Get Involved with Heritage Open Weekend

Whats On & Where?

Heritage Open Weekend takes places every September – this year it’s from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th. Across the country thousands of events takes place to celebrate our history and culture. Places that are never normally open throw open their doors – and the events are free. There’s something to interest everyone from country houses, guided walks, children’s events, community days and more.  I’ve picked out below some of what is happening locally.

You can find out more and search all the events here, over 300 events are listed for Surrey alone.


Starting, of course, with Walton where we always celebrate Heritage Day on Saturday with a community event down at the Wharf by the Swan and Anglers pubs.  I’ll be there with other local councillors at our now traditional food and drink stall – please come and say hello if you’re there. There’ll also be a dog show, entertainment from a band, face painting and stalls from various charities and organisations. The Riverhouse Barn will be screening a film on people’s memories of Walton; and over at St Mary’s Church you can climb the bell tower and enjoy a fine view of our town.

Cobham and Great Bookham

Nearby in Cobham they also have a Heritage Day. Cobham Mill, Surrey’s only fully working water mill, will be open and you can see local grain being milled. The yearly duck race starts there at 4pm! Or if you feel like a walk, or a picnic, then head over to Painshill, a 158-acre beautiful landscaped park that’s open for free on the Saturday. Just across the border in Great Bookham is Slyfield House, a Jacobean manor house offering guided tour on the Saturday – the only day each year it’s open to the public.

Polesden Lacey and Claremont Landscape Garden

Heritage Open Weekend also sees some places you’d normally have to pay for open for free. Polesden Lacey, a fabulous Edwardian country retreat in the Surrey Hills and one of the National Trust’s most popular attractions, is open for free on the Saturday. The Trust’s Claremont Landscape Garden in Esher is also free to visit. Claremont House, an 18th century mansion formerly home to various royals including an exiled King of France but now a private school, is offering the rare opportunity for guided tours.

Denbies, John Lewis Basement and New Victoria Theatre

For something different, Denbies Wine Estate is offering 45-minute tours of the vineyard – advanced pre-booking is required. Over in Kingston, you can go into John Lewis’ basement and see the remains of mediaeval bridge. If you’re free on the Friday, you can have a backstage your of the New Victoria Theatre in Woking – again pre-booking is required.

Whatever you end up doing, I hope you have a great time – and let’s hope the weather is kind to us!


Andrew Kelly is a Walton resident and has been a Elmbridge Borough Councillor for the town for six years. He’s a long-suffering daily commuter to London, and at weekends enjoys getting away and making use of his National Trust membership!



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