England’s largest festival of history and culture returns to Cumbria this weekend, with dozens of free events taking place across the county as part of the Heritage Open Days campaign.
Established in 1994, this year’s Open Day programme includes various guided tours of castles, churches, Turkish baths, a grand town hall and an immersive self-guided sound walk.
Events will taking place from Carlisle and Barrow as well as smaller communities such as Beetham, Backbarrow, Kirkby Stephen, Sedbergh and Waberthwaite.
Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “Heritage Open Days shine a spotlight on the wonderfully varied history and culture of Cumbria.
“Encouraging visitors to explore beyond the well-trodden paths is a key part of our tourism strategy and this festival provides many opportunities to do that.
“Across the county there are many arts exhibitions opening in September offering the chance to see contemporary work that draws on the area’s rich artistic heritage, vibrant communities and dramatic landscapes.”
From railway restoration projects to vintage recipes and a medieval festival at a corn mill there are opportunities a plenty to discover old industrial buildings that have been brought back to life with new purpose.
Meanwhile in Barrow visitors can find out about the town’s changing high street via the immersive sound walk created by artist Dan Fox, which can be downloaded via Historic England’s website.
Jeanette Edgar, of Cumbria’s Living Heritage, said: “The families, charities and volunteer bodies – all just temporary custodians, of Cumbria’s great houses, castles, gardens and cultural attractions – are always delighted to share the places and stories of the people who have shaped our cultural heritage.”
“Their resilience, creativity and openness continue to make them relevant to today’s visitors and make heritage attractions some of the most exciting and beautiful places in our county to visit. I hope when we say – heritage – people don’t always just think about the past – but join us in the present – to make the future.”
For a full list of events, visit https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/printable-area-lists/county/Cumbria