Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days is a European-wide festival of history and culture. Though co-ordinated nationally by the National Trust, the events in Cheltenham – held over ten days in September each year – are organised by Cheltenham Civic Society.

Visit, explore and learn

These events range from open buildings – which you can explore on your own or on an organised tour – a guided walk, a talk, an exhibition or even a visit to a hidden gem that usually isn’t open to the public.

The events are all run by volunteers, who meet regularly to plan the programme and produce a brochure, which features all the activities and open buildings.

Look out for information locally from July each year and put a date in your diary to see behind the front door of a building that fascinates you, or book a ticket for one of the walks or talks – and remember it’s all free to explore and on your doorstep!

To read more about this national festival, visit the National Trust’s Heritage Open Days website.

Looking ahead to September 2021

Empty the larder, preheat the oven, and set the table – our national theme for 2021 is ‘Edible England’. From woodland foraging to factory floor, forgotten recipes to regional delicacies, we’ll be encouraging you to explore the past, present, and future of our culinary heritage and culture. Find out more here.

HODs participants

Remember, the theme is there to help not hinder. Hopefully it will inspire lots of you to serve up a feast of new heritage delights for the festival and encourage new guests to the table. If it doesn’t work for you though, then not to worry, the theme is just one course in the festive meal!

Cheltenham Synagogue
© David Savill

Digital highlights from 2020

Here is a selection from the digital presentations that we were able to publish in lieu of actual events during Heritage Open Days last September.

Cheltenham Croquet Club

Cheltenham Croquet Club is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2020 and must surely be one of the oldest sports clubs in Gloucestershire.

Cheltenham Playhouse

A series of short films about the history of this Grade II listed building’s life from 1807-2020 as a salts laboratory, slipper baths, swimming pool, medical spa and now theatre.

Cheltenham Synagogue

A short film about the history, heritage, culture and community of this unique Grade II Regency Synagogue

A Cheltenham Scrapbook

A series of short films exploring lost stories of Cheltenham’s heritage. Come with us on our fascinating journeys as we dive into the archives of the Cheltenham Civic Society and see where it leads!

Pate’s Grammar School’s 20th Century Stained Glass Window

Adrian Barlow & Rob Rimell discuss how the window was commissioned in the 1960s, who designed it and how it was rescued from the building that was demolished in the 1990s.

Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve

During the Covid-19 lockdown many have valued the importance of local green spaces. One of these is Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve (accessible via entrances in Mead Road and Old Bath Road). This short audio-visual presentation describes its history and celebrates the remarkable wildlife that inhabits this special place.

Pittville Pump Room: A Brief History

A brief history of Pittville Pump Room from 1825 to the present day with some images never published before.