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The best Heritage Open Days in Suffolk in September

Little Hall, Lavenham. Photo: Graham Panton
Little Hall, Lavenham. Photo: Graham Panton

Heritage Open Days is England's largest community led festival of history and culture, involving thousands of local volunteers and organisations, who bring history to life through telling stories, sharing traditions. This year's festival runs September 8-17 and the theme is Creativity Unwrapped, exploring our history of creativity in all its forms. Here are some Suffolk highlights. There are plenty more events and exhibitions taking place all over the county. Go to to find the complete list.

Creative Conflict Exhibition

Great War Huts, Brook Farm Camp, Bells Lane, Hawstead, Bury St Edmunds, IP29 5NW

Artefacts from the Great War Huts collection including the South African War (1899-1902) to the Falklands War in 1982, with a focus on World War I. Rare opportunity to see creative pieces by soldiers, nurses, and prisoners of war, from drawings and paintings to embroidery and carvings.

September 9 - 17, 10am - 3pm, tours at 11am on September 10, 11, 16, 17

Booking required:

Ancient Library Tour

Angel Hill, Bury St. Edmunds, IP33 1LS

Founded in 1595 for clergy training at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, with more than 550 books, many from the 16th and 17th century. Join a 30-minute session to learn about them.

September 8 & 15, 30-minute sessions 2pm - 4.30pm

September 9 & 16, 30-minute sessions 10am - 12.30pm

Booking preferred:

Suffolk Archives - Bury St Edmunds

Records Office, 77 Raingate Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 2AR

Explore creative treasures from Suffolk Archives’ unique and varied collection of documents, images and sounds recordings spanning 900 years.

September 9, 10am - 4pm

No booking required

Cavendish Hall

Cavendish Hall, Cavendish, CO10 8BN

Charming country house and grounds bring the Regency period alive. Picnics in the garden encouraged, weather permitting.

September 9 & 10, 10am - 4pm

Booking preferred

Revealing Clare’s Amazing History: 1,000 years in 100 minutes

The Visitor Centre, Malting Lane, Clare, CO10 8NW

Heritage tour covers the town’s development from Anglo-Saxon to the medieval times, including the ruins of Clare Castle, stories of a family involved in many significant events in English history, literary and creative connections, including John Elwes, the inspiration for Dickens’ Scrooge.

September 9 & 10, 10am - 11.40am, 1.30pm - 3.10pm

Booking required:

Little Hall, Lavenham

Little Hall, Market Place, Lavenham, CO10 9QZ

Explore this hall house which reflects the history and changing fortunes of Lavenham, from its origins in 1390 to its restoration in the 1930s by the Gayer-Anderson twins. Beautiful knot and traditional English walled gardens.

September 16 & 17, 1pm - 4pm

No booking required

Inspired by Walpole Old Chapel

Walpole Old Chapel, Halesworth Road, Walpole, Halesworth, IP19 9AZ

Organised by The Friends of Walpole Old Chapel, exhibition of artworks inspired by this unique building, some on public display for the first time. Creative workshop – sketch, write a poem, or produce a print with help from professional artists.

September 9 & 10, 10am - 4.30pm

No booking required

Eye Twin Victorian Chapels and Eye Cemetery

Eye Cemetery, Yaxley Road, Eye, IP23 7DP

Rare Victorian Chapels not usually open to the public. Learn about a project aiming to restore and repurpose the chapels; meet the team bringing the project to life.

September 17, 11am - 3pm

No booking required


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