Heritage open days are a great opportunity to explore, celebrate and enjoy the fantastic heritage South Gloucestershire has to offer, all for free.

Heritage Open Days logo

England’s largest festival of history and culture

Friday 8 September to Sunday 17 September 2023

Join us in celebrating South Gloucestershire’s rich history with the theme this year of ‘Creativity Unwrapped’.

Find out more on the Heritage open days website.

Due to the historic nature of these venues there is limited disabled access to some sites. Details are in the listing but if you have any questions, contact the venues directly or check their website for the latest information.

St Saviour’s Church

Beesmoor Road, Coalpit Heath, BS36 2RP

St Saviour's Church from the bus - on a sunny day
  • Friday 8 September 12pm to 3.30pm
  • Saturday 9 September 10am to 1pm
  • Sunday 10 September 2pm to 4pm

The church is open for tours and prayer on each day with a ploughman’s lunch in church on Friday from 12pm.

Suitable for all ages. There are two steps into the church but ramps are available for wheelchairs. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available.

Find out more about St Saviour’s Church

St. Mary’s Church

Castle Street, Thornbury, BS35 1HQ

Exterior of St Mary's Church on a sunny day

Saturday 9 September 1.30pm to 4.30pm

St. Mary’s Church in Thornbury is a beautiful example of Norman transitional style architecture, with later additions and replacements through the Victorian age. There is a beautifully refurbished stained-glass East Window.

The church will be open with refreshments and craft stalls, some craft classes and tower tours.

For the tower tours, booking is essential and weather permitting. Tours suitable for those aged 8 and over. The tour will follow a specific route to the top of the tower (all 133 steps!) and will include a talk about the ringing room. To book your tour, email thornburybenefice@outlook.com or call 01454 281 900.

Disabled access available for main church and facilities.

Ride and Stride in support of Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust also takes place on Saturday 9 September and participants are welcome from 10am.

Find out more about St Mary’s Church

Thornbury Town Hall

High Street, Thornbury, BS35 2AR

View of the front of Thornbury Town Hall

Saturday 9 September 10am to 2pm

Discover Thornbury Town Hall, with guided tours taking place and a variety of historic artefacts available to view.

Councillors will be providing information on the history of the property and its current and former uses.

Suitable for all ages. Due to a fault with the lift, the basement and first floor (including the toilets) can now only be accessed by stairs. The ground floor is accessible by ramp to wheelchair users.

Find out more on the Thornbury Town Council website.

Brandy Bottom Colliery

Beside Avon cycle path 410 near its intersection with Coxgrove Hill, near Pucklechurch

Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September 10.30am to 3.30pm

Join us for a guided tour round the remains of the surface buildings of a 19th century coal mine, which are in the process of being conserved.

This is a working site, with rough paths, steps, and slopes, some of which are steep. As a result many areas are not accessible to wheelchair users or prams. Sturdy footwear should be worn. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Access to the site is as part of a guided tour only.

Highway parking is limited at Coxgrove Hill but there is easy access on foot or by cycling using the cycle path.

Find out more on the Avon Industrial Buildings Trust website.

Winterbourne Medieval Barn

Church Lane, Winterbourne, BS36 1SE

View of the inside of Winterbourne Medieval Barn

Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September 11am to 4pm

Winterbourne Medieval Barn, built in 1342, is a unique surviving example of a great medieval Barn built by a gentry family. Constructed using green timber methods, cutting edge technology for the time, it has been described as a magnificent example of the builder’s craft.

The Main Barn will be open for you to look around at your leisure with some of our volunteer tour guides on hand to answer any questions about it.

Following the theme of ‘Creativity Unwrapped’, there will be medieval creativity on display, including examples kindly leant by the University of Bristol and some examples recreated by local school children. There will even be a chance to decorate your own illuminated letter or mosaic.

View of the outside of Winterbourne Medieval Barn

Suitable for all ages. Combine your visit with a trip to St Michael’s, Winterbourne Parish Church, next door or visit Monks Pool Nature Reserve located next to the barn, which makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the local landscape.

