14 ways to celebrate return of Heritage Open Days

Hundreds of volunteers across the county are hard at work preparing for the return of Lincolnshire' s biggest festival of history and local culture.
Sir Joseph Banks Centre in Horncastle.Sir Joseph Banks Centre in Horncastle.
Sir Joseph Banks Centre in Horncastle.

Lincolnshire Heritage Open Days is a massive 10-day festival with over 95 exciting events - and all are completely free of charge.

The festival will run from Friday, September 10 to Sunday, September 19, with a theme of ‘Voices of Lincolnshire: Stories Unheard’.

The aim is to celebrate the many voices of Lincolnshire with a particular focus on the amazing stories from history that many people have not heard.

Magdalen College School in WainfleetMagdalen College School in Wainfleet
Magdalen College School in Wainfleet

Hannah Thompson, Business Manager of the charity Heritage Lincolnshire, said:

“2021 so far has been filled with so much uncertainty but we are so proud that we have been able to continue with some great events that really showcase the

amazing heritage places and organisations we have within our county.

"Now more than ever we need to remind people about Lincolnshire and support our county, whether that be in person or online.”

The Beonna at Benington is welcoming people to explore the stunningly beautiful Grade I listed medieval for the Heritage Open Days on Saturday, September 18.The Beonna at Benington is welcoming people to explore the stunningly beautiful Grade I listed medieval for the Heritage Open Days on Saturday, September 18.
The Beonna at Benington is welcoming people to explore the stunningly beautiful Grade I listed medieval for the Heritage Open Days on Saturday, September 18.

Charlotte Davey, who co-ordinates the festival and is also from Heritage Lincolnshire, said: "This is such a wonderful opportunity for members of the public to engage with their local heritage, experiencing and learning from the fantastic events on offer. It’s an affordable way to spend time with family and friends, and discover something new!

"Because all the events are free, I would encourage visitors to start planning their days out now, as those with limited places are already starting to book up.

East Lindsey is a hive of activity, with some really fantastic events taking place."

In and around Horncastle there are several events going on throughout the festival:

1 For lovers of early history, ‘Roman Wall Tours’ are taking place on September 11, starting from Horncastle Library. Jumping ahead in time, visitors can also discover the ‘Lives of Women in the Victorian Period’ at the Sir Joseph Banks Centre on the first weekend of the festival. Or discover the previously- unknown lives of workers from the Scrivelsby Estate in a special exhibition at St Benedict’s Church.

The history of Horncastle is evident in its buildings and the tales that are often told by those who bring the history of the town to life. Discover all of this and more at The Wong Building that now hosts the Wong Day Services; a former

courthouse and the coroner's court for suspicious deaths.

2 If you enjoy getting active whilst delving into history, Horncastle also offers walking trails. One is led by the Horncastle Walkers are Welcome group and

offers a guided three-mile heritage trail for keen walkers on September 12. If you prefer to go at your own pace, then there is also an online trail developed as a self-guided walk which can be done in person or virtually throughout the

festival. Printed copies will be available from the Sir Joseph Banks Centre, or you can access it online.

3 On September 12, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust are also offering free access to the gardens at Banovallum House, as well as a copy of their trail guide; a self-guided walk where you're sure to see some beautiful scenes and amazing


4 On the theme of active heritage, ‘Discover the Places and Spaces Below Louth’s Skyline’ with the Louth Civic Trust - a guided tour on foot through the historic town on the September 17 and 18. Remember that booking is essential though!

5 If you still have energy to burn, then the festival has one more walking tour for you. From towering trees to hidden Second World War bunkers and an array of wildlife, Ostlers Plantation is hosting a guided walk around the

site on September 16, where the beautiful variation of scenery means that you can walk for hours and still find new routes. Again, pre-booking is essential so don’t miss out.

6 If music is more to your taste, then check out the events at the Cottage Museum in Woodhall Spa and Langton Church. The Museum are opening for free to the public on Sunday, September 19, and hosting a local musical group from 2pm where visitors can relax on the lawn whilst they perform. Langton Church are offering a unique experience where visitors can enjoy an ‘Evening of Classical Chamber Music in this Unspoilt Candlelit 18th Century Village Church’ on the evening of September 11.

7 There are also some brilliant recommendations you can enjoy which truly encapsulate the theme this year of the untold stories of Lincolnshire. Victoria Atkins, MP for Louth and Horncastle, invites you to celebrate the centenary of the election of the first British born female MP, Margaret Wintringham, with an exhibition at Louth St James' Church, available every day of the festival barring Sundays.

8 Louth Museum have created a special exhibition for the festival exploring the diverse stories of ten former residents of the town, including an eccentric, an inmate of the workhouse, and an immigrant from Africa. The whole museum is open for you to enjoy on September 11.

9 For something a little different, don’t miss ‘Tales Old and New’ at Raithby Methodist Church, which is celebrating 250 years of people and events that shaped this unique Methodist Chapel built over the stables of Raithby Hall. A rare chance to see inside this unusual site on September 10 and 11.

10 Alternatively, engine-heads will enjoy the ‘Stories of Fenland Drainage’ at the Dogdyke Steam Drainage Station in Tattershall Bridge, where you can see the engines and equipment in operation on the September 18.

11 Magdalen College School in Wainfleet will be displaying 537 years of history three days a week from September.

12 Also in Wainfleet, Bateman's Brewery will be presenting 'Stories of Inns on The Edge' from September 15. The project celebrates the memories and relics of pubs on the Lincolnshire coast.

13 A craft fair will be held in St Helen’s Church, Stickford, on Saturday, September 18, from 11am until 4pm. There will be a wide variety of stalls including jewellery, advent calendars, bags, knitted items, ladies accessories and many more. There will also be a raffle and a tombola stall. Refreshments will be served all day, including cream teas, home made cakes, tea, coffee and soft drinks.

14 The Beonna at Benington is welcoming people to explore the stunningly beautiful Grade I listed medieval church on Saturday, September 18. The church combines modern comforts and facilities with historic architecture and is steeped in over 800 years of history dating back to circa 1200 AD. Its Trust was set up in 2007 and immediately set out on a 10-year fundraising campaign resulting in National Lottery Heritage Funding bringing the total project fundraising figure to £2.3m. With the money raised renovation works commenced in 2017 and completed in 2019. All this hard work and effort was recognised with Beonna being shortlisted for the Best Restoration of a Historic Building or Place (under £5m) Historic England Angels Award 2018, sponsored by Keymer. Doors open at 10am. Visitors will expect to enjoy stalls and heritage inspired craft activities for all the family. Homemade cake will be available with tea and coffee.

Tours of historic buildings that are rarely open to the public are already filling up fast, so head to the Heritage Lincolnshire website at www.heritagelincolnshire.org/heritage-open-days to plan your days out.

Free festival brochures are also available from local libraries and tourist information centres.