National History

Established in 1994, Heritage Open Days (HODs) is England's contribution to the European Heritage Days and has since grown into the country's largest heritage festival.

break out the bubbly!

2019 marks 25 years of Heritage Open Days in England. To find out more about the celebrations click on the button to visit the national website.


European roots
In 1991 the Council of Europe and the European Commission set up European Heritage Days to raise appreciation for Europe’s rich and diverse cultural assets and their need for care and protection. The central principle was as simple as it was compelling: to throw open the doors to historic monuments and buildings, in particular those normally closed to the public. Today, they are held annually in September in 50 signatory states to the European Cultural Convention. Each country running it in their own way, the festival not only highlights the dazzling diversity of Europe’s heritage, but also its intercultural links. 

Today here in Winchester
Expanding and diversifying from less than a dozen events in 2015 to over 140 in 2019, Winchester Heritage Open Days is now flourishing. ‘The story of Winchester runs like a golden thread through the history of England’ making our beloved city a go-to destination for any historian.

This year our diverse range of events from expert talks to live theatre to chocolate making and Regency dancing, reflects the rich and fascinating cultural heritage that can be found in and around Winchester. Working with local organisations and individuals, supported by the national Heritage Open Days team Winchester Heritage Open Days is Winchester’s favourite and largest heritage festival. Every year there new stories to tell and new doors to open. It’s a chance for the local community and visitors from further afield to come together to learn, explore and have fun!