Heritage Open Days 2021

Published Thursday, 02 September 2021

FAMILIES AND HISTORY ENTHUSIASTS will be able to attend a series of heritage open days in Hinckley and throughout the borough this September. 

Photo of the Atkins Building past and present and Heritage open days logo

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of culture and history that takes place over two consecutive weekends on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September and continuing Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September. 

The scheme aims to open up access and insight to buildings not generally seen by the general public and includes a wide range of guided walking tours and exhibitions, events and activities that will appeal to families and history enthusiasts alike.

Executive Member for Culture, Leisure, Tourism and Town Centres at the Borough Council, Councillor Keith Nichols said:

I am very pleased to see this event return for two weekends this year.  Hinckley and Bosworth has so much history and culture to offer and the festival provides an interesting insight to the history of our older buildings and the opportunity to have a really good look around many of them, while exploring our borough at the same time.

Events include:  

  • The Atkins Building, Then and Now Exhibition - Friday 10 September then daily from Monday 13 September to Friday 17 September, open 9am to 5pm. No booking required. 
    An exhibition documenting the journey of the Atkins Building from Victorian hosiery factory to the creative business centre it is today. The focus of the exhibition will be the building's transformation from factory to modern day workplace, telling the building's story from factory through restoration to its present day use as a business and creative centre featuring images and objects including some never seen before images. Refreshments available from the Atkins building’s new onsite café the Hansom Café which serves Fair Trade coffee, homemade cakes, breakfasts and lunches

Other opportunities to explore and learn more about historic buildings and sites in the area include:

  • Hinckley and District Museum, Lower Bond Street, Hinckley – Saturday 11 September and Saturday 18 September 10am to 4pm and Sunday 19 September 2pm to 4pm 
    Visit the thatched timber box framed cottages dating from the 1680s, housing a local history museum of Hinckley and the surrounding area. See the framework knitters' room setting with c.1740 stocking frame, and displays including 'What did the Romans do for us?', Richard III and the battle of Bosworth, 'Beyond the wire - our POW experience', and Sketchley Dyeworks. 'Secret' cottage garden and Fairtrade drinks available. 'Old fashioned' toys to play with, and children's dressing up area too. No booking required
  • St Mary’s Church, Hinckley Tower Tours - Friday 10 to Saturday 11 September and Friday 17 to Saturday 18 September
    St Mary’s Church is offering visitors aged 16 and over the chance to climb the church tower and see the clock and carillon. You must be able to climb 50 steep steps. Places are strictly limited and pre-booking is essential. To apply for a slot contact Geoff Fuller on 07890 327286
  • Castle Street and Argents Mead, Hinckley, Saturdays 11 and 18 September, 10am to 4pm
    Hinckley District Past and Present will have a stand on Castle Street within Hinckley Market showing local Hinckley History, with display boards and members of the group to talk to members of the public. There will also be some activity in Argents Mead, with medieval food displays and falconry (falconry on Saturday 18 only)
  • Desford, St Martin’s Church, Main Street, Desford – Saturday 11 September, 10am to 6pm
    Grade II* listed 13th century church with many interesting and historic features. There will be leaflets available for self-guided tours of the church and someone available to answer questions. The gravestones in the churchyard have recently been put onto a database so that family history enquiries can now be answered. No booking required
  • Thornton, St Peter’s Church, Church Lane, Thornton - Saturday 11 September, 10am until 5pm and Sunday 12 September, 2pm until 5pm
    This 14th Century Grade 1 listed church will be open to visitors. Historical information will be available. Notable features of the building include an enormous door, six feet by nine, said to have come from the ruined priory of Ulverscroft, complete with its 13th century ironwork. The church overlooks and can be