of our resident ghost, the White Lady.

  • FREE entry to Souter Lighthouse 
Sunday 12 and Sunday 19 September (no booking required) 

National Trust, Souter Lighthouse, Coast Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR6 7NH

What they say: Visit the iconic Souter Lighthouse. Hooped in red and white and standing proud on the coastline midway between the Tyne and the Wear. Souter is a special place all year round and was one of the first purpose built electric lighthouses.

  • FREE entry to Gibside 
Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September (no booking required) 

National Trust, Gibside, Burnopfield, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, NE16 6BG

Free access to Gibside National Trust

What they say: On the edge of Newcastle, this Georgian landscape garden delivers ‘wow’ moments. Trails for differing abilities feature man-made terraces and spectacular vista views.

Gibside Hall ruins and Palladian Chapel await discovery on walking routes stretching over acres of garden. Towering above, the Column to Liberty offers a glimpse into the stormy history of Mary Eleanor Bowes.

Wildlife and horticulture rich, Gibside is home to Roe deer, Red Kites, amphibian filled ponds, and a fruitful Walled Garden.

On the Explorer Trail, families can work together in our den building area and zoom across the zip line at Strawberry Castle play area.

  • FREE entry to Wallington 
Sunday 12 and Monday 13 September (no booking required) 

Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 4AR

What they say: There is so much to see and do on a visit to Wallington. Learn the history of the families that have lived here on a visit to the house or head out onto a woodland or riverside walk. Visit the play areas or hire a bike for a more active adventure.

Read our guide to visiting Wallington here

  • FREE entry to Cragside 

Friday 17 September (no booking required) 

Cragside, Rothbury, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE65 7PX

What they say: Discover how Lord Armstrong harnessed the power of water to light this impressive Arts and Crafts House using hydro-electricity. The House is sat in the heart of this vast estate in Northumberland, surrounded by towering trees and sparkling lakes.

Read about one of our favourite walks at Cragside here. 

  • FREE entry to Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick 

Saturday 11 September (booking preferred but not essential) 

Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery, 14 Bailiffgate, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1LX

What they say: Explore 10,000 years of local history at this award-winning family-friendly attraction and visit the myth-busting Vikings exhibition – a unique collaboration with JORVIK group from York. Dress up as a Viking and see the ghost of a Viking longboat.

  • FREE entry to Head of Steam Museum Darlington 
Friday 10 - Sunday 19 September (closed Mondays, no booking required) 

Head of Steam, Darlington Railway Museum, Station Road, Darlington, County Durham, DL3 6ST

What they say: Come along and enjoy free entry to the museum as we participate in the national Heritage Open Day - Museum is open 10am - 4pm Tuesday - Sunday

Read my guide to visiting Head of Steam (along with other parts of the Discover Brightwater trail here

  • FREE entry to Ormesby Hall 
Friday 10 and Saturday 11 September (no booking required) 

What they say: Discover the hidden gem of Ormesby Hall on the doorstep of Middlesbrough. This historic house and garden are full of history and offer a perfect escape for the day.

Step inside Ormesby Hall's eighteenth century mansion to see how the Pennyman family once lived and stop by the model railway collection to see the model trains pass by.

Stroll through the formal garden to see a variety of seasonal flowers, from roses to wildflowers and take some time to enjoy a game of croquet.

There is also a British Wildlife Photography Exhibition and second hand bookshop. Cafe is open for hot snacks, cakes, scones and drinks.

Families can play in the natural play area, create mud creations in the mud pie kitchen and follow the children's trails. On this day Laundry maids will be at work doing the days washing and may need a little help.

Read my guide to visiting Ormesby Hall here

This is just a small selection of what's available. There is SO much going on! You can search and browse all events here.  Don't forget to double check dates / times / booking info too. 

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