NEWS: Heritage Open Days | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Wheatley HIll Heritage Centre

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for history fans across the UK – Heritage Open Days are back this month, reformed and reinvented to best suit current conditions. Sure, we have to maintain a safe distance and get masked up indoors, but that doesn’t mean we have to forgo a bit of cultural spice. There’s still plenty that can be done with minimal risk, especially thanks to this year’s theme: Hidden Nature. Our history can be found anywhere, not just in museum halls and libraries; instead, we are given the chance to explore lesser-known historical hotspots buried in natural landscapes and landscaped gardens.

Taking place from Friday 11th-Sunday 20th September, a multitude of venues open their doors, and highlights in our region abound. On Saturday 19th attendees have the opportunity to find out more about the refurbishment of County Durham’s Thorpe Light Railway, a historic miniature train that will hopefully be restored to full working order soon. Meanwhile, Alnwick’s Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery honours the heritage event with Helen Poremba’s Machine Stitch Art exhibition, which celebrates the natural world in textile art and also explores the social and technological history surrounding the simple sewing machine.

The history hidden in churchyards so often goes neglected: the online activity hosted by Sunderland Minster delves deeper into the mysterious features decoded by historians which give us glimpses into the past. St Hilda’s in Hartlepool got a similar memo about the joys of virtual exhibitions: they’re hosting their event online, with two pre-bookable presentations allowing culture vultures to gain valuable insights into the church’s architectural history, or perhaps learning more about the eponymous Saint herself.

Hardwick Park in Stockton have embraced new tech in the most productive way; check out their Love Exploring app on your phone for a bespoke audio tour of the grounds of this Grade II listed site. If, like me, you’re the kind of person who needs a bit of a nudge n the right historical direction, this sounds key to unlocking a whole host of knowledge about this gorgeous parkland.

New events and openings are being announced daily, so check the website for further updates.

Heritage Open Days takes place across the region from Friday 11th-Sunday 20th September

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