Where to enjoy a weekend of discovery - Heritage Open Days in Peterborough

ArcHaus, the former Little Chef at Wansford, now HQ to Harris McCormack Architects.
ArcHaus, the former Little Chef at Wansford, now HQ to Harris McCormack Architects.

More than 30 buildings in Peterborough and the surrounding villages have signed up to take part in this year’s Heritage Open Days weekend, which will be celebrated from September 13-15 September, with a couple of events the following weekend.

New venues include the 18th century D’Arcy Jewellers’ Shop in the city centre, the ArcHaus architects’ offices located in a carefully restored 1930s art deco building near Wansford, the magnificent ground floor reception rooms of Thorpe Hall, and a range of fine churches – Longthorpe Church, rebuilt on its present site in the 1260s by the Thorpe family; Castor Church opening its wonderful tower; Marholm’s medieval church with impressive memorials to the Fitzwilliam family; the listed church in rural Upton; Water Newton’s medieval church set beside the River Nene; and, also on the river, the ancient church at Stibbington.

The Old Customs House

The Old Customs House

Many venues will be offering guided tours, talks and displays whilst others are opening their doors for visitors to wander freely as they choose. These events provide the opportunity to explore the history of Peterborough and, in some cases, to visit buildings not normally open to the public.

The programme is the result of close co-operation between Peterborough Civic Society, Peterborough Cathedral, Peterborough City Council and Vivacity, who have encouraged participants to open their doors free of charge.

David Jost, organiser for the Peterborough area, said: “We have a number of buildings that are exciting newcomers to the heritage celebrations which we feel are sure to be popular.

“We are enormously grateful to all the owners who so generously give their time to open up their premises’”.

The J W D'Arcy store

The J W D'Arcy store

Andy Tannock, chairman of the Peterborough Sea Cadets, explained that the Old Customs House has been featured in previous years.

“I am proud that we have a responsibility for such an interesting and historic building which I’m sure people will be fascinated to discover when they visit,” he said.

Martin Russell, head of support services for the Thorpe Hall Hospice, said “The Sue Ryder organization is pleased to be able to open Thorpe Hall for the Heritage Open Days in September.  We look forward to welcoming visitors to the hall and the gardens.  Refreshments will be available in our café.”

Heritage Open Days celebrate England’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or charge an entrance fee, and specially organised events to showcase a property’s history.

St Andrew's Church, Alwalton

St Andrew's Church, Alwalton

Heritage Open Days has been running as a national celebration since 1994 – celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019.

For complete details of events in Peterborough and across the country as a whole go to the national Heritage Open Days website which is at: www.heritageopendays.org.uk