Heritage Open Days

31 August 2018

Heritage Open Days is England's biggest festival of history and culture. Each year in September, thousands of sites across the country invite you to explore local treasures of every age, style and function and many special events are held. It's your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences!

*These are just a few experiences that were held during September 2018. Please look out for new exciting events taking place for next year's Heritage Open Days coming soon.*


Here are just a few railway-related highlights that are being held across the country to celebrate this year's Heritage Open Days. What hidden gems will you discover?

*All events are free to attend, unless otherwise stated. Details correct at date of publishing. Please check with organiser for any changes before visiting.



Friends of March Station Open Morning

Saturday 8 September

8.00am until 12.00pm

March Station, Station Road, March, Cambridgeshire PE15 8SJ

Head over to the Community Room on Platform 2 and browse the many stalls run by local charities and non-for-profit organisations.

Discover more about the Friends of March Station as they will be on hand to answer your questions. Take a look at the model railway, join in the raffle prize draw and enjoy light refreshments.

Click here to contact the Friends of March Station...


Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Box Office

Thursday 6 - Sunday 9 & Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 September

Lowestoft Railway Station, Denmark Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR32 2EG

Looking to explore Lowestoft during this year's Heritage Open Days? Pop into Lowestoft Railway Station at the heart of the action and visit the official box office for Heritage Open Days 2018.

Here you'll be able to see the full list of what's going on and book on special heritage events and tours.

Look out for music and entertainment on the station throughout both weekends too.

With over 70 events being held in the town, you'll be spoilt for choice!

Click here to see what's going on...



Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre Tours

Thursday 6 - Sunday 9 & Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 September

Regular tours take place between 10.00am until 4.00pm

Ridgemonth Railway Station, Station Road, Ridgmont, Bedfordshire MK43 0XP

Visit the award-winning Victorian (1846) station house and booking office restored in the Gothic Cottage Orné style. The building is now home to a delicious tea room, gift shop and a growing collection of artefacts in the on- site Heritage Centre.

A sunny day at Ridgemont Station Heritage Centre
Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre, Gift Shop & Tea Rooms

Listen to the story of the Marston Vale railway line engineered by Robert Stephenson and opened in 1846.

It was the first railway line to reach Bedford and for much of its life serviced the vast clay workings and brickworks at Brogborough and Stewartby; later transporting much of London's rubbish to landfill in the former clay workings. Now part of the East - West rail project to link Oxford back to Cambridge.

Explore the original Victorian Booking Office with displays on the history of the station and the families that lived there, plus don't miss the temporary exhibition 'The Journey from Bunyan to the Brickworks'.

Don't forget to visit the tea rooms before you leave, 10% discount on food and drink for all rail passengers, simply show your train ticket.

Click here for more information...


North West

Knutsford Promenades presents 'From Station to Station' performed on a train!

Thursday 13 September

11.02am train from Chester Railway Station

Chester Station, City Road, Chester, Cheshire CH1 3NS

Travel through time as you journey along the picturesque Mid Cheshire Line and enjoy a performance with a difference!

Artist drawing of Elizabeth Gaskell
Drawing of Elizabeth Gaskell

Start your journey at Chester where you board the 11.02am Northern train bound for Manchester Piccadilly. The performance on the train brings together two influential women Elizabeth Gaskell and Alison Uttley who in their own times, challenged the traditional expectations of society, in their own ways. They were also both fervent believers in Women's Rights.

Whilst Mrs Gaskell inhabited the nineteenth century and Alison Uttley mostly the twentieth century, this performance sees them 'meeting' in the modern world through a literary time slip - a device used by Alison Uttley herself in her novel 'A Traveller in Time'.

Standard rail fares will apply. The train journey from Chester to Manchester takes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

Click here for more information...

Want to see this performance at Manchester Piccadilly Station? See the next listing below.


Knutsford Promenades presents 'From Station to Station' at Manchester Piccadilly!

Thursday 13 September

1.00pm until 2.00pm

Main Concourse, Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station, Piccadilly Station Approach, Manchester M60 7RA

Step back in time as you witness Elizabeth Gaskell and Alison Uttley meeting in the modern world.

The performance combines community theatre, outstanding props and music to bring Gaskell and Uttley, alongside the women who influenced them, to life inside Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station.

Drawing of Alison Uttley
Drawing of Alison Uttley

This specially-commissioned piece is brought to you by Knutsford Promenades working together with the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership.

Click here for more information...

Want to see this performance on the train? Take a look at the previous listing above.


Northwich Railway Station Heritage Tour

Thursday 13 September

10.00am until 12.00pm

Northwich Railway Station, Manchester Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5LY

The Mid Cheshire Line opened as far as Northwich on 1 January 1863 but the station building dates from 1897

Join a short, informal tour detailing the history of this distinctive yellow brick railway station. No booking required, just pop in.

Click here to find out more...


Ellesmere Port Railway Station Heritage Tour

Friday 14 September

10.00am until 12.00pm

Ellesmere Port Railway Station, Whitby Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire CH65 4AR

Join in with the guided tours around parts of the Ellesmere Port Railway Station and discover it's fascinating history.

Ellesmere Port Railway Station
Ellesmere Port Railway Station

The distinctive station building which first opened in 1863, is constructed in red sandstone with slate roofs and is worth a visit. The tour lasts approximately 20 minutes.

Click here to find out more...

