Heritage Open Days, England’s largest free festival of culture and heritage, is returning for 2022 with more than 250 free events in Norfolk.

Norfolk Heritage Open Days is a rare chance to explore the county and the programme includes behind-the-scenes access to some of the area's most amazing buildings.

This year’s event runs from Friday, September 9, until Sunday, September 18, and the 2022 theme is ‘Astounding Inventions’.

In Norfolk, you can expect events exploring the county’s boating past, monks inventing stinky cheese and champagne and WW1 airships.

There is something for everyone, including plenty of family friendly-events for the little ones.

Katie Ellis, Norfolk Heritage Open Days event producer, said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing Norfolk Heritage Open Days back for 2022, with a jam-packed programme of free events for everyone.

"The festival couldn’t happen without the hard work of organisers and volunteers across Norfolk - it is a real community effort that celebrates our unique heritage and local culture.”

Norfolk Heritage Open Days is coordinated by The Forum and 2022 will see the Atrium transformed into an exhibition celebrating ‘250 years of Norfolk & Norwich Hospital’.

Sam Higginson, chief executive for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: "At this special exhibition, visitors will be able to walk through the past, present and see the future of healthcare in Norfolk, finding out more about the latest developments.”

The Norfolk Heritage Open Days programme can be explored in a printed brochure, thanks to sponsor Hollinger Print, available for collection from The Forum and venues across Norwich and Norfolk or online at norfolkheritageopendays.co.uk

Booking for pre-book events opens on Monday, August 22 at 10am.


1. 250 Years of Norfolk and Norwich Hospital: Past, Present and Future

Where: The Forum, Norwich, NR2 1TF

When: September 9-18, 10am-4pm (drop-in)

A special exhibition celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the N&N Hospital, ranging from historic medical artefacts, including an old x-ray machine, to the people who established the hospital.

2. Putting on a Progress 1578: An Immersive Experience

Where: Locations across Norfolk

When: September 9-18, times vary (pre-book)

Explore Queen Elizabeth I’s Royal Progress to Norwich in 1578, with virtual reality events revealing the glittering and perilous experience of ruling in the 16th century.

3. Blickling Estate Conservation Conversations

Where: Blickling Estate, Aylsham, NR11 6NF

When: September 12-14, 11am and 2pm (pre-book)

Experts from Blickling share how they safeguard the gardens, parks and collections in the building.

4. Maddermarket Theatre

Where: Saint John's Alley, Norwich, NR2 1DR

When: September 9, 10, 11, 16 and 17, times vary (pre-book/drop-in)

Visit the theatre and hear stories from its history - from the Roman Catholic chapel to the creation of the Elizabethan-style theatre in 1921. Book your place on a tour or drop-in to see artwork on display.

5. Pulham Pigs and the people who flew them

Where: Pennoyers Centre, Pulham St. Mary, IP21 4QT

When: September 12, 3pm (drop-in)

Discover the history of the airships used to patrol the North Sea and protect shipping from German U-boats.

6. Champagne and Stinky Cheese: Monks as Accidental Inventors

Where: St Benet’s Abbey, Ludham, NR29 5NU

When: September 10, 11, 14, 17 and 18, 2pm (drop-in)

Now a ruin, St Benet’s Abbey was once home to generations of Benedictine monks, who helped shape the landscape and history of the region. But, did you know that monks have been responsible for inventions like champagne and stinky cheese?

7. Royal Naval Hospital

Where: Royal Naval Hospital, Great Yarmouth, NR30 3JU

When: September 10-11, 11am-3.30pm (drop-in)

Completed in 1811 to care for the sick and wounded returning from the Napoleonic wars, the Royal Naval Hospital is a Grade II* listed building of historical and architectural importance.

8. Bishop Bonner’s Cottage Museum

Where: Bishop Bonner’s Cottage Museum, Dereham, NR19 1ED

When: September 9: 10am-1pm, September 10: 10am-4pm, September 16: 10am-1pm, September 17: 10am-4pm (drop-in)

Learn about Dereham’s industries and domestic life and see a major new exhibition on the Fenns of Dereham in this little gem of a museum.

9. Markets of the Future

Where: Thetford Town Council, Thetford, IP24 2DS

When: September 10-11, 10am-3pm (drop-in)

See how computers and technology have changed over the years, with displays, video game competitions, stalls, theatre, competitions and much more.