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Heritage Open Days

Guildford's Heritage Open Days has one of the biggest number of activities and events in the UK, giving visitors the opportunity to explore Guildford's fantastic architecture and culture.

The event allows visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee. Heritage Open Days also includes guided tours, activities, talks and exhibitions, focusing on local architecture and culture so there is always plenty to see and do.

In 2017, the Heritage Open Days event will take place from 7 to 10 September, and will be organised by Guildford Borough Council, The Guildford Society and The Guildford Town Guide and sponsored by Thesis Asset Management.

Useful guides

Our  icon 2016 Heritage Open Days event brochure [11.09Mb]  is still available to download. There is also an online event directory where you can search for events and information around the country, please visit the Heritage Open Days website. 

Why not find out more about Effingham and download a copy of the icon Effingham Heritage Trail [2.03Mb]  and also icon The Bishop's Walk [1.32Mb]  which provides an opportunity to explore the area.

    About Heritage Open Days

    The event is coordinated locally by Guildford Borough Council, The Guildford Society and the Guildford Town Guides.

    Heritage Open Days is the country's largest heritage festival with around 5,000 events, over 40,000 volunteers and more than three million visitors taking part.

    Heritage Open Days operates as part of the  National Trust with funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery. Established in 1994, it is England's contribution to the European Heritage Days, which is held annually in September in 50 signatory states to the European Cultural Convention.

    How you can get involved

    If you own a property or represent an organisation within the borough and would like to get involved in Heritage Open Days, we would love to hear from you. Alternatively if you would like to volunteer to help steward participating properties, please get in touch by emailing managementsupport@guildford.gov.uk.

    Heritage Days 2016

    Thousands of visitors enjoyed a look behind closed doors at our 2016 Heritage Open Days. The four day event (8 to 11 September) showcased a range of activities from tours of historic buildings, guided walks, village churches and re-enactments bringing historical events to life.

    The Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Gordon Jackson attended a photocall with our sponsor Sam Lansdowne, Thesis Asset Management at Castle Green with re-enactors from Historia Normannis. Following the photocall, the Mayor, accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Freiburg, Dr Dieter Salomon and civic delegation, attended a variety of sites across the borough as part of the visit programme, which coincided with Heritage Open Days.

    The national organisers have informed us that Guildford featured in the top five towns and cities in the UK in terms of events organised in 2016. For details please see below:

    • Norwich (159)
    • Gloucester (126)
    • Oxford (123)
    • Leeds (105)
    • Guildford (101)

    Also Guildford Borough Council featured in the top five organisations who coordinate an event:

    • Heritage Trust for Lincolnshire (176)
    • Tyne & Wear Steering Group (174)
    • Gloucester City Council (119)
    • Oxford Preservation Trust (118)
    • Guildford Borough Council (103)
    • Hull Civic Society (103)