Heritage Open Days 2021: 10 exciting events in Hampshire

Chawton House in Chawton, Hampshire was frequented by literary legend Jane Austen

Chawton House in Chawton, Hampshire, was frequented by literary legend Jane Austen as the property belonged to her brother. - Credit: giborn_134 / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Delve into the history and culture of Hampshire this month with Heritage Open Days across the county

Edible England High Street Trail 

Explore Winchester's vibrant city centre with its historic streets and shopping areas and take part in the self-guided family-friendly high street trail celebrating this year’s theme of Edible England. Keep an eye out for the pink bunting and take a peek in the windows of participating shops and businesses to discover glimpses of history, creative displays, works by local artists and links to an online exhibition.

Look out for the cheeky Heritage Open Day Gnome and Winchester’s very own 'Poet on the High Street', Jonny Fluffypunk, with some pop-up appearances at venues along the way. Pick up a printed copy of the trail from the Winchester Visitor Information Centre, Winchester BID or download the trail from winchesterheritageopendays.org before you go. 

When: 10th - 19th September 2021

Where: Winchester

The Watercress Line

Get up close to steam-powered locomotives in this behind the scenes event at the Watercress Line’s Engineering Hub at Ropley Station. You'll discover what it takes to restore and keep the engines and carriages in pristine condition. No booking is required.

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When: 10th - 12th September 2021, various times.

Where: The Watercress Line, Bighton Hill, Ropley, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9SQ


Watercress Worker - 76017

Chawton House Garden Tour

Explore the beautiful gardens at Chawton House, the property that was once owned by Jane Austen's brother. A fragrant rose garden, a secluded fernery and an orchard are just some of the highlights to be found. Booking required.

When: 10th, 13th & 14th September 2021

Where: Chawton House, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1SJ


All Saints church, Basingstoke

Take a look inside this beautiful church designed by renowned architect Temple Moore and have a peek at the usually closed bell tower. The tour promises to be just as informative as it is fun especially come Sunday 18th, when a special 'hymns and Pimms event will be hosted. No booking is required.

When: 18th - 19th September 2021

Where: All Saints Church, Southern Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 3EA


Farleigh House

Step inside this beautiful historic property that has stood for nearly 1000 years and has remained within the Wallop family since 1450. Feast your eyes on beautiful interiors adorned with a plethora of paintings by master artists. Booking required.

When: 10th & 12th September 2021, various times.

Where: Farleigh House, The Avenue, Farleigh Wallop, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG25 2HT


Behind-the-scenes tours of Fort Nelson

Choose between two tours on offer that delve into areas of Fort Nelson not normally open to the public. The Victorian Officers’ Quarters tour or The West Tunnel tour will give you a behind the scenes look, so this is an unmissable event for military history buffs. Booking required.

When:  11th & 12th September 2021

Where: The Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson, Portsdown Hill Road, Fareham, Hampshire, PO17 6AN


Diving History at No.2 Battery

Discover the history of diving, which has remarkable connections to Hampshire as it was in the Solent that the Deane brothers successfully tested the first diving helmet. There's plenty of fun family activities and the chance to try on some real diving gear. No booking is required.

When: 10th & 17th September 2021

Where: Diving Museum, No 2 Battery, Stokes Bay Road, Gosport, Hampshire, PO12 2QU


Stories of Asylum

This unique look into Hampshire mental health care during and in the aftermath of WWI explores how 'shell shock' was treated and essentially started the change in how mental health was viewed. This exhibition will be available to visit in person or online and will interest anyone keen to find out more about social history in the area. No booking is required.

When: 14th - 18th September 2021

Where: The Gosport Gallery & Museum, Ordnance Road, Gosport, Hampshire, PO12 1NQ


The Great Hall Feast and Famine Historical Tour  

Completed in 1235 with soaring gothic columns and arched windows, Winchester’s Great Hall has witnessed many celebrations and feasts from King Henry III to our current Queen Elizabeth. For Heritage Open Days, embark on a food-themed tour of the hall using historical characters to enlighten you in their stories of celebrations and treachery.

Discover where we gained a reputation for gluttony and heavy drinking. Hear of the foods served to royalty and the royal feasts held in this hall. Was food given to prisoners? How did they feed their armies? Did they help feed the poor? What foods were banned? Which foods became fashionable and why. Learn how ‘food was power’ in medieval times. Booking is required.

When: 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th September 2021, 11 am and 3 pm

Where: The Great Hall, The Castle, Castle Avenue, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8UJ


Arthurian round table, c1280/c1522 - Great Hall, Winchester Castle, Winchester, Hampshire, England.

Pop up cinema in the garden

Step inside the Wessex Film and Sound Archive’s pop-up cinema tent, which will be screening archive film from the local area that dates all the way back to 1897. There will also be a screening of a new short film called Lost Connections, which is a poetic response to the experience of the Coronavirus pandemic using over a century's worth of archive footage. No booking is required.

When: 11th September 2021, 11 am - 3 pm

Where: Hampshire Archives & Local Studies, Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8TH


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11 beautiful buildings in Hampshire and the history behind them

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