With all the events happening as part of Norfolk Heritage Open Days it is easy to get overwhelmed or miss out on the best ones. I have gone through all the information, so that you don’t have to. In this post I will share more information about Norfolk Heritage Open Days 2022 and recommended events.
If you are looking for information about this year’s event, check out our guide to the 2023 Norfolk Heritage Open Days.
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What is Norfolk Heritage Open Days?
Norfolk Heritage Open Days is part of a national festival of history and culture. It gives everyone free access to experiences and events where you can visit heritage sites, discover hidden gems not normally open to the public, and learn more about the culture and history in our communities.
When is Norfolk Heritage Open Days for 2022?
The festival runs from 9 to 18 September 2022.
What is the theme for Norfolk Heritage Open Days 2022?
For the 2022 Norfolk Heritage Open Days festival the theme is “Astounding Inventions.” There will be some activities celebrating England’s rich history of invention, industry, and innovation in addition to the typical Heritage Open Days events.
Another theme for events for Norfolk Heritage Open Days in 2022 is Queen Elizabeth’s I’s Royal Progress to Norwich in 1578. You can find a list of these events here.
Is Norfolk Heritage Open Days good for kids?
Yes. There are many family-friendly events and attractions included in the programme. If you need more ideas, check out our recommendations for the best things to do in Norfolk with kids.
Do you need to book Norfolk Heritage Open Days events in advance?
While there are some drop-in events, other events do need to be booked. Bookings open at 10:00 on 22 August. Some events can be booked through the Heritage Open Days website while others you need to book directly with the venue.
The Best Norfolk Heritage Open Day Events
With all the special events happening around the county for Norfolk Heritage Open Days, it wasn’t easy choosing a few to highlight. I focused on places that aren’t normally open to the public or are offering something a bit different.
Some Norfolk museums and other attractions will have certain times when you can visit for free during the festival. If you want to find out about more events and openings, you can find a complete list here.
To help you plan, I have organized the list by area. Don’t forget to book early (but after 10:00 22 August) for those events that require it.
Best Norwich Heritage Open Day Events
Earlham Hall Tour
When: 11 & 18 September 10:00, 11:30, & 14:00
Tour guide Nigel Wimhurst will take you through the Grade-II listed 17th and 18th century house and thell you more about some of its former residents, Elizabeth Fry and the Gurney Family. This tour needs to be booked in advance here.
Norwich Guildhall Tour
When: 10 & 17 September 11:00 & 14:00
Tour the largest surviving medieval civil building in the country outside of London and see the 14th century undercroft, police cells, Victorian courtroom, and more. You need to book the tour in advance here.
Pull’s Ferry Watergate Room
When: 9 – 11 & 16 – 18 September 11:00 – 16:00
Go inside the medieval Watergate room inside Pull’s Ferry on the banks of the River Wensum. You will be able to enjoy views of the Cathedral Close and the river and learn more about the history of this iconic building. (Bring cash if you would like to have tea and/or cake to support the Girl Guides).
Bishop’s House Garden
When: 13 & 14 September, 10:00 – 16:00
Only open to the public on select days, you can explore this secret garden in the centre of Norwich. Read more about what you can see at the Bishop’s House Garden.
Norwich School Chapel
When: 9 September 10:45 – 12:00, 13 September 16:00 – 17:00, 15 September 15:00 to 17:00, & 16 September 12:30 – 13:30
Visit the chapel that was known as the Chantry Chapel of St. John the Evangelist when it was founded in 1316. It was dissolved in 1547 and is now part of the Norwich School.
Surrey House Tour
When: 15 & 16 September 09:30, 11:00, 13:00, 14:30
Take a guided tour of the historic Aviva office building designed by George Skipper. You will get to see Marble Hall and go up the staircase to the boardroom where the Norwich Union Life Insurance Society first took residence in 1905. The tour needs to be booked in advance here.
There are also open doors 15 & 16 September 11:00 to 17:00 when you can drop-in but I am not sure you will be able to see the boardroom unless you book a tour.
The Strangers Club
When: 18 September 10:00 – 16:00
The Stranger’s Club is an exclusive organization for men that was founded in 1927. This is a rare opportunity to go inside the 16th century building (which is one of the most haunted places in Norwich) on Elm Hill where they are based.
St. Peter Mancroft Church Ringing Discovery Centre & Higher Infinity Bell Ringing Chamber
When: 12 & 16 September 11:00 & 13:00, 14 September 15:00
You get to visit both the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre and the Higher Infinity Bell Ringing Chamber. In addition to learning about the history of bell ringing at St. Peter Mancroft, you will get amazing views of the inside of the church. This event needs to be pre-booked here.
