From 7-17 September, historical buildings and places of worship around the country are opening their doors for the annual Heritage Open Days season. With the chance to explore behind the scenes of these amazing buildings and loads of great events and activities, this is the perfect time to discover more about the city and county that we love.

Below is just a small selection of the events taking place, have a look on our website to see more city events or visit the Heritage Open Days website for a full list of Leicestershire events.

Investigate the city’s history

You can book a tour of the Engine House at Abbey Pumping Station on the 11, 12 and 14 September and explore the rarely seen basement and Engine House along with the vintage vehicles in the transport shed.

Take a tour of Leicester’s old town on 9 September, learning about Leicester Cathedral's medieval history, the significant buildings in the vicinity at that time, before wandering through Castle Garden and ending with a tour of the historically significant St Mary de Castro Church. Click here to book.

Discover the history of Leicester’s oldest theatre, the Y, from Monday 11 to Thursday 14 September. find out about the Theatre’s early days as the Association Hall, the vital role it played during wartime, and the eclectic events it has played host to throughout the years. More info here.

Take a journey back in time at the Stoneygate Tram Depot on Sunday 10 September . Young visitors can take a turn behind the wheel of a Kirby & West milk float, called Speedy and you can enjoy a free short ride on a classic double-deck bus. All the info here.

Tour the Glenfield Railway Tunnel on the 9/10, 16 and 17 September. This was the longest railway tunnel in the world when it opened in 1832, and while it has long since been decommissioned, it’s a stunning sight. The tour will also take you to the first of the main excavation shafts, 400 yards into the tunnel. Tickets are limited, get them here.

Explore our religious buildings

Informal tours of Leicester Synagogue ­– a Grade II Listed Building – will be running on Sunday 10 September, with exhibitions detailing the history of the Jewish community in Leicester.

Take a guided tours of the stunning Leicester Jain Centre on Saturday 9 September. It includes 44 magnificently carved sandstone pillars, a beautiful temple dome and ceiling with traditional carvings, a white marble floor, mirrored walls and hand-carved staircases.

On Saturday 16 September take a look behind the scenes of the former Leicestershire Banking Company, which is now the spiritual home to ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness). This Victorian landmark has recently had a huge restoration of its roof. Take part in a variety of activities and find out more about Joseph Goddard, the architect of this Grade II listed building.

Learn all about Loughborough

On Sunday 10 September come and join Loughborough’s first ever Bell Festival! See the parade of the willow bell as it journeys from All Saints Church to Queen’s Park, to enjoy music, art activities and performances celebrating the town’s long history with bells.

On 16 September tour the Generator Hall, which along with The Old Art College are the last remaining Technical College buildings from the time of Herbert Schofield - an inspirational educationalist. The fabulous space of the Generator Hall is being renovated to become an amazing arts and culture centre serving the diverse communities of Loughborough.

On Saturday 9 September take a tour of the country’s last remaining Bell Foundry. Walk the Casting Hall floor and meet the Master Founder! This is an exclusive chance to explore the foundry floor, which is usually restricted to visitors, and see mould-making up close. Half-hours mini-tours run throughout the day. Tickets allocated by free raffle.

On Saturday 16 September celebrate 528 years of Loughborough Grammar School with a rare chance to access the 1852 tower alongside the chance to explore the school’s archives, including notable former pupils. After visiting, site You can use the ‘Town Trail’ of sites associated with the School or will be invited to download an exclusive app by QR code.

Hear all about Hinckley

Hinckley and District Museum are holding an Atkins Heritage Tour on 9 September. This walking tour takes in a number of historic Hinckley buildings (including the Hinckley and District Museum) which all have a connection to the notable Atkins hosiery family.

Delve into Lutterworth’s secrets

On the 10, 13 and 15 September at Lutterworth and District Museum, you will be able to see a selection of old 16mm cine films covering Lutterworth Feast Week and Folsain Wycliffe Foundry Gala celebrations from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Throughout the period of the Heritage Open Days you can take a look around the rarely seen Masonic Temple in Lutterworth. Often shrouded in secrecy and full of myth and legend, prepare to be enthralled as you unravel the fascinating story of this 300-year-old institution.

Reveal hidden North and West Leicestershire

Walk into the history of Ashby de la Zouch as you visit the lovely Grade II listed village church which dates back to the 11th Century. There is a guided tour on Saturday 9 September at 2pm but from the 9-17 September you can look at historical displays and memorabilia in the church.

Uncover the history of the village of Appleby Magna with a walking tour on 17 September and discover more about the historic Grammar School. There are new exhibitions, games for kids, trails, puzzles, and a brand new exhibition about the unlikely partnership between Sir John Moore and Sir Christopher Wren.

On Saturday 9 September Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre invites you to discover this important heritage site in the heart of Leicestershire and uncover the story of two of our most famous monarchs. Explore the award-winning exhibition and let one of the passionate volunteers really bring the history to life. You’ll even have a chance to get up close to some of the artefacts found around the site!

Wymeswold church is famous for its slate headstone carvings of 'angels'. On the 9 September join a guided walk and hear about the Angels of Wymeswold along with other angel images in the church, and discover more about their history and meaning.

Over the weekend of 16-17 September the ruins of Lady Jane Grey’s House will be open free between 11am and 4pm, and on the 17th September at 2pm  you can see a play depicting the story of Lady Jane Grey, at the Bradgate House ruins. You can even get involved by playing supporting roles, or just enjoy the show!

Take a walk round Harborough’s history

On the 9 and 10 September you can take a guided tour of the oldest Windmill in Leicestershire. Kibworth’s windmill is featured in our Kibworth Villages Uncover The Story write-up and is not usually open to the general public.

On Sunday 10 and 17 September discover carved medieval bosses, a 17th century font cover, an 18th century organ casing, Reid’s alabaster reredos carving of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ and decorative Swithland slate headstones including what is said to be the best gravestone image in Leicestershire. All in one place, St Peter’s in Church Langton.

The history of Foxton Locks is laid bare from 10-12 September at Foxton Canal Museum. Discover the incredible history of the Foxton Boat Lift, and on Tuesday 12 September there will be site tours onto the Inclined Plane, 12pm and 2pm.

On Wednesday 13 September join an entertaining heritage walk around the town of Market Harborough led by a local blue badge guide. Delve into the history of this place steeped in outstanding architecture and tales of bygone times.




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