It’s nearly September, which means it is almost time for Heritage Open Days 2019!

Heritage Open DaysHeritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture as heritage sites across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history! It is a fabulous opportunity to discover more about buildings you may not know or those that you love and adore.

This year Heritage Open Days runs from the 13th September – 22nd September.

Heritage Open Days in Newark, Southwell & Thoresby is going to be amazing! We have so much to offer, with so many events across both Newark and Southwell for you to enjoy and discover.



Newark is a quintessential market town with a beautiful cobbled market, a stunning Georgian Town Hall, an awe-inspiring Riverside Castle and even the intriguing National Civil War Centre. This Heritage Open Days you can get up close and personal with the hundreds of years of history that is weaved into the very fabric of this town.

Newark Heritage Barge – Riverside Park

Friday 13th September – Sunday 15th September – 11.00 am – 4.00 pm

Friday 20th September – Sunday 22nd September – 11.00 am – 4.00pm

Newark Heritage Barge “Leicester Trader” is the last “Trent” size cargo barge built to fit the old locks of the Trent Navigation Company. On board is a museum and learning resource, explaining life and work on the River Trent barges.

Newark Town HallFriends of Newark Town Hall Museum – Newark Market Place

Friday 13th September & Saturday 14th September – 10.30am – 3.30pm

Guides in Georgian costume will conduct tours of Newark Town Hall including the magnificent Ballroom built in 1776 by the architect John Carr of York. This year the tours will include the Victorian Police cells.

Sconce and Devon Park Guided Tour – Sconce and Devon Park

Friday 13th September – 2pm – 3pm

Saturday 14th September – 2pm – 3pm

The park opened in 1913 and the tour will look at both the history within the park and the wildlife.  Tours will take approximately 1 hour.

The history includes the following – the Queens Sconce from the English Civil War, Scales linen factory manufacturing agricultural smocks in the Victorian age, willow weaving and reference to a small gauge railway that crossed the park transporting gypsum to the river.

Pre-booking is preferred. Please contact George Hemstock or Christine Hinton at 07971 486301 or 07725 149216

St Mary MagdaleneSt Mary Magdalene Church – Newark Town Centre

Friday 13th September – Sunday 22nd September – 9am – 4pm.

Explore this beautiful building throughout Heritage Open Days. Join the Church on Saturday 14th September for history, children’s activities and music. There will also be the opportunity to see the most gorgeous view of Newark with one of the Tower, Treasure and Library tours from 1pm, 1.45pm and 2.30pm.

Newark Cemetery Chapel Interpretation Centre – The Avenue

Friday 13th September – 11am – 1pm

Thursday 19th September & Friday 20th September – 11am – 1pm

The chapel in Newark Cemetery will be open with members of the Friends of Newark Cemetery on hand to help locate graves.

There will also be a display in the Chapel entitled “Their Legacies live on!”

Newark CastleSecrets of the Castle – Newark Castle

Saturday 14th September – 10am – 4pm

Shhh! It’s a secret! A fun, family trail uncovering the hidden history of Newark Castle

A family friendly trail around the Castle grounds and a chance to see behind some of the locked doors.

Civil War tour of Newark, including the Queen’s Sconce – Newark Castle Bandstand

Sunday 15th September – 11.00am

Sunday 22nd September – 2.00pm

Kevin Winter, Assistant Curator at the National Civil War Centre – Newark Museum will lead a Civil War tour of Newark. Explore some of the places that were at the heart of key events, ending at the Queen’s Sconce.

Newark Masonic Hall Museum Opening – London Road

Thursday 19th September – 10.00am – 2.00pm

Saturday 21st September – 10.00am – 2.00pm

Visitors will be able to see artefacts related to the history of the Masons in Newark, including regalia and objects related to past members of the Lodge.

There will be talks on the history of Masonry in Newark, mentioning notable local people who were Freemasons. These include; artist William Nicholson, whose regalia is in the museum, Colonel Sam Derry, organiser of the Rome Escape Line in WWII, and other local members, many of whom became Mayors of Newark. There will also be opportunities to see the temple and for a question and answer session with the curator and volunteers.

Heritage Building Skills Demonstration and Participation – Market Place

Saturday 21st September – 10am – 4pm.

When you look at the historic buildings around Newark you may wonder how they are kept looking like they did in the past. This is your chance to find out, as heritage building skills are demonstrated in the Market Place.

