17 amazing places to discover on Heritage Open Days and Doors Open Days

Ever feel like there’s a hidden side to your city that you’ve yet to see?

The Heritage Open Days and Doors Open Days in England and Scotland give you the opportunity to explore exactly that. To peer behind the scenes of incredible historic institutions and abandoned sites across the country.

If you’re wondering what there is to find out near you, here are 17 amazing places to discover nearby.


National Theatre in London on the South Bank

National Theatre, London

Brutalist masterpiece or South Bank skyline eyesore? Whatever your take on the iconic National Theatre building, you can get up close and personal with its unique curves with a guided tour of Lasdun’s architecture. Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PX / more info


Barras Art and Design


Barras Art & Design, Glasgow

One of Glasgow’s homes of creative industry opens its doors to visitors this weekend, allowing you to explore the indoor courtyard, gaze up at the building’s signature glass arched roof and learn the history of the building – from market place, to ballroom, to cultural hub. 54 Calton Entry, Glasgow, G40 2SB / more info

Arlington Baths Club, Glasgow

A real chance to catch a glimpse of the old Glasgow. Arlington Baths Club is the oldest surviving Victorian bath house in the world, established in 1870. Although fairly modernised, there are still aspects of the Baths Club which remain unchanged – with the Turkish bath room a site to behold. 61 Arlington Street, Glasgow, G3 6DT / more info


Glasite Meeting House

CC / Flickr / Stuart Cale

Vine Trust Barge

Did you know that Leith is home to a decommissioned barge turned charity office complete with cinema? International children’s aid charity Vine Trust are letting you hop on board one of the most unique modern buildings in Edinburgh. Prince of Wales Dock, Leith Docks, Edinburgh, EH6 7DX / more info

Glasite Meeting House

Auld Reekie is teeming with secret doors and hidden gems, one of which is the Glasite Meeting House. Once home to a small religious sect, the Meeting House was originally built in 1835 with many of the features still intact. The Meeting House will be home to a number of Edinburgh Doors Open Day talks, as well a guided tours of this incredible building. 33 Barony Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6NX / more info


Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle

CC / Flickr / Conor Lawless

Grainger Market, Newcastle

The Toon’s own vintage marketplace is marking its 180th anniversary. Friday afternoon will see an evening of music and poetry in honour of the city stalwart at the Olivers Bistro-Cafe, with performances from the Tyneside poets and The Sawdust Jacks. There’s also plenty of guided tours across the weekend to get along to. Grainger Market, Grainger Street, Newcastle, NE1 5JQ / more info

Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle

Newcastle’s only full-time independent cinema continues to go from strength to strength, after nearing closure in the late Nineties. Tyneside Cinema is giving you the chance to take in all of its restored Art Deco glory with a number of guided tours across the weekend. You’ll view your cinema trips with a whole new perspective. 10-12 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QG / more info


The Tetley, Leeds

Flickr / CC / Vaidotas Miseikis

The Tetley, Leeds

Is there an institute more Yorkshire than The Tetley? A former brewery HQ and now contemporary art centre, the building is an art deco masterpiece which is worth a visit any day of the week – let alone with guided tours and access to secret corners and the rooftop views. Hunslet Rd, Leeds LS10 1JQ/ more info

Temple Works, Leeds

Currently under works to become a ‘major cultural venue’, the former flax mill is a Grade I listed Victorian site, covering six acres and four buildings. A chance to get the scoop on a soon-to-be cultural hub. Marshall Street, Holbeck, Leeds LS11 9YJ / more info


North West Film Archive, Manchester


North West Film Archive, Manchester

Want to take a look at what the historic Manchester was really like? The North West Film Archive is giving exclusive access to their conservation and storage facilities, explaining their quest to preserve the region’s film history and providing access to the viewing pods. Manchester Central Library, St. Peters Square, Manchester, M2 5PD / more info

Pubs and Mills of Ancoats, Manchester

All this exploration can be thirsty work. Luckily, Manchester’s CAMRA group have got you covered with a tour of the city’s historic drinking locations – those still around and those long gone. The tour starts and finishes at a licensed premises, you get the idea. Crown & Kettle, 2 Oldham Road, Manchester, M4 5FE / more info


sheffield tap

1930s Tea Dance & Vintage Fair, Sheffield

Sheffield City Hall will be getting in on the action this weekend, with a traditional 1930s Tea Dance with dancing couples waltzing and quick-stepping around the Art Deco main room. If you can’t quite master the steps, there’s a vintage fair in the foyer for you to peruse too. Sheffield City Hall, Fountain Precinct, Balm Green, Sheffield, S1 2JA / more info

Friday Night Ride, Sheffield

Want a unique way of seeing of the Steel City’s open day venues? Local cycling group FridayNightRide will be cruising the streets of Sheffield and taking in many of the open doors sites this Friday. The start and end point of this unique peloton-style adventure is the Sheffield Tap – offering a mixture of cultural heritage and maybe a pint too. Sheffield Tap, Sheffield Railway Station, Sheaf St, Sheffield, S1 2BP / more info


Bristol Planetarium, At-Bristol

At-Bristol Science Centre, Bristol

Combining Bristol’s history with modern techniques, the At-Bristol Science Centre will be welcoming visitors for behind-the-scenes tours of the history of how a listed railway shed became an eco-friendly science centre for the public to discover and enjoy. Anchor Rd, Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5DB / more info

Old Vic, Bristol

Ever fancied walking the boards and getting in touch with your inner thespian? Bristol’s Old Vic are offering free tours of the oldest continually working theatre in the UK (dating back to 1766!) and even the chance to head backstage. We can’t guarantee that you’ll be offered a part in their next production, but you can at least can pretend for a morning. King Street, Bristol, BS1 4ED / more info


The Dome of Brighton Dome

Brighton Dome, Brighton

One of the UK’s most unique arts venues is opening its doors this weekend, with architectural walking tours, a look at it’s ‘magic lantern’ optical projectors and even a demonstration of the theatre’s historic organ. Think you’ve seen all Brighton has to offer? Think again. Church Street, Brighton BN1 1UE / more info

Nice Girls Didn’t go to the Academy!, Brighton

Revisit the golden age of cinema with a walking tour of various former and current cinema sites such as the Duke Of York’s and The Melrose Gallery (formerly the Pandora Gallery, the first venue in the UK to show films outside of London) – if you’re a committed cine-buff, then this sounds unmissable. Duke of York’s Cinema, Preston Circus , Brighton & Hove, BN1 4NA / more info

All Heritage Open Days events near you can be found at www.heritageopendays.org.uk

The full Doors Open Days programme can be checked out at www.doorsopendays.org.uk

Main image: Temple Works