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Heritage Open Days set to provide opportunity to explore local landmarks

PUBLISHED: 13:55 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:55 05 September 2017

Beccles Town Hall, where visitors will be able to explore council chambers. Picture: Archant Archive

Beccles Town Hall, where visitors will be able to explore council chambers. Picture: Archant Archive

In what is England's biggest celebration of history and culture, members of the public will be able to visit some of the area's most renowned landmarks and treasures free of charge at a four-day long festival.

St Mary's Church Tower is open for tours as part of Heritage Open Days. PHOTO: Nick ButcherSt Mary's Church Tower is open for tours as part of Heritage Open Days. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Taking place between Thursday, September 7 and Sunday, September 10, the annual Heritage Open Days event began in England in 1994 with the aim of increasing appreciation for the country’s cultural spectacles.

Having continued every September for the last 23 years, a number of historic sites in Beccles, Bungay and Halesworth will be involved in this year’s initiative, opening their doors to people who may not be aware of the area’s rich heritage.

141 events will take place across Suffolk, bringing together visitors and volunteers who are passionate about England’s diverse cultural prowess.

In Beccles, visitors will be able to scour the town hall’s council chambers, which are only usually open during meetings. Open on Friday, September 8 from 10am to 2pm, there will be an opportunity to view portraits of alderman and mayors from the 1800s, as well as a chance to meet mayor Richard Stubbings.

The Joseph Hooker trail is situated in Halesworth. Photo by: Tamsyn Imison.The Joseph Hooker trail is situated in Halesworth. Photo by: Tamsyn Imison.

Spectacular views will be on offer from the top of St Mary’s Church in Bungay on Saturday, September 9, whilst the ruins and dungeons of the town’s castle can also be explored.

Meanwhile, there will be guided walks in the pretty town of Halesworth, not to mention the Joseph Hooker bicentenary walk, which celebrates the work of the great botanist.

Annie Reilly, national manager of Heritage Open Days, said: “Having started in 1994 with just over 100 events, this year there are going to be 5,000 across England with over 40,000 amazing volunteers helping us out.

“It’s so important to find out how we got to be here today and this celebration is all about people understanding the history and culture that is all around them.”

All the festival’s locations will be free to visit.

A number of events do not require booking in advance, but tickets are available via heritageopendays.org.uk, where you can also find more information about all the sites taking part in the celebration and the dates on which they are open.

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