If the pre-booked event is full, there is a drop-in event where you can visit the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre on 9, 10, 12-17 September from 10:30 to 15:00.
Best Great Yarmouth Heritage Open Day Events
Medieval Town Wall Guided Heritage Walk
When: 18 September 11:00
Trained guides will take you around the second most complete medieval walls in England. Learn how and why the Great Yarmouth town walls were built and reinforced during times of rebellion. You will need to book the tour in advance by calling 01493 846107 or emailing email@example.com.
Great Yarmouth Town Hall Tour
When: 10 & 11 September 10:00 – 16:00
Discover the magnificent rooms in the town hall and learn about the heritage of this historic building. You will need to book your tour in advance by calling 01493 846107 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Royal Naval Hospital Open Doors
When: 10 & 11 September 11:00 to 15:30
Go inside this Grade-II listed building finished in the early 19th century where the sick and wounded from the Royal Navy’s North Sea Fleet were treated. It is now private residential property.
Best Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Heritage Open Day Events
King’s Lynn Heritage Open Day
11 September 10:00 – 16:00 Postponed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II
You can visit houses, offices, gardens, churches, chapels, towers and tunnels in King’s Lynn that are not normally open to the public. Look out for colourful re-enactors, children’s activities, music, dancing, miniature trains, boats, and classic cars. There will also be a free vintage bus to make getting around easier.
Get more details of what will be open here.
Hunstanton Lighthouse Tour
When: 9 & 16 September every 30 minutes from 10:30 to 14:00
The lighthouse tour will take you to the dungeon and the top of the tower where you will have views over the Wash and Hunstanton. It’s for those ages 8 and up.
Best North Norfolk Heritage Open Day Events
Sheringham Park Pill Boxes
When: 16 & 17 September 11:00-16:00
Go inside two restored Second World War Pill Boxes that were part of the defenses for this part of the coast. Located inside the National Trust site just south of the town of Sheringham, these structures are normally not open to the public.
Cromer Signal Box
When: 16 & 17 September 10:30 – 15:00
Look inside this Grade-ll listed signal box in Cromer where you can see a working mechanical lever frame and operate it. There is also a collection of railway memorabilia to view. Unfortunately there are steps to access so it is not suitable for wheelchair users. The closest parking is at Argos.
RELATED: Discover Norfolk Steam Railways
Best Thetford Heritage Open Day Events
Former Atomic Weapons Bunker Tour
When: 9 – 18 September 10:30
Tour this Scheduled Monument of the Cold War and see where the Atom Bombs Blue Danube and Red Beard were kept in the late 50s and 60s. Then you can climb up the 25 foot watchtower, if you like. This event needs to be pre-booked by calling 01842 753149.
Best South Norfolk Heritage Open Day Events
Raveningham Hall Tour
When: 9 & 10 September 10:00, 12:00, & 14:00
Go on a short tour of the public rooms at Raveningham Hall led by the owner Sir Nicholas Bacon. You will also get to see some of the art collection. You will need to book in advance by calling 01508 548480 or emailing email@example.com.
Diss Corn Hall Tour
When: 9, 15, & 16 September 10:30 and 12:00
Get a behind-the-scenes look at this award-winning venue. Learn about the history of the building and see parts not normally open to the public. Be sure to also try the Diss Spiced Bread which was a local speciality from Victorian times.
Best Broadland Heritage Open Day Events
Textile Conservation Studio Tour
When: 17 September 10:00, 11:30, 14:00, & 15:30
Meet the conservation team that cares for the National Trust’s 150,000 textile items around the country and find out how they care for these precious objects. You need to book this tour in advance by calling 01263 735878 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hathor Pleasure Wherry
When: 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, & 18 September 11:00 – 16:00
Go inside the famous wherry built for the Colman family in 1905 at How Hill.
Norfolk Wherry Maud
When: 11 September 10:00 – 17:00
Step abroad this wherry that was built in 1899 on the banks of the River Yare at Reedham. It will be moored at How Hill and there will also be a pop-up museum with photos of working wherries and the Maud’s restoration.
Best Breckland Heritage Open Day Events
Narborough Bone Mill
When: 17-18 September 11:00 – 16:00
Take a guided tour of the only bone mill in Norfolk where substantial workings remain. You will see a 16′ waterwheel and original brick floors along with other finds uncovered during excavations.
Dereham Georgian Town Walk
When: 17 September 10:30
See significant Georgian sites in Dereham based on a map for 1757. Many buildings still remain (with some changes), but they will also show the location of those which have long since gone. You need to pre-book your tour by calling 01362 691455 or emailing email@example.com.