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.

Our September 2021 programme

Download our new 2021 brochure (see alongside) to check out all the open days, walks and talks. Then 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!

Scroll down for our digital presentations

In the section below you will see digital presentations from both this year’s Heritage Open Days and last year’s.

Cheltenham Heritage Open Days
Cheltenham Heritage Open Days


Cheltenham Minster has added some events over the whole 10 days: including a children’s trail and goody bag, a labyrinth and a history tree to give visitors a chance to add their own story.

On Saturday 18th at 10.30 there will be a storytelling and craft session for children.

Digital highlights from 2021

As part of this year’s Heritage Open Days here are a number of digital presentations.

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

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.