Explore Heritage Sites This September

Thursday 19th August 2021
If you’re keen to fill your calendar with a range of brilliant activities this autumn, why not consider heading back in time at some amazing historic landmarks?

September marks the start of Heritage Open Days, England’s biggest festival of history and culture. It’s when heritage sites all over the country throw open their doors for a series of one-of-a-kind events designed to celebrate their unique pasts. So, why not check out the following places across the North of England which are all offering fascinating cultural tours or open days throughout September?
  1. York’s Fishergate Postern Tower

    When: 11th and 18th September

    York is a history lover’s paradise and it’s teeming with eye-catching buildings which date back centuries. While you may well have strolled along its ancient city walls before, it’s highly unlikely that you’ve explored Fishergate Postern Tower.

    The watchtower isn’t normally open to visitors. However, it’ll throw open its creaky old doors for two days of tours on September 11th and September 18th. Look forward to winding your way up the 500-year-old staircase to the top of the tower and admiring views of the entire city. Don’t forget to look up at the ceiling too, where you’ll spot fantastic beams which are thought to be older than the tower itself!

    Another – rather revolting – highlight of a visit to Fishergate Postern Tower is the Tudor toilet (or garderobe) which features a hole in the floor where waste would have fallen all the way down to the ground below.
  2. Scarborough’s St Martin’s On-the-Hill

    When: 10th – 19th September (excluding Sundays)

    While Scarborough Castle serves up Viking and English Civil War history in droves, art fanatics might prefer to venture to this hidden treasure instead.

    St Martin’s On-the-Hill is a traditional Victorian church perched high on the hill overlooking Scarborough’s South Bay. While it may seem like your standard church from the outside, it’s actually considered a “Pre-Raphaelite Gem” due to its extraordinary decorations. 

    You can wander around the peaceful building and admire artwork and beautiful stained-glass windows designed by some of the most famous artists of the 19th century. We’re talking William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rosetti and Philip Webb. There are also free tours you can join as part of the Open Days.

  3. Manchester’s Museum of Transport

    When: 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th September 

    Manchester famously has heaps of history related to Britain’s transport network and was even home to one of the world’s first ever railway stations – Manchester Liverpool Road – which opened in 1830.

    As well as the railway, a range of other transport options for those living in and around the city began to pop up from the 1830s onwards, all of which you’ll be able to discover more about at the Museum of Transport open days.

    While the museum is typically open all year round, you can benefit from free entry and free rides on their vintage buses for two weekends in September as part of Heritage Open Days. Get set to admire over 80 amazing vehicles and uncover their histories through the interactive exhibitions.
  4. Penrith Castle

    When: 12th September

    Didn’t know Penrith had a castle? You do now! The magnificent structure dates back to the 14th century and offers a fascinating glimpse into the Lake District’s medieval past.

    While Penrith Castle is open throughout the year to visitors, September is when you’ll be able to join a two and a half hour walking tour of not just the castle, but also three other major historic monuments in the town.

    Starting at Penrith Castle, you’ll be taken through the history and significance of the building by a friendly volunteer before moving onto Mayburgh Henge, King Arthur’s Round Table and, finally Brougham Castle. Gazing at Penrith’s Neolithic landmarks is a real treat, and you’ll also get to see where mythologists believe King Arthur once hosted jousting tournaments.
  5. Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery & Museum

    When: 11th, 16th, 17th and 18th September

    Part of the University of Liverpool, the city’s Victoria Gallery & Museum is a truly stunning structure in Liverpool designed by none other than Alfred Waterhouse.

    The famous Victorian architect is also responsible for creating a series of other beautiful buildings around the university campus, all of which you’ll be able to explore on a Waterhouse Heritage Open Days tour in September. You’ll really get to know Waterhouse’s signature style with an expert guide, and you’ll even get to visit usually closed off areas of the campus.

    A highlight of the tour is the old Victorian Liverpool Infirmary which you might just recognise from episodes of Casualty 1900s.
  6. Sheffield’s Aizlewood’s Mill

    When: 10th and 14th September

    Sheffield is well-known for its Victorian factories and mills, and you’ll still spot plenty of them around the city. While many have been turned into apartments or trendy food markets like the Cutlery Works, there is one which has retained many of its original features.

    Aizlewood’s Mill lies just across the water from Kelham Island and it once served as a Victorian flour mill. Built in 1861, it actually sits within the nursery gardens of what was once Sheffield Castle. The attractive redbrick mill is rarely open to the public as it currently houses offices, although you’ll be able to venture inside in September on a fantastic guided tour.

    See some of the original machinery used to process the flour and check out the antique paternoster – an old-fashioned lift – that’s one of only two still left in Sheffield.

As well as reserving your slots for some brilliant Heritage Open Day events, if you can, buy tickets in advance to book a seat on the train. And then get ready for a day of sightseeing and enjoy these breath-taking heritage sites.      

Don’t miss out

Get the latest offers, news & travel inspiration

TransPennine Express Privacy Policy