Family days out at Newcastle Castle Escape the Everyday Visit Britain

'Heritage Open Days' is back for 2022, with dozens of buildings across Newcastle and Gateshead not normally accessible to the public, set to open their doors. In addition to these exclusive, not to be missed cultural experiences, some of the city's most popular landmarks and attractions are offering the chance to experience their enriching historic and cultural offerings for free. 

What is 'Heritage Open Days'?

'Heritage Open Days' is England's largest festival of history and culture, involving thousands of local volunteers and organisations. Every year in September it brings people together to celebrate their heritage, community and history. Stories are told, traditions explored, and histories brought to life.

When do they take place?

This year, they are taking place from 9-18th September 2022 with a host of exciting events and experiences happening every day. We recommend checking the date and times of your chosen event with the attraction or museum before setting off.

Which attractions are taking part in NewcastleGateshead?

Some of NewcastleGateshead's biggest and best attractions are taking part during Heritage Open Days, including Victoria TunnelBessie Surtees House, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Newcastle Cathedral to name a few, along with the likes of the historic Newcastle Guild Hall opening its doors for the festival of history and culture. You can discover the full list of events and attractions taking part closest to you here.

With so many interesting events taking place across Heritage Open Days, we've created a list of 10 not to be missed events in NewcastleGateshead to get you inspired.

1. Kids’ Bridge Building Challenge: The Common Room


Find your inner engineer at The Common Room, the home to The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers.  Build your own bridge like Robert Stephenson and Dorothy Buchanan with LEGO. Create the best structure and try to a bridge that is worthy of the river Tyne itself.

When is it taking place?

The Kids Bridge Building Challenge is on the Saturday 10 September and Saturday 17th September between 10am-4pm.

2. Astounding Inventions at the Tyne Theatre & Opera House


Get a behind the scenes look at the Tyne Theatre & Opera House.  A cultural tour of the 
19th century theatre, the passionate tour guides will take you around the Grade I listed theatre, that was built in 1867 and show you around the amazing stage and machinery to see where all the theatre magic happens including the magical trap door effect. 

When is it taking place?

The tours will be on, Tuesday 13 September, Wednesday 14 September and Thursday 15 September 10am-1pm. Pre-booking closes on the 12th September.

3. Gibside Garden Walk


Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in the glorious Georgian gardens of Gibside. Walk around the picturesque landscapes of Gibside Hall and Palladian Chapel. Towering above, the Column to Liberty offers a glimpse into the stormy history of Mary Eleanor Bowes.

Fall in love with nature and spot some Roe Deer, Red Kites and amphibian filled ponds and fruitful Walled Gardens. 

On the Explorer Trail, families can work together in the den building area, zoom across the zip line at Strawberry Castle play are and have a round of woodland disc golf in the Westwood.

When is it taking place?

Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September from 10am-4pm. 

4. BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art: Quayside Tour

Stroll along the Quayside with the BALTIC.  The BALTIC team will take you across the Millennium Bridge, where you will learn about NewcastleGateshead's history. Taking in a moment to relax, see the beautiful views of the Quayside and find out all about the seven bridges that cross the river. As your tour comes to a close, you will finish for a brew of your choice at BALTIC front room. 

When is it taking place?

Book onto the Quayside Tour on Thursday 15 September: 10am -10:45pm.

5. Guildhall Tour

A hidden gem in the city, the Newcastle Guildhall is not usually open to the public. On the Heritage Open Day, you can see inside over 250 years of history in Newcastle. See the original courtroom where many a felon met his fate or the exquisite Mayor’s Parlour where all of the business of the town was discussed.

When is it taking place?

Book the Guildhall on Monday 12 September at 2pm.

6. Visit Tanfield Railway

Explore the hidden stories of one of the world's first railway landscapes at Tanfield Railway.  Learn all about the amazing inventions that helped shape the North East industry.  The tour guides will lead walking tours through the ancient Causey woodland to the 1725 Causey Arch while celebrating the oldest railway in the world. The Marley Hill yard area and its workshops will be open for guided tours to see the restoration work. 

On the Sundays, a steam train will be seen operating from East Tanfield Station, through the Causey woods to Andrews House Station and onto Sunniside. The three mile line offers visitors a variety of walks and atmospheric photographic opportunities. Put your feet up in the tea rooms at East Tanfield and Andrews House.

When is it taking place?

You can visit Tanfield Railway Saturday 10th September- Sunday 18th September from 10am-2pm.

7. Denton Dene and Beyond: Romans, coalmining and ancient woodland

Explore the rich history of Denton Dene. The Heritage Walk will be led by historian, Judith Green,  where you will explore the area's Roman and coalmining heritage as well as visiting one of Newcastle's few remaining denes with its ancient woodland.

When is it taking place?

Explore Denton Dene on Saturday 17 September: 10:30am-12:30pm.

8. A Potted History of the West End - Exhibition Launch

Visit the Newcastle City Library for the launch of the Potted People Exhibition. Celebrating the people of the West End, The Potted History Project created models of people and places from the area's history. This is the first time the full exhibition will be on display on Level 6 of the City Library.

When is it taking place?

Join the launch on Friday 9th 11am.

9. Climb the Tower of Newcastle Cathedral


Fancy a bird's eye view of the Toon? Climb the Tower of Newcastle Cathedral and see the city in a different angle as it offers its incredible Dare you Climb the Tower tour for free, as well as new tours that explore the history of the building.

The Cathedral have also launched a General Tours exploring the story of the Cathedral, its place in the history of Newcastle and what a working cathedral gets up to! 

Also offering the new Northern Souls: Saints that made the North tour fresh from its debut in July, explore the story of early Christianity in the British Isles through our stained glass windows.

When is it taking place?

Book Newcastle Cathedral Friday 9th September- Sunday 11th September 12:30pm-2pm.

10. From Flax to Freelance: The History of 36 Lime Street

Join Ouseburn expert Mike Greatbatch and Lime Street artist Sue Woolhouse on a tour of the interior and exterior of 36 Lime Street. Join them on a a walk around Ouseburn where will Mike will explain why the building was built there, the brief the architect John Dobson was given, along side drawings and photographs, as well as comments about the workings of it as a flax mill, gleaned from historical documents.

When is it taking place?

Visit Lime Studios on Wednesday 14th September 2pm.

Don't miss your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences in NewcastleGateshead – and don't forget, it’s all FREE. You can discover the full list of Heritage Open Days events taking place in NewcastleGateshead here.

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