Free entry to National Trust properties with Heritage Open Days

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by Yours |

From September 8-11, selected National Trust places across the country will be throwing open their doors to celebrate Heritage Open Days. This annual festival celebrates the country's diverse history, architecture and culture offering people the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences.

And what's more, entrance to many places is free for at least one day over the weekend (see dates for each place below). Here are some of the highlights:

Croft Castle, Herefordshire

Battle of Mortimer's Cross, 10 – 11 September, 10am – 7pm

Head down to Croft Castle for a weekend of living history. See hundreds of demonstrators bring to life one of the most significant battles of the Wars of the Roses, with gunpowder, archery and swordfights.

Price: Free opening on 10 September


Peckover House and Garden, Cambridgeshire

Heritage Open Day, 10 September, 11am – 4pm

Visit this secret gem of a house tucked away in an urban environment. The Peckover family were Quakers and lived a simple way of life, yet at the same time ran a successful private bank. Take time to explore the house and understand how the Peckovers would have lived. For those interested in dolls houses, head down to the Reed Barn tea room to meet local craft business Anglia Dolls Houses. These dolls house specialists will be on hand to talk about the Georgian architectural model of Peckover they are producing and showcase some of their work.

Price: Free opening on 10 September

Gibside, Tyne & Wear

Visit Gibside on Heritage Open Days weekend for the rare opportunity to take a sneaky peak inside the Chapel Crypt. Explore the meandering trails which weave their way through woodland and gardens, and keep an eye out for roe deer and red kites as you wander. Take a look around the restored stables, and top it all off with a beer from Gibside’s very own National Trust-managed pub.

Price: Free opening on 10 & 11 September

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

Heritage Open Day, 10 September, 11am – 5pm

Take a closer look at the life of Duchess Evelyn, the Last Lady of Hardwick. Her newly-restored bedroom completes the family rooms on the middle floor. You can discover more about the life of a duchess, her pioneering conservation work and the dramatic landscape in the East Court. Enjoy long countryside walks through the wider estate.

Price: Free opening on 10 September

Houghton Mill, Cambridgeshire

Heritage Open Day 2016: A Victorian Mill, 10 September, 11am – 4.30pm

Visit Houghton Mill and follow the amazing survival story of a mill that was almost demolished, then saved by the local villagers and restored to working order. Meet some of the characters who would have worked at this 18th-century working watermill in Victorian times. The mill will be running in the afternoon, using water power to produce stone-ground flour.

Price: Free opening on 10 September

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Steam Yacht Gondola, Lake District

Heritage Open Day: Gondola ‘Behind the Scenes’, 10 September, 5pm – 6.30pm

Hop on board this rebuilt steam-powered yacht to learn more about luxury travel of the Victorian ages. Have a cosy chat with the crew and quiz the boat’s engineer on its workings. With seldom seen archive material on display for one day only, it’s the perfect chance to delve into the history of this unique boat.

Price: Free opening on 10 September

The Argory, County Armagh

Heritage Open Day, 10 September, 12pm – 5pm

Visit the Argory this Heritage Open Days weekend and explore this handsome Irish gentry house built in the 1820s. Surrounded by a peaceful wooded riverside estate it’s the perfect place to relax and take a meandering stroll with the family. Let the kids run wild in the woods and discover the adventure playground. The Courtyard Coffee Shop is full of fresh, home-baked scones, sandwiches and cakes so why not enjoy a tasty treat while you’re there. Every penny you spend at the café goes back into caring for this beautiful landscape.

Price: Free opening on 10 September

Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire

Heritage Open Day, 10 September, 11am – 4.30pm

Baddesley Clinton was the home of the Ferrers family for 500 years. Much of the house you see today was built by Henry Ferrers, a lawyer, diarist and antiquarian, in the late 1500s. The house was a sanctuary not only for the Ferrers family, but also for the persecuted Catholics who were hidden from priest hunters in its secret hiding places during the 1590s. Start your visit with an introductory talk at the front of the house (last entrance to the house is 16:30) to find out more about the fascinating and unexpected stories Baddesley Clinton has to offer.

Price: Free opening on 10 September

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

Heritage Open Day, 10 September, 10am – 5pm

The magnificent abbey was established by devout monks seeking a simpler existence some 800 years ago. Nowadays, only the ruins of the abbey stand, but they offer an atmospheric window onto a way of life which shaped the medieval world. Take time to explore the acres of lush green parkland along the banks of the river Skell and enjoy the elegant water garden of mirror-like ponds, statues and follies at Studley Royal. Look out for an archaeological dig taking place between the abbey and the water garden to find the remains of Rustic Cottage – watch the team at work from the viewing platform and discover more about the lost buildings and follies of the estate.

Price: Free opening on 10 September

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Overbeck’s, Devon

Heritage Open Day, 10 September, 11am – 5pm

Enjoy free entry to the seaside home of inventor and scientist Otto Overbeck on Heritage Open Days weekend. Admire the spectacular tropical garden overlooking the Salcombe Estuary. With palm trees, banana plants, citrus and olive trees, you could easily forget that you’re in Devon. The house is full of surprises too. With cabinets of butterflies and bugs and with collections of dolls, toys and model boats it’s a treasure trove just waiting to be discovered.

Price: Free opening on 10 September

Petworth House and Park, West Sussex

Heritage Open Day, 10 September, 11am - 4pm

Complete with serpentine ponds and rolling pastures, Petworth’s classical ‘Capability’ Brown landscape is worth a visit on Heritage Open Days weekend. Marvel at some of the oldest and largest trees in the country on the ancient tree walk and keep an eye out for the magnificent herd of roaming fallow deer as you stroll. The 17th-century house is a treasure-trove of art, and inspired the great landscape painter J. M. W Turner during his lengthy stays at Petworth. Wander through the opulent state rooms and North Gallery to admire world-famous paintings by Van Dyck, Reynolds, Blake and Turner.

Price: Free opening on 10 September

Rowallane Garden, County Down

Heritage Open Day, 10 September, 10am – 6pm

Just a short drive from Belfast, Rowallane is a beautiful setting for a family day out. The 52-acre gardens are home to native and exotic plants spread amongst formal and informal garden spaces. Take a stroll and see if you can spot the drifts of rare rhododendrons. After why not head to the garden café for a cup of tea and a scone, where every penny you spend goes towards conserving places like Rowallane for years to come.

Price: Free opening on 10 September

Saddlescombe Farm, West Sussex

Heritage Open Day, 11 September, 10.30am - 3.30pm

Discover this unique example of an ancient downland farm which recounts what life was really like throughout the last 1,000 years. Intriguingly, it was even once home to the Knights Templar. Take a walk to Newtimber Hill, one of the finest examples of chalk grassland in the country, which borders the farm and offers far-reaching views towards the sea and the South Downs. In early autumn, the hill is covered in a vibrant purple blanket of Devil's bit scabious and buzzing with wildlife.

Price: Free opening on 11 September

For more days out, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine

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