Every September thousands of volunteers across England organise events to celebrate the country's fantastic history and culture. It's your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are free to explore. Here in Hampshire, there are a plethora of heritage spots ready to welcome visitors, many for the first time this year. From cookery demonstrations and historical talks to tours of hidden archives and usually private residences, this month, be inspired to discover the history on your doorstep.

A Guided Tour of Winchester College Archives

This two hour-long tour allows a rare opportunity to view two medieval rooms which house the school’s archives. Suzanne Foster, College Archivist, will be offering a rare insight into the college's historic documents and collections which paint a holistic picture of transformation of the campus across the centuries. Documents and artefacts relating to the school’s history, including the Foundation Charters and Founder’s Statutes, will be on display.

September 14, 1.15pm and 2.30pm, September 15, 12.30pm and 2.45pm and September 16, 1.45pm. Booking essential at ticketsource.co.uk/winchester-college

Attention Winchester! The Big Day Out at Winchester's Military Museums

Head to the historic military heart of Winchester at Peninsula Barracks and enjoy a wonderful day out for all the family. Museum curators will be on hand to answer your family history questions and wartime re-enactors will bring military past to life. The Band and Bugles of The Rifles will be performing throughout the day while soldiers from The King’s Royal Hussars, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, and The Adjutant General’s Corps will be talking about life in the Army today, showcasing some military vehicles and seeing if you’d make the cut. Delicious food will be available including Gurkha curries and sausages cooked on a WWI Soyer Stove from The Royal Logistics Corps Museum, plus there will be family crafts for you to unleash your creativity. September 16, 11am to 3pm, no booking needed.

MG Owners Club Classic & Sports Car Display

Make your way along to Winchester’s Great Hall to see the vast number of cars on display and chat to the owners about all things classic and sports before being entertained by Hampshire Regency Dancers and Sir Orfeo, who will be performing poem recitals. There will also be tours of the Great Hall on offer to give you a glimpse behind the scenes of this historic landmark.

September 16, 10am to 2pm, no booking needed.

The Gregg School

Explore the historic Townhill Park estate, owned by Lord and Lady Swaythling in the early 1900s when what is now, The Gregg School, opens its doors to visitors. Wander around the house designed by L.R. Gutherie and through the beautiful formal gardens by Gertrude Jekyll to appreciate the beautiful architecture and grounds. September 10, 2pm to 5pm, no booking required.

Food Unwrapped at Honesty Cookery School

Pay a visit to the beautiful green oak barn at Honesty Cookery School in North Sydmonton to hear how coffee and spices have been produced and enjoyed for hundreds of years. Led by chef and tutor, Robin Popham, there will be demonstrations and tastings too. September 12, 11am to 12.30pm and September 13, 11am to 12.30pm, booking required via honestygroup.co.uk/online-shop/courses/

The Princess and the Oil Magnate's Daughter

Unwrap the layers of Foxlease, the New Forest Tudor cottage which has been an international home for Girlguiding for the past 100 years and discover how the princess and the oil magnate’s daughter are connected. With guided tours, family trails, activities and more. September 16 and 17, 10am to 5pm. No booking required.

Steamship Shieldhall

All are welcome aboard the Steamship Shieldhall on September 16, which is a member of the National Historic Fleet. As part of your visit, see the impressive engine room with its original steam engines at work and the bridge, with its traditional instruments and gleaming brasswork; admire the ship’s steam assisted steering gear (similar to that used on Titanic) and talk to the captain and her crew. There will be deck games and a wide range of refreshments including tea/coffee, real ale, wine, ice cream and hot and cold food. Children will have fun with an interactive Shieldhall Passport, collecting stickers from various stations on board. Free parking is available close to the Shieldhall berth. 10am to 2.30pm, no booking needed.

Florence Nightingale in Romsey

Join artist Sophie Hacker as she talks through her beautiful stained-glass window in Romsey Abbey, which was commissioned in 2018 to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, which happened in May 2020. Sophie will share details of Florence’s life and how the window was designed and made. Taking place at Mercure Winchester Wessex Hotel on September 15, 2pm to 3pm, booking required via eventbrite.co.uk/o/winchester-heritage-open-days-17274323708

Abbey House tour

Grade II listed property, Abbey House is the official residence to the Mayor of Winchester, one of only seven such residences in the country. Find out about its history when it opens to the public on September 15 and hear more about the mayoralty, with Winchester being the 2nd oldest in the country. Abbey House, The Broadway, Winchester, 10am to 3.30pm, no booking required.

Brothers in art

Join gallery owner Richard Martin, on a talk about the lives and work of Gosport's most celebrated artists, Martin Snape and his brother William. Richard founded his gallery on Stoke Road, 43 years ago, during which time he has developed an expertise on the Snape brothers and their work, with many of their paintings having passed through the gallery. Assisted by his wife Elaine, Richard will show many images of the old town during his lecture and there will also be an opportunity to view several original works. September 11, 13 and 15, 7.30pm to 9pm, booking required via gosportheritage.co.uk/booking-2023/

To find out more about Heritage Open Days and to see a list of all the events taking place, visit heritageopendays.org.uk