Leicester is a treasure trove of historical locations and events, ranging from remarkable landmarks such as Braunstone Hall and Bradgate park, and events such as the discovery of King Richard III’s remains. A dozen of these historic sites across Leicester are taking part in this year’s “Heritage Open Days”, giving people the chance to discover more about the city’s past.
The goal of this annual festival, which runs from 10-20 September this year, is to showcase Leicester’s remarkable history by providing free access to venues that may not usually open to the public.
Covid-19 restrictions has of course limited access to certain venues. Some of these have moved to an “online experience” only to comply with these restrictions. Some that are still going ahead as intended require advanced online bookings to ensure there are not too many visitors at one time. There are still “several venues” that will be open on a drop-in basis, which includes Winstanley House.
Winstanley House, formerly Known as Braunstone Hall until its recent restoration, has been converted into a luxury hotel and restaurant. They will be welcoming visitors from 11am to 4pm on Friday 11 September, and at the same times from Monday 14 to Friday 18 September.
The Bishop Street Methodist Church, which is one of the oldest buildings in Town Hall Square is also a part of the festival. The 1815 church, and its café, will be open from 10am to 3pm on Saturday 12 September.
Other venues taking part in Heritage Open Days include Leicester’s 18th century Belgrave Hall, and the Y Theatre – the city’s oldest surviving theatre – amongst many others.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “With so many local and national events having to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, I’m very pleased that our partners have been able to find ways to ensure that this show will go on.
“The festival may be smaller than in previous years, but people will still be able to have fun – and stay safe – while they discover things they didn’t know about their city and its history. Heritage Open Days gives us the chance to celebrate our city’s remarkable history, but the event wouldn’t be happening without the hard work of some dedicated volunteers.
“I’d like thank Leicester’s enthusiastic heritage volunteers, who are always happy to share their passion for local history with others – not only during this festival, but all year round.”
Information on all of the events on offer, and ways in which you can book your places can be downloaded here.
Printed brochures are also available from the Visit Leicester centre, which is now located inside the King Richard III Visitor Centre on St Martins.
More information about events taking place around the country as part of the national event is available at www.heritageopendays.org.uk
Visitors are being asked to book early to “avoid disappointment” as places are limited due to social distancing requirements.
The Heritage Open Days festival is promoted in the city by Leicester City Council in partnership with charities, volunteers and other local organisations.
By Sam Ellison