Northwich Guided Rail Walk

Saturday 15 September


Northwich Railway Station, Manchester Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5LY

This interesting guided circular rail walk will take you through 2.5 miles of the picturesque Cheshire town of Northwich, passing many historic buildings and even a railway viaduct en route!

The walk will take approximately two hours.

Booking is required, please use the following details to book your place:

Call: 07736523863

Email: [email protected]

Click here to find out more...


Preston Railway Station Tour

Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September

11.00am, 1.00pm & 3.00pm

Preston Railway Station, Fishergate, Preston PR1 8AP

Discover Preston Railway Station like never before with this fascinating tour around the station that dates from 1880.

Click here to find out more...


South East

St Albans South Signal Box Open Day

Saturday 8 & Sunday 9 September

10.00am until 5.00pm

St Albans South Signal Box, Ridgmont Road, St Albans AL1 3AJ (Two minute walk from the Platform 4 exit of St Albans City Railway Station)

Don't miss your chance to visit the largest preserved Midland Railway signal box in the UK, built in 1892, disused from 1980 and restored in 2008. It is one of the few preserved boxes next to a busy mainline.

Besides the working signals in the garden, the garden railway and the demonstrations on the operating floor of the signal box, there will be a special display commemorating the 150th anniversary of the opening of the railway through St Albans in 1868.

Have a browse around the museum of signalling equipment and other railway items in the ground floor of the signal box.

There are many interactive exhibits for visitors to try out.

Each visitor will be given a souvenir traditional "Edmundson" card ticket.

Entry is free however donations are welcomed.

Please allow 1 to 2 hours for your visit. Light refreshments will be available.

Click here to find out more...

St Albans Signal Box
St Albans South Signal Box

Bursledon Brickworks Heritage Open Day

Sunday 9 September

10.00am until 4.00pm

Bursledon Railway Station, Station Road, Bursledon, Hampshire SO31 8AA

Leave the train at Bursledon Railway Station and browse the many stalls with friendly local volunteers on hand to answer your questions.

Look out for the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership team who will be happy to talk to you about exciting days out along the railway line and in the local area.

Regular heritage talks will be held throughout the day.
Catch the free vintage bus service from outside the railway station that will take you to Bursledon Brickworks and Burseldon Windmill.

Bursledon Brickworks on a sunny day
Bursledon Brickworks

The Brickworks are a major regional museum which houses a museum, old kilns and one of the last national working steam brick maker machines.

Don't miss a visit to Bursledon Windmill, Hampshire's only working windmill, to discover a fascinating glimpse into the county's milling history. Built in 1814, after a period of dereliction it was restored and reopened in the 1990s as a working windmill and heritage attraction.

Click here to find out more about Bursledon Brickworks Open Day...

Click here to find out more about Bursledon Windmill Open Day...

Bursledon Windmill on a sunny day
Bursledon Windmill

South West

Classic Transport Rally

Friday 7, Saturday 8 & Sunday 9 September

10.00am until 4.00pm (open until 3.00pm on Sunday)

Haycrafts Lane, Harmans Cross, Swanage BH19 3EB

Nearest railway station: Harmans Cross served by the Swanage Heritage Railway

Step back in time and browse over 300 displays of vintage vehicles, motorcycles, tractors, classic cars and commercial vehicles. Stationary engines, stalls and refreshments will ensure a fun packed day for all the family.

Make a day of it and enjoy a ride on the Swanage Heritage Railway. Book a one or two-day rover and receive free admission to the Transport Rally (£5 per adult, children are free).

Click here to find out more...


Yorkshire & North East

A sunny day at Haltwhistle Signal Box
Haltwhistle Signal Box

Haltwhistle Railway Station Heritage Open Day

Friday 7 and Saturday 8 September

10.00am until 4.00pm

Haltwhistle Railway Station, Station Road, Haltwhistle, Northumberland NE49 0AH

To celebrate this year's Heritage Open Days, Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership, working with Northern and Network Rail will be:

• Opening the Old Booking Hall, come and hear about the 'local lad' who revolutionised tickets

• Opening the original 1901 signal box, come and hear about mechanical signalling and admire the view

• Running Northern's very own model railway, Northern Vale, how many dangers can you spot?

• Running guided walks to explore the five bridges in the vicinity of the station

.... And a few surprises!

Yorkshire Coast Community Rail Heritage Day

Saturday 15 September

Scarborough Railway Station, Westborough, Scarborough YO11 1TN

Come along to Scarborough Railway Station this Heritage Open Day, meet the friendly members of the rail partnership. They will be happy to share what they get up to and what's happening along the Yorkshire Coast. There is lots to see and do whether your aged one or one hundred, so come along, pick up some freebies and have a chat.

Click here to get in touch with the Yorkshire Coast Community Rail Partnership...


Poppleton Community Railway Nursery

Saturday 8 September

10.00am until 4.00pm

Poppleton Railway Station, Station Road, Upper Poppleton, York, North Yorkshire YO26 6QA

Don't miss this opportunity to visit Britain's last surviving railway nursery.

This volunteer-run local charity helps people recover from health issues by growing plants, many of which are sold to raise funds to restore the buildings.

Visit the greenhouses, plant sales, see the nursery's very own narrow gauge railway and model railway and enjoy light refreshments (including homemade cake!).

Click here to find out more...


For a full list of what's on across the country as part of this year's Heritage Open Days, please visit the official website here: www.heritageopendays.org.uk

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