West Northants’ Heritage Open Days most successful so far!

A visitor feedback survey has revealed that this year’s Heritage Open Days event was the most successful in West Northamptonshire yet following peak engagement, brimming attractions and glowing feedback.

The survey captured highlights from residents, visitors and attractions who took part in the 10-day festival, which took place between 8 and 17 September, as they discovered and explored cultural and historical attractions across the area.

West Northamptonshire is rich in culture and heritage, with dozens of stately homes including Sulgrave Manor, Lamport Hall and Canons Ashby; buildings of historic interest including 78 Derngate and Weedon Royal Ordnance Depot; and museums and places of worship, which all took part in the annual festival organised by the National Trust.

Many attractions not normally accessible to the public were opened up for visitors to explore and special guided tours, walks and open days took place in Daventry, Northampton and South Northants, all free to attend. Many venues were also connected by Northampton Transport Heritage buses, enabling visitors to get between attractions in vintage style for free.

Feedback from the survey revealed that 74% of people felt the event made them feel prouder and more part of their local community while 87% said they learned something new about their local area from attending a Heritage Open Days event.

Users commented on the friendliness and professionalism of the event staff, the variety of workshops, exhibits and events, and the overall organisation of the event and free Heritage bus service.

Cllr Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of WNC and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure, said: “We are dedicated to growing the visitor economy within our area, so I am thrilled that West Northants’ Heritage Open Days event saw such a great turnout once again. For many, the event provided a unique opportunity to access places they may have thought were off-limits or may not have even known existed – all for free!

“Through the event, residents and visitors were able to learn about West Northamptonshire’s rich history and culture, gaining new perspectives on the area’s past; from exploring behind the scenes in historical buildings to hearing tales about residents’ fascinating lives and getting stuck in with creative activities, there was something for everyone and I am delighted that so many of our local venues took part.”

Liam Montgomery, Heritage Open Days Marketing & Projects Manager, said: “Heritage Open Days is a colossal community effort – thousands of organisations, community groups and individual volunteers come out in force to share their enthusiasm, passion and love for the places and spaces they introduce visitors to every year.

“We’re delighted to see that it went so well in West Northants this year, so many brilliant places opened up their doors and so many people were able to access history and culture for free over the 10 day period.”