Look out for the brown signs on Winterbourne High Street to direct you to the barn and follow the pink bunting to the entrance! Limited car parking is available on site. There is plenty of cycle parking for those travelling by bike. The barn is a short 10-minute walk from Winterbourne High Street.

The main barn site is all on one level but it does have some uneven flooring due to the nature of the building, particularly in the bar area. Our volunteers are happy to assist any guest who struggle to access that area. Accessible toilet and blue badge parking spaces. Pop up café open serving a small selection of drinks and snacks.

Please book a morning or afternoon slot so that we can control numbers if we need to.

  • Morning: 11am to 1.30pm
  • Afternoon: 1.30pm to 4pm

You can arrive at any time within your time slot.

Book online on the Winterbourne Medieval Barn website.

St. Michael’s, Winterbourne Parish Church

Church Lane, Winterbourne, BS36 1SE

Exterior of St Michael's Church in Winterbourne on a sunny day

Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September 12pm to 4pm                              

St. Michael’s, the Parish church of Winterbourne, is full of evidence of the creativity of past ages. The present building dates from around 1200. Sir Thomas Bradeston, in addition to building his barn next door, beautified the church with wall paintings, a brass and effigies.

Succeeding ages put their mark on it, both inside and out, and in the 19th century a renowned sculpture was added behind the altar.  A living church like St Michael’s is not a museum but constantly evolving.

Quizzes for children and a chance to explore the churchyard, discovering the occupations of our ancestors.

Suitable for all ages with level access and WC available

Find out more about St Michael’s

Warmley Signal Box and Community Garden Group

High Street, Warmley, BS30 8XH

Saturday 9 September 12pm to 4pm

An opportunity to visit the Grade 2 listed building, understand the way it worked during the days of the rail service and meet our knowledgeable volunteers.

Suitable for all ages. Upper level not accessible for wheelchairs. Refreshments available nearby at Warmley Waiting Room Café and Tea Garden and public toilets nearby.

Find out more on the Warmley Community Gardens and Signal Box Facebook group.

Aerospace Bristol

Hayes Way, Patchway, BS34 5BZ

Two aircraft in the Bristol Aerospace hangar

Tuesday 12, Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 September 11am to 3pm

Free guided tours of the conservation hangar at Aerospace Bristol. Including talks by our team of volunteers who are working on restoring aircraft in our first world war hangar.

Suitable for all ages and accessible to all. Café will be open on site throughout. Booking for tours is essential. Visit the Aerospace Bristol website to book your Heritage Open Days tour for free.

The museum is also offering a 10% discount on museum tickets to any Heritage Open Day attendees.

Southern Brooks History and Archaeological Group

Little Stoke Baptist Church, Kingsway, Little Stoke, BS34 6JW

The history of Little Stoke

Tuesday 12 September 7pm

Join the group for a fascinating insight into the history of the area with a talk by Martin Davis.

For more information, contact Liz Evans by email on lizevans@southernbrooks.org.uk or call 07971744846.

Chipping Sodbury High Street

Meet at Tourist Information Centre, High Street, Chipping Sodbury, BS37 6AH

Chipping Sodbury High Street in 1958 with people walking and cycling and vehicles such as a green bus and red cars

Tour of Chipping Sodbury High Street

Wednesday 13 September 7pm to 9pm

Join us for a tour of Chipping Sodbury High Street, exploring the history of the architecture of the town and the pubs, past and present along the route.

The tour is open to people of all ages, but it is not recommended for small children. The route of the walk will be along solid, flat pavements and across some roads. Booking is essential, email info@yateheritage.co.uk or call 01454 862200.

Find out more on the Yate Town Council website.

Thornbury and District Museum

Thornbury Town Hall, 35 High Street, Thornbury, BS35 2AR

The Thornbury Quilt

The Thornbury Quilt

Thursday 14 September 10am to 5pm and Friday 15 September 9am to 3pm

A 123-year-old signature quilt relating to Thornbury town, its trades and people, will be on display with supporting information boards on its history and the story of its discovery. Museum staff will be at the town hall to answer any questions.