This event is being especially put on by Nottinghamshire Buildings Preservation Trust and Newark Civic Trust. The following experts will demonstrate the skills required to maintain and repair historic buildings:

  • Bonsers Restoration: Lime work (pointing and plastering), masonry repairs and general building
  • Richard Jordan: Heritage roofing
  • Keirsons of Retford: Traditional window repairs and refurbishment
  • Ed Crane: Timber frame conservation, repair and new-build

There will be demonstrations of the skills and techniques required and the chance to get hands on with some of the skills. There will be stalls around the demonstration area related to the experts and the groups involved.

Ancient Heritage SkillsAncient Heritage Skills – Market Place

Saturday 21st September – 10am – 4pm

See the flints found at the Farndon Field archaeological site alongside replica flint and bone tools. These replicas have been made by volunteers in workshops led by ancient craft specialists – these replicas have been used to make ‘Ice Age’ shell jewellery based on burials in Europe! On the 21st September drop by their stand in the Market Place and see these replicas for yourself and learn more about this fascinating time period.

Saxons Underground – National Civil War Centre

Saturday 21st September – 10am – 4pm.

Come and see some of Newark’s nationally significant collection of Anglo Saxon burial and cremation artefacts. These are coming out of storage for one day only in this unique event.

Meet an expert to find out more about the Anglo Saxon cremation cemetery on Millgate and the burials unearthed in Newark Castle. You will see a selection of artefacts including adults’ and children’s cremation urns, treasures such as a brooch and comb, and some human remains which can tell us a lot about the lives of the people who created Newark.

Palace TheatreBehind the Scenes at the Palace Theatre – Palace Theatre

Sunday 22nd September – 10am – 4pm.

Lift the curtain on the backstage secrets of the Palace Theatre Newark. Take a trip backstage, find out about the history of the building and the woman who built it, and learn some of the tricks of the trade from the theatre’s team of technical experts.

Guided Walk/Talk around Newark’s timber framed heritage – Newark Library

Sunday 22nd September – 11am

As well as spotting the less obvious & well-disguised timber framed buildings, this walk guided by local architect Bernard Martin around the centre of Newark, will visit some of the timber framed buildings

The walk usually takes at least two hours & sometimes concludes in one of the hostelries mentioned above where we can be refreshed.
Numbers are limited to twenty – so book early. Although the town centre is fairly level, the interiors do involve staircases.

Booking is required – please contact Bernard Martin at




Often referred to as the ‘Jewel in Nottinghamshire’s Crown’ the picturesque town of Southwell is a beautiful place to discover and explore – from the stunning Southwell Minster to the first Workhouse built in the U.K.

BrackenhurstBrackenhurst Heritage Open Day

Sunday 15th September – 11am – 4pm

Nottingham Trent University will be offering guided tours of Brackenhurst Main Hall.

A large Grade II listed country house built in 1828 and extensively remodelled in c1890 by Sir William Hicking, a prominent Nottingham manufacturer. The Hall was also the birthplace in 1861 of Field Marshal Viscount Allenby, British Commander in Palestine 1917-18.

There will be conducted tours of parts of the Hall where a small photographic exhibition will be on display together with some historical agricultural implements. A member of staff will also be available in the gardens to provide further information about the landscaping.

NTU has recently acquired the original Bramley apple tree and the cottages associated with the garden. There will be an opportunity to view the tree on the day, please ask a member of staff for more details.

Southwell MinsterSouthwell Minster

Thursday 19th September – 10am – 4pm

Saturday 21st September – 10am – 4pm

Take a tour of Southwell Minster and The Archbishop’s Palace and discover 1000 years of history.

Learn the fascinating history from Norman beginnings to the modern day on a tour of one of Britain’s best-loved Cathedrals. Also, view The Archbishop’s Palace next door, once home to Cardinal Wolsey and visited by numerous kings including Richard The Lionheart and King Charles I who surrendered here during The Civil War. These are available on Thursday 19th and Saturday 21st September 10am – 4pm. Tours last approximately 1 hour.

Heritage Hop

Saturday 21st September 2019

Join the Heritage Hop on Saturday 21st September 2019 and explore some exciting buildings and gardens in Southwell – many of which are opening to the general public for one day only! Entry is free to all these special attractions and you can follow the trail around the town.

Venues included:

The Residence and Garden

House: 11am – 2pm

Garden: 11am – 4pm

Take a look inside the Dean’s Residence – an imposing Georgian building with a good collection of paintings. Open to the public on this day only with kind permission of the Dean. Listen to live music from the band ‘Sixteen Eighty Five’ who will be playing medieval and baroque music.

Look around the garden and visit the display by Southwell Community Archaeology Group of the Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Vicars Court and Orchard Land Project’.

Southwell Minster and The Archbishop’s Palace

10am – 4pm

Free tours exploring the fascinating history behind Nottinghamshire’s most beloved building. The Minster has seen 1000 years of history – from Saxon beginnings, through Norman times to the present day. Highlights include the world famous stone carvings – the ‘Leaves of Southwell’ in the Chapterhouse. Visit The Archbishop’s Palace where King Richard I, Cardinal Wolsey, King James VI of Scotland and King Charles I all visited. Listen to evensong with the Cathedral Choir at 5.30pm

Saracens HeadThe Saracens Head Hotel

11am – 4pm

A chance to visit the King Charles Suite above the front arch of this beautiful coaching inn dating from the 1460s. This room is the bridal suite and boasts not only a sumptuous four poster bed but the most amazing, vivid Elizabethan wall paintings. Downstairs join in activities with the Discovering Southwell team and take a look at the archaeological and heritage displays by Southwell Community Archaeology Group in the Minster Suite. Listen to live music from the band ‘Sixteen Eighty Five’ who will be playing medieval and baroque music.

Medieval House in Westhorpe

11am – 2pm

Visit a house built in the 14th Century. Home Farm Cottage is the earliest known residence in Southwell with timbers felled between 1332 & 1357. Open to the public on this day only with kind permission of the homeowner. Home Farm Cottage, Westhorpe, Southwell, NG25 0NG.

Southwell Town Centre

Make sure you stop off to browse the independent shops and enjoy refreshments at one of our many eateries, pubs and hotels.

Southwell Library

9am – 3pm

Step back in time with a display of historic photographs, capturing life in Southwell through the decades. Heritage bookstall with new and withdrawn from stock local history books.

The War Memorial

Visit the recently restored War Memorial which commemorates the lives of local servicemen who served in the First and Second World Wars.

The Old Courthouse

A chance to take a look inside a working, historic building. The Old Courthouse, now owned by Southwell Town Council was built in 1887. Find out about the real life court cases in The Courtroom and then take a tour to the cells below with many original features! Find out about local architect Richard Ingleman (1777-1838) who was renowned for stone masonry and architectural work in public buildings. This includes The House of Correction on the Burgage in Southwell which became a model prison for the country. See examples of his work, replicas and related publications. Plus displays from Burgage Manor which was a hospital during the First World War.

The WorkhouseThe Workhouse

12pm – 5pm (last entry 4pm)

Free entry to this austere building, the most complete workhouse in existence, built in 1824 as a place of last resort for the destitute, now owned by The National Trust. The Workhouse was designed to house around 160 inmates and the stories of those who lived and worked here in the 1840s help bring the building to life. Experience poetry promoting wellness and recovery as The Workhouse holds a poetry festival throughout September.



Thoresby Park

Wednesday 18th September – 10am – 12pm & 3pm – 5pm.

The family descendants that actively run and manage Thoresby Park invite you to their home. This Thoresby tour gives some insight into the history of the family, including antiques that formerly resided in Thoresby Hall and estate life today.

Thoresby Park will open its doors to the new house on the Thoresby Estate, occupied by the Matheson family who began construction on the home in 1994 and is built as a 1540-style villa of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio. It contains artwork and furniture from the original Thoresby Hall.

Previous Blog Posts 2019

The Legend Returns this Summer – Robin Hood Festival 2019, Jul 29, 2019

The Circus is coming to town!, Jul 22, 2019

School’s Out for Summer, Jul 15, 2019

Summer in the Buttermarket, Jul 8, 2019


A Weekend of Celebration, Jun 24, 2019

Newark Book Festival: A Literary Haven, Jun 12, 2019

Who is Ready for some Outdoor Theatre? Jun 9, 2019

A Weekend of the Very Best of Music – Newark Festival, Jun 3, 2019


Joyful June – A Weekend of Festivals, May 28, 2019

Summer Festivals 2019, May 20, 2019

Fun for Everyone in Newark & Sherwood this May Half Term, May 13, 2019

Shopping in Southwell this Spring, May 7, 2019


Early Bank Holiday Fun, Apr 29, 2019

The Adventures of Robin Woof, Apr 8, 2019

Easter Fun in Newark & Sherwood, Apr 1, 2019


Time to Escape? Mar 18, 2019

The History and Culture of Newark & Sherwood, Mar 4, 2019


Half Term Fun in Newark & Sherwood, Feb 11, 2019