Free events celebrating Kirklees heritage

Heritage Open Days

This year we’ll be seeing more than 90 events in Kirklees to celebrate the annual Heritage Open Days festival!

What are Heritage Open Days?

The festival, which runs from Friday 8 to Sunday 17 September, is England’s biggest festival of history and culture.  It’s about opening up heritage sites and sharing parts of our history which might normally be hidden, protected or overlooked.

Heritage Open Days aren’t just local to Kirklees. The festival is coordinated nationally by the National Trust and funded by Historic England.  Locally, the Kirklees Heritage Open Days Committee has been working in partnership with lots of local groups to deliver a fantastic programme of events.

The Heritage Open Days are also connected with our Heritage Action Zone in Dewsbury, and our High Street Heritage Action Zone in Huddersfield.  These are areas where Historic England has provided us funding to boost economic growth. Using these areas’ history as a catalyst, contributing to the Huddersfield and Dewsbury Blueprints.

What can we expect?

Events in Kirklees will include behind-the-scenes visits to some of our beautiful historic buildings. Including buildings which are usually closed to the public. Also, guided walks, hands-on craft sessions, exhibitions, film shows, and explorations of parks and nature.  And all events are completely free!

You can download a brochure of the full list of Heritage Open Days events in Kirklees, or find events near you on the Heritage Open Days website.

What’s special about this year?

The Heritage Open Days festival takes place every year, but this year is a particularly great one for Kirklees. 2023 has us holding a record 96 events in total. More than 40 of these events are brand new this year.

Work on the Heritage Action Zone in Dewsbury has recently concluded. Leading into more development on Daisy Hill for local residents and businesses.  The opening event at Dewsbury Minster, which will literally ‘ring in’ the Heritage Open Days with a concert launched by the Mayor of Kirklees, will celebrate this.

Dewsbury Minster

The High Street Heritage Action Zone in Huddersfield is also in full swing, contributing funding to the development of the George Hotel, Estate and Somerset Buildings around St. George’s Square.

Many events also contribute to the Kirklees Year of Music, offering performances in a wide range of musical genres.

Many of Kirklees’ beautiful historic churches are taking part in conjunction with Yorkshire Churches Day on Saturday 16 September, offering refreshments and children’s activities alongside tours and heritage displays.

Councillor Cahal Burke, Mayor of Kirklees, says:

“I’m delighted to be launching this year’s Heritage Open Days.  I’ve taken part myself in past years, as a member of Lindley Community Group, and the wealth of events this year is a tribute to the strength of the voluntary heritage sector across Kirklees.  I’m looking forward to visiting some of our great heritage sites, and I encourage everyone else to see them as well.”

Councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance & Regeneration, says:

“Heritage Open Days are about celebrating our history and culture here in Kirklees, as we look to the future and to investment in future-proofing our heritage.  We have fantastic heritage, with many much-loved Listed buildings.  I’d urge Kirklees residents to get involved, as this is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the heritage we’re trying to preserve, and how our plans for growth and development in Kirklees pay homage to that as well as creating more modern, thriving, resilient town centres.”