Make the fun of the summer last longer by joining in with this year’s Heritage Open Days. The annual festival of heritage across Britain is back this September, starting on 8th and running through to the 17th.

As the largest festival of history and culture in England, Heritage Open Days are a great way to explore seldom seen places and learn more about the region’s history and heritage. There are a whole host of free events taking place across Devon, we’ve picked out a couple to give you an idea of what is in store and help you extend the fun of the summer.

Museum of Policing in Devon and Cornwall
Court Gate, Bedford Square, Tavistock PL19 0AE

The Museum of Policing is holding two open days as part of the festival. During the day, you can try out your own policing skills and learn more about the history of policing through a display of archives and artefacts. Plus, the museum is located near Tavistock’s historic police station and magistrates’ court, so there are plenty of opportunities to see policing history in action.

Open Days are taking place on 9th and 16th September from 11am – 3pm. Find out more here.

Winsford Cottage Hospital
The Winsford Centre, Halwill Junction Beaworthy EX21 5XU

The Landmark Trust have restored Winsford Cottage Hospital which has been in the heart of the community for over 100 years. It’s a great way to learn more about health provision over the years, with a chance to find out more about the treatment of wounded soldiers returning from the battlefields of WWI, the development of maternity units and modern hospitals.

Visit on 9th and 10th September, from 10am – 4pm. Booking isn’t required but is recommended to guarantee updates about the events. Find out more and book your space here.

Grantlands Estate
Grantlands, Commercial Road, Uffculme, Cullompton EX15 3ED

The Grantlands Estate has sat on this site since the 1860s and parts of the building are Grade II listed. As a private estate, this is one of the only times you will have a chance to explore this 19th century private estate. Not all areas will be open to the public as it is privately owned.

Visit on 17th September, 10am-4pm. Find out more here.

Passing Through
Mint Methodist Church Community Centre, Fore Street, Exeter EX4 3AT

If you have Romany or Traveller heritage and can trace your family to Devon, this is a great chance to learn more. The Romany and Traveller Family History Society and Devon Family History Society are on hand to help with your research and you are welcome to bring along your own pictures and stories to find connections.

Join them on 16th September from 10.30am – 4pm. Find out more here.

Hemyock Castle
Culstock Road, Hemyock EX15 3RJ

Hemyock Castle dates back to the 1380s and these self guided tours give you a chance to see the surviving ruins. Prebooking is required, and tours take place every half an hour between 2pm and 4pm on 10th September.

Find out more and book your tour here.

Finch Foundry
Sticklepath, Okehampton EX20 2NW

Finch Foundry was a huge part of Dartmoor’s industrial; heritage and produced up to 400 tools a day – today the waterwheels and machinery are still mostly operational and visitors can explore these as well as the working forge, carpenter’s workshop, gardens and Quaker burial ground. The forge is by guided tour only, so book your space early to avoid disappointment.

Tours from 11am on 17th September. Find out more here. 

Of course, some of the best loved heritage attractions like those managed by the National Trust and English Heritage are also taking part, giving you the opportunity to visit for free!

Head to the Heritage Open Days website to find out more and to see all the events taking place in Devon. See what Heritage Open Day events are going on across the UK and learn more about the various historical sites across the region here.

See more of Devon's history and heritage