7 Suffolk venues to explore for free during Heritage Open Days 2018

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds Credit: Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds Credit: Theatre Royal - Credit: Archant

Heritage Open Days return to the county this September with two jam-packed weekends of free events.

England’s biggest festival of heritage and culture will take place over two weekends for the first time on September 6 to 9 and 13 to 16 with around 900 events taking place in towns, villages and the countryside across the East of England.

From a tour of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds to open gardens at Ickworth House, it’s the perfect chance to explore Suffolk.

Here are just some of the highlights of events taking place across the county:

1. Behind the Scenes at Ipswich Record Office

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Saturday September 15, 10am, 10.30am, 11am, 11.30am (pre-booking required)

Architects designs for the new Ipswich Record Office building The Hold will be on display. Behind the scenes tours of the current Ipswich record office building, including the strongroom.

Lowestoft Maritime Museum Credit: Maritime Museum, Lowestoft

Lowestoft Maritime Museum Credit: Maritime Museum, Lowestoft - Credit: Archant

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A National Lottery grant of £10.3m to create a flagship heritage centre for Suffolk and transform people’s access to their archives, was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and will see the completion of The Hold beside the Ipswich Waterfront and launch an exciting and people-focused future for Suffolk’s archive service.

READ MORE: 9 amazing places in Ipswich taking part in Heritage Open Days

2. Theatre tour

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

September 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15, various times (pre-booking required)

Theatre Royal was designed by renowned architect William Wilkins – also famous for designing the National Gallery and University College London. With many of its original features still intact it is the last remaining Regency playhouse in the country, and one of the most beautiful, intimate and historic theatres in the world.

Behind the scenes at Ipswich Record Office Credit: Ipswich Record Office

Behind the scenes at Ipswich Record Office Credit: Ipswich Record Office - Credit: Archant

Guided Tours last approximately 75 minutes and will take you to areas of the theatre the public rarely see.

READ MORE: Stop! A Spice Girls show is coming this way3. Lowestoft Maritime Museum

Sunday September 16, 10am to 5pm (last entry 4pm)

Lowestoft Maritime Museum contains many large displays, models and artefacts depicting the history and development of the maritime heritage of Lowestoft, with hands-on activities including lots for children and a display of archive films.

This year the Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Based on a cottage acquired in 1968 the Lowestoft Maritime Museum in Sparrows Nest Gardens has since been extended and has become a comprehensive celebration of the maritime heritage of Lowestoft.

4. Ickworth House, Park and Gardens

Ickworth House Credit: Jim Woolf

Ickworth House Credit: Jim Woolf - Credit: Archant

September 14 to 15, 9am to 5.30pm

An Italianate Palace in the heart of an ancient deer park. Formal gardens, pleasure grounds, rolling Suffolk landscape and woodlands invite gentle strolls or long walks, runs, bike rides and picnics.

The Rotunda is home to one of the finest silver collections, family portraits by Gainsborough and Reynolds, works by Titian and Velázquez and Neoclassical sculpture including Flaxman’s ‘Fury of Athamus’.

READ MORE: Tim Minchin announces Ipswich date for 2019 tour5. Christchurch Mansion


September 15 and 16, 11am to 5pm

The Christchurch Mansion guides will be on hand all weekend to give short introductions to the Mansion. There will be a ‘Peep into the past’ tour at 11am Saturday and 2pm Sunday.

At various times throughout the day Mrs Fonnereau will be in residence at Christchurch Mansion talking about the history of her family and Amelia Bowman will be discussing what life was like as a Victorian Cook from Jamaica.

A crafts table will also be available for everyone to use.

6. Bardwell Windmill

School Lane, Bardwell

September 15 to 16, 10.30am to 5pm

Bardwell windmill is believed to have been built in the 1820’s and stands on the edge of the village where it served the community until the 1940s.

The windmill has been recently restored to working order. The sails will be turning if it’s windy. The bakery will be open on Saturday only 9am to 1pm.

READ MORE: Goodnight Mr Tom provides Roy Hudd with opportunity to work with talent of tomorrow7. A walk through 700 years of history

Ness Point, Lowestoft

September 14, 10am to 12pm (booking required)

This fascinating heritage guided walk, given by Jennifer Tucker, takes approximately 90-120 minutes and runs from Ness Point, through Spurgeon Score, Flint House and the Heritage Centre, the Town Hall and Crown House, over to the Light House and Belle Vue Park, and via the Eastern Linear Park to St Margaret’s Church.

Jennifer will introduce you to buildings and personalities along the route, with anecdotes and insights into their past and present.

To see the full programme of free events and book tickets visit the Heritage Open Days website.

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