7 unusual places to visit in Lancashire for Heritage Open Days

Hawkshead Gallery

Hawkshead Gallery - Credit: tSteven Barber

Heritage venues across the region – many of them not normally open to the public – will welcome visitors this month

The Wavertree Lock-Up

The Wavertree Lock-Up - Credit: The Wavertree Society

An operating theatre, a jail and a mine are among the scores of venues taking part in this year’s Heritage Open Days.

The 24th annual event – which is now England’s biggest festival of heritage and culture – takes place over two weekends this month and every event is free.

This is our selection of seven places to visit, some well-known, others rarely open to the public

For a complete list of places taking part in the open days on September 6-9 and 13-16, go to heritageopendays.org.uk.

Step back in time

Clayton Hall Living History Museum, Clayton Park, Ashton New Road, M11 4RU

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Standing on a Scheduled Ancient Monument site, this moated building offers visitors a glimpse into the past with the kitchen, dining room, cold store room, wash house, bedroom and drawing room all dressed to represent a Victorian home.

September 8 and 15, 11am-4pm


A theatrical opening

The Old Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Operating Theatre, Ashton Road, Lancaster, LA1 4RP.

Take a rare chance to view the original Operating Theatre from the 1890s, and treasures from the Lancaster Medical Museum Collection. Marking 125 years of the Infirmary, and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS, parts of the building normally closed will be open to the public with displays celebrating medical history.

September 8, 10am-4pm


Go underground

Greenburn Mine, National Trust, Little Langdale, LA21 8DJ

Pull on your walking boots and join this free ‘walk and talk’ tour to discover the area’s industrial heritage. Guided by experts, visitors will explore the much-loved Little Langdale valley, spotting reminders of the Lake District’s industrial heritage amongst beautiful mountain views. The tour will finish with a visit to the newly-installed hydro scheme in the valley.

September 13, 10am-2pm


Extraordinary women

Hare Hill House, Littleborough, OL15 9HF

Experience the house dressed as it may have been 100 years ago, and see an exhibition highlighting the Extraordinary Women of the town and the significant contributions they have made to national life. There will also be a chance to watch a historical debate in the Council Chamber, once a local branch office of the Votes for Women movement.

September 8, 9, 15 and 16, 11am-3pm


Right on track

Stainmore Railway Company, Kirkby Stephen, CA17 4LA

Get a unique chance to view progress of a major restoration project on the 1902 North Eastern Railway Bogie Stores van No. 5523, considered the ‘transit van’ of its day. Chat to the individuals undertaking the work, and learn more about this sole surviving example of its type.

September 8 and 9, 10am-4pm


Look in the lock up

The Wavertree Lock-Up, Wavertree Village Green, Childwall Road, L15 6UX

A rare chance to visit the normally shut Wavertree Lock-Up. Built in 1796, the lock-up was originally used as an overnight jail and has also been used to isolate cholera victims and provide temporary accommodation for destitute Irish families. After falling into decay, the building was threatened with demolition in the 1860s, but is now listed.

September 9, 12pm-4pm


Hotel secrets

Imperial Hotel, Promenade, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 2HB

This stunning Victorian hotel is symbolic in Blackpool’s political and entertainment histories with famous guests such as Sir Winston Churchill and Charles Dickens. Take a behind the scenes look at this hotel on a guided tour, which includes the Turkish Baths.

September 13 - 10am and 2pm; September 14 – 10am.