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Heritage Open Days: 10 great places to visit across the Midlands

The Midlands reveals its historic secrets as part of the Heritage Open Days 2014 weekend between Thursday 11-Sunday, September 14

Moseley Hall ice house

From medieval Guildhalls to Second World War schoolrooms, the Midlands reveals its historic secrets as part of the Heritage Open Days 2014 weekend between Thursday 11-Sunday, September 14. This year, Heritage Open Days is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Almost 600 free events are taking place around the Midlands. Visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk/news for more information.

 

1. Second World War Schooldays at Old Clifton School, Birmingham

New for 2014, an opportunity to visit a Second World War schoolroom, the day before evacuation.

The children will be preparing; practising their handwriting on a postcard to be sent home and learning what they need to bring the next day. Classes will be held on Saturday and Sunday. There will also be an exhibition relating to the Second World War. Rationing is in force so only appropriate refreshments will be served.

Sat/Sun 11am-4pm

 

2. Be A Weobley Detective, Weobley, Herefordshire

Children of all ages – accompanied or unaccompanied – are invited to become detectives and investigate the hidden secrets of the village. Discover which King visited Weobley and his relationship with another famous Weobleyite. The trail closely follows the village’s Heritage Trail. Detective Trail sheets available from the Old School Shop and the Weobley website (www.weobley.org) from  September 11-14. Awards given to the best detectives.

Thurs-Sun 8am-8pm

 

3. Moseley Park and Ice House, Moseley, Birmingham

Explore one of Moseley’s hidden gems – the tranquil oasis normally available only to key-holding subscribers or those who have collected a day-pass. Part of the Moseley Hall estate for which Humphry Repton designed one of his Red Books, it also contains a late 18th century ice house. Bring a picnic, food for the water birds on the pool and enjoy the echo in the ice house.

JRR Tolkien played here and the ice house could well have been the inspiration for hobbit houses.

Sun 2am-5pm

 

4. St Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry

One of the finest examples of a medieval guildhall in the country, St Mary’s has connections to Mary Queen of Scots, William Shakespeare and George Eliot. First built in the 1340s for the merchant guild of St Mary, the main attraction is the Great Hall with its medieval stained glass, a ceiling of carved angels and one of the rarest and most important tapestries in the Country.

There will be medieval music, talks on the music and instruments of the period and guides will share fascinating stories from the Guildhall’s rich history (and its collection of ghosts).

Thurs, Sat-Sun 10am-4pm

 

5. Swarkestone Pavilion, Ticknall, Derbyshire

This Landmark-trust owned pavilion was a majestic grandstand. It is a mature expression in miniature of all that was best in Tudor and Jacobean architecture. The bathroom is contained in the top of one of the turrets and to reach it you must cross the open roof. These free open days will be an opportunity to see inside this important local Landmark and learn more about its history and restoration.

Sat-Sun 10am-4pm

Bee hives at Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston
 

6. The Birmingham Honey Show at Martineau Gardens, 27 Priory Road, Edgbaston

Visit a beautiful community garden with 2.5 acres of organically-managed landscape. Find out what a community garden is and Martineau Gardens’ role in providing a home for wildlife so close to Birmingham city centre.

The Honey Show is all about the craft of beekeeping: meet local beekeepers, a queen bee, learn about different type of bees, view observation hives, experience live bee demonstrations, make candles from beeswax, and buy locally produced honey.  Stroll around the woodland, orchard, formal gardens and wildflower meadow.

Sat-Sun 10am-4pm

 

7. Packwood House, Solihull

Surrounded by beautiful gardens and countryside, Packwood was described by a guest in the 1930s as ‘a house to dream of, a garden to dream in’. Lovingly restored at the beginning of the 20th century by Graham Baron Ash, the house contains a wonderful collection of 16th century furniture and textiles.

The gardens include herbaceous borders, sculpted Yews and an 18th century gentleman’s kitchen garden with herbs, flowers and vegetables. This year explore Packwood’s tapestry collection and new ‘playful art’ in the park.

Sat 11am-5pm

 

8. A New Way of Living, Coventry

In 1959, Ideal Home Magazine and RIBA launched the Small House Competition, resulting in four daring open-plan bungalows being built in the village of Allesley. Visitors can attend an event in one of the original show-houses, designed by Geoffrey Salmon of Austin-Smith Lord practice.

The four houses have been the subject of a heritage project discovering the reaction of local people to the bold experiments of the architect. The doors of the Experimental House will open to the public for the first time in over 50 years, with a special performance by playwright Vanessa Oakes.

Sat: Tours at 2.30pm, 4.30pm, 7.30pm, Sun: Tours 11.30am, 2.30pm, 4.30pm

 

9. The Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson, Solihull

A fantastic family day out at Temple House, where an autumn fayre will take place for Heritage Open Days on the lawns. Entertainment includes Knights Templars re-enactors, Morris Dancers and the Birmingham Concert Band, while younger visitors will love the bouncy castle, swing boats and face painting. Tours of the Old Hall will be available throughout the weekend.

Sat 12pm-5pm, tours 1pm-4pm, Sun 1pm-4pm, Tours 2pm-4pm

 

10. Oswestry Castle Bailey, Shropshire

New for 2014, join a team of archaeologists as they conduct an archaeological dig especially timed for Heritage Open Days. Over just four days they hope to locate one of the defensive walls of the early stone castle’s Inner Bailey, which would provide evidence of the original plan.

Fri-Sun 11am-4pm

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