Heritage Open Days: Surrey doorstep discoveries
Check out the all these local Surrey gems right on your doorstep
Estates, churches, homes and buildings will be flinging open their doors and welcoming visitors who want to discover the intricate details and historical significance of these fantastic places to the local area – as well as learning about all the fascinating people who have been part of our community. Heritage Open Days sees over 40,000 volunteers and 5,000 different events across the UK celebrating history and culture.
Held from the 13-22 September, and celebrating its 25th anniversary, Heritage Open Days is completely free for all to enjoy, and gives the perfect opportunity for locals to explore some hidden gems, and take part in many different events. From museums to historical talks, and bug hunts to family experiences, we pick some of our favourites in Surrey. And you can even download a printable Heritage Open Days Surrey list to discover more.
Box Hill Bugs and Beetles
Outdoor play is great fun for toddlers and young children to not only hone in on their explorative natures but to burn off some stream. Head over to Box Hill for this brilliant Bugs and Beetles activity session. Families can immerse themselves in one of Surrey’s most picturesque spots, go bug hunting, and learn some fascinating facts.
21 September, 10am-12pm; up to 7 years of age, Box Hill learning space – KT20 7LB
Carshalton Water Tower
Just a short walk from Carshalton train station is a beautiful historic landscaped garden flanked by an impressive 18th century water tower. Not only can you take a stroll around the grounds and seek out the Hermitage and Folly Bridge – or Sham Bridge as it’s also known – as water cannot flow underneath. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the Carshalton Water Tower incorporating a plunge bath with Delft tiles, an orangery, saloon, bathroom, pump chamber with part-restored water wheel. Kids will get a free quiz sheet to complete.
21-22 September, 1.00pm-5.00pm; West Street, Carshalton, Surrey, SM5 3PS
Tucked away in a leafy corner near Leatherhead is the stunning Fetcham Park – a Grade II listed house of historical significance. Built in the early 1700s, many original features still exist including the breathtaking murals on the grand staircase by renowned Royal painter Louis Laguerre, whose work can also be seen at Blenheim Palace. To celebrate Heritage Open Day, the house and grounds will be open to the public. This is a rare opportunity to see many original features in the Great Hall, Salon and the Shell Room, and explore six-acres of landscaped grounds.
20 September: 6pm – 9pm; Badingham Drive, Fetcham, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 9ES
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship leaving Plymouth to embark on its voyage to the New World in 1620, you can get to know Dorking through the eyes of passenger William Mullins, whose house on West Street, near to Dorking Museum, is the only surviving home of a Pilgrim Father. Learn about the pilgrim’s journey and what happened to the Mullins family after they landed in Cape Cod.
22 September, 2pm – 3.30pm; Dorking Museum, Unit 1, 62 West Street, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1BS
Gatton Park was once owned by the Coleman family, of English mustard fame, but is now part of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School – which means the beautiful Edwardian grounds are not always open to the public. Landscaped by renowned landscape architect, ‘Capability’ Brown back in the 18th Century, Gatton Park has epic views, a series of ponds, rock gardens, a Japanese garden and Victorian Parterre. You can visit, too, the Grade II Listed mansion, Grade I Listed church and unique town hall.
19 September: 10am, 12pm, 2pm; Gatton Park, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 0TW
Nonsuch Mansion’s Service Wing Museum
While the extensive parkland of Nonsuch Park is enjoyed by many, Nonsuch Mansion is more than just an impressive Tudor Gothic property that houses a cafe and hosts weddings. In fact, the Service Wing has recently been restored to depict the Victorian era including the sculleries, kitchen, larders and laundries. Meanwhile, head to the Nonsuch Gallery where you can see stained glass exhibits, family history, timeline, scale drawings and the largest scale model of Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace in existence. 15 September: 11am-4pm; Nonsuch Park, Ewell Road, Cheam, Surrey, SM3 8AP