Discover Northumberland’s Heritage during this Weekend’s Heritage Open Days

Published: Friday 9th Sep 2016

Written by: The Grace Darling Holidays Team

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Northumberland is the buffer between England and Scotland and every part of it hides a piece of history and heritage. From the Romans 2000 years ago, Northumberland has witnessed plundering Viking attacks, Anglo-Saxon Kings fighting to their deaths protecting their kingdom and set the scene for murderous raids by the notorious Border Reivers.

The past is everywhere you look in Northumberland. The best way to discover it is to explore its ancient sites, battlefields, castles, museums and stately homes.

This weekend, 8th – 11th September, Northumberland’s attractions and venues will be open to the public with special events to celebrate the heritage of England’s North-East county. This is part of the national Heritage Open Days scheme. Most of the events are free.

The Heritage Open Days scheme is England’s biggest festival of history and culture, originally started in 1994. It takes place every year, over 4 days in September, and involves more than 40,000 volunteers.

In Alnwick, the Bailiffgate Museum will be open for free on Saturday with drop –in family activities and rag-rugging demonstrations. On Sunday, there will be a demonstration of wool-spinning from the Powburn Spinners and an opportunity to try rag-rugging for yourself. Both activities are free.

The Bailiffgate Museum is also working alongside the Alnwick Playhouse and its Creative Cocoon Project. This project is offering special family storytelling sessions in the Playhouse Bar at 10am and noon on Saturday for £2.50 – but spaces need to be booked.


The national Trust site of Cragside will also be open and the villages All Saints Church will be open on Saturday. Visitors will be able to access the church tower to view the church bells and hear an explanation on the art of change ringing.

Belford Hall will be open both Saturday and Sunday. The hall is a Grade I listed Georgian manor house designed by James Paine. The hall was extended in the Regency Period by John Dobson. Belford Hidden History Museum is putting on a special exhibition and the Erskine United Reformed Church and Ferguson Church are also open over the weekend.

Another site open all weekend for public viewing is an ecological self-build house at West Back Lane. The house is still under construction but still worth a visit to see its progress.

In Kirknewton, near Wooler, the village hall will be holding a special event about Bob Fraser and his remarkable achievements as a shepherd in north Northumberland. There will also be an exhibition about the Bondagers of the Borders. St. Gregory’s church in the village will also be open. Both of these venues will be open on Saturday.

Woodhorn Museum will have guided tours covering the Woodhorn Colliery disaster in 1916 where a gas explosion killed thirteen men.

Although the Heritage Open days provide a fantastic opportunity to visit Northumberland’s historical sites, the area is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year.

Now the school holidays are over, many of the county’s attractions are a lot quieter and with the weather still warm, it’s a great time to explore the region while avoiding busy crowds. Grace Darling Holidays have some late availability on their holiday cottages so why not book a few days away before the colder months set in and see what is awaiting your discovery.

The Grace Darling Holidays Team
The Grace Darling Holidays Team


Your team of holiday experts in Northumberland.


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