Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days

The European-wide festival of history and culture called Heritage Open Days (HODs) is co-ordinated nationally by the National Trust and held over ten days in September each year.

Visiting, exploring and learning

The events in Cheltenham range from open buildings – which you can explore either on your own or on an organised tour – to guided walks, talks, exhibitions or even a visit to a hidden gem that usually isn’t open to the public. The events are all free, but tickets must be pre-booked for some events where numbers are limited.

Organisation

The events are organised by Cheltenham Civic Society and are all run by volunteers, who meet regularly during the year to plan the programme and produce a brochure, which features all the activities and open buildings. Planning for 2024’s HODs programme will begin at the team’s first meeting in January.

To learn more about the types of events we organise, download this year’s brochure by clicking on the adjacent image of the cover.

CALL TO ACTION: If you would like to be involved with the organisation, please contact us on hods@cheltcivicsoc.org

Scroll down for our digital presentations

In the sections below you can see digital presentations from previous years’ Heritage Open Days.

2023 brochure download

2023’s programme consisted of 70 open days, plays, walks and talks – all of which were free.

To find out more about the events that were enjoyed by thousands of people in September, download the brochure by clicking the cover image below.

Digital highlights from 2022

Here are the digital presentations from this year’s Heritage Open Days.

‘The Man in the Grey Coat’ is a 27-minute audio play by David Elder.

It’s 1933. Charlie is bored doing low-level police work in sleepy Cheltenham. But then he’s given the opportunity to work on a secret surveillance mission, monitoring the poet Cecil Day-Lewis, who’s suspected of being an active member of the Communist Party. Will this be the big career breakthrough Charlie’s been looking for? And will Cecil be tempted to start some sort of revolutionary activity in the town?

Linton House – from family home to charity headquarters

See our film about the changing fortunes of Linton House, from new build family home to headquarters of Cobalt, a local medical charity. Discover the families who lived in Linton House and gain an insight into Victorian weddings, and the presents they gave.

‘We Can’t Be’ is a 25-minute audio play written and directed by Lou Beckett.

Two students notice Cheltenham’s only statues of women are the tightly-clad, delectable young females set along shop fronts in Montpellier. Surely, they think, Cheltenham is ready for a statue honouring an important local woman. Or is it? They are about to find out.

Digital highlights from 2021

Here are some digital presentations from 2021’s Heritage Open Days.

Cheltenham Synagogue – a taste of Jewish food

Welcome to Jewish food. And not just chicken soup! Open or download our PDF to read some reflections on how Jewish food became part of our nation’s heritage.

Linton House – from family home to charity headquarters

See our film about the changing fortunes of Linton House, from new build family home to headquarters of Cobalt, a local medical charity. Discover the families who lived in Linton House and gain an insight into Victorian weddings, and the presents they gave.

The Hub Gallery, Christ Church – ‘Banners Trail’

A trail of banners with messages of Hope for Our World to tie in with our theme of EDEN, Restoring Paradise – Beauty, Care, Destruction and Restoration. Open or download our PDF to follow the trail of banners during this year’s Heritage Open Days.

Tom Denny’s stained glass – St Christopher’s Church

Tom Denny has been creating stained glass windows on biblical and Christian themes for more than 30 years. His work is found in churches and chapels across Britain. Here in St. Christopher’s church in Warden Hill, we can make one unique claim: we are the only church to have ten Denny windows. Open or download this PDF to learn more.

Digital highlights from 2020

A selection of digital presentations from 2020’s Heritage Open Days.

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.