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The national Heritage Open Days organisers have said the free festival will be going ahead in September, but the format will be adapted due to Covid-19. See below for more information.

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.

Changes planned for 2020 festival

This year, the Heritage Open Days national organisers will be allowing and encouraging online events for the first time, as well as any in-person visits that are possible within government guidelines at the time of the festival.

Communities will be able to celebrate the stories of the places and spaces that are important to them in new ways. Visitors will be able to take part in activities further afield. They will be able to explore even more hidden places and local gems from the comfort and security of their armchairs.

Please read the national Heritage Open Days organisers' update

Further updates about our contribution to the festival will be added to this page over the coming weeks.

Dates for 2020

Abbots Hospital Heritage Open Day
Nationally the event will be running for ten consecutive days from 11 to 20 September with organisers choosing when to open and participate. The confirmed dates for Guildford's Heritage Open Days festival are 11 to 13 September.

Statistics from 2019 event

Nationally the biggest hubs (by number of events registered in 2019 with the national organisers) were:

Norwich (195), Sheffield (150), Leeds (141), Gloucester (140) and Winchester (129).

Guildford had 86 events during the festival, which puts us in 9th position compared to all town and cities in England. This is a fantastic achievement as the others in the list are cities! Areas with similar figures to Guildford are Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.

Surrey county had 293 events - therefore Guildford had a large proportion of these. There was a slight fall in the number of events from 2018 - 19. The South East continues to have the majority of events compared to the rest of the country.

Useful guides

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 England's largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,500 organisations, 5,000 events and 40,000 volunteers.

  • Heritage Open Days is coordinated nationally by the National Trust with support from players of People's Postcode Lottery.

How you can get involved

If you own a property or represent an organisation within the borough and would like to get involved in future 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.