Suitable for all ages. There are two shallow steps up to the front door of the building. Ramp entrance to the side through over 60s tearoom (when open).

Find out more on the Thornbury and District Museum website.

Dyrham Park – National Trust

Off the A46, near Dyrham village, SN14 8HY

Landscape view of Dyrham Park

Saturday 16 September 10am to 4pm

Free entry to Dyrham Park where you can walk through 270 acres of ancient parkland with wide-reaching views, explore the garden, visit the newly-revitalised 17th century mansion and stop for refreshments from the tea-room or café in the parkland. Shop open.

Suitable for all ages. The parkland is steep and uneven in part. There are mobility vehicles to transport anyone who needs assistance up and down the parkland from the car park to the garden and house. More access information available on the website.

The tea room and café in the parkland will be open selling sandwiches, light meals, snacks, cakes, ice creams and hot and cold drinks.

Find out more about Dyrham Park on the National Trust website.

Yate and District Heritage Centre

Church Road, Yate, BS37 5BG

Band playing on a stage to a crowd at Yate International Festival

Yate International Festival

Saturday 16 September 10.30am to 4.30pm

Yate International Festival is a celebration of different cultures living and working in the Yate and South Gloucestershire areas.

There will be music, dance and theatre performances from South and East Asian, West African, Irish and East European groups, plus food and activities from local community groups.

Suitable for all ages. Food available to purchase.

Find out more on the Yate Town Council website.

Kingswood Heritage Museum

Tower Lane, Warmley, BS30 8XT

Exterior of Kingswood Heritage Museum on a sunny day

Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 11am to 5pm

Come and learn about the astounding inventions of William Champion and how he started the first commercial production of zinc in Europe, in Warmley. The museum displays many stories of the area including zinc production, coal mining, boot manufacturing, the origins of Methodism and the famous Douglas motorcycles. You can also visit William Champion’s Gardens nearby (see below).

Suitable for all ages. There is free parking and refreshments are available in our tea room.

Find out more on the Kingswood Heritage Museum website.

William Champion’s Garden at Warmley

Tower Lane, Warmley, BS30 8XT

The Grotto Face at William Champion's Garden in Warmley

Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 11am to 4.30pm

The remarkable and rare surviving Grade II designated 18th century garden of the industrialist William Champion is hidden behind his brass mill (now Kingswood Museum) and pin factory (the Clocktower).

Discover the 9m statue of Neptune once towering over a huge lake and explore the concealed 18th century grotto, a unique remnant of Champion’s pleasure grounds. you can make your way through its fantastical gaping jaws into candle-lit tunnels, past three pools, one fed by a cascade which once flowed from Champion’s brassworks.

Discover the rare ‘snail’ viewing mound and the ‘Echo Pond’ and discover Champion’s ‘summerhouse’ in the woods. Champion’s Grade II house (now a private residential home) overlooks the garden, with a flight of steps leading down through a ha-ha.

Neptune statue at William Champion's Garden in Warmley

Access from Tower Lane (signed to Warmley Care Home at the entrance, car park for gardens on the right.) The car park below Warmley House is flat though, if walking, the slope down to the car park is steep.

Within the garden walking is mainly over grass with a few paths. Toilets and a café are available at Kingswood Heritage Museum beside the garden in Tower Lane.

The Kingswood Heritage Museum website has a list of all the attractions in the gardens.

Ram Hill Colliery

Broad Lane, Coalpit Heath, BS36 2TY

Ran Hill Colliery

Sunday 17 September 10am to 4pm

A tour of the archaeology of Ram Hill Colliery and the start of The Dramway. We still have many of the blocks that held the rails. Discover the archaeology of the arch, the coal bunkers, the pit shaft, the horse gin, the engine and the chimney and possibly the reservoir.

Suitable for all ages. Please wear sensible shoes and keep dogs on a lead.

Find out more on the Ram Hill Colliery Facebook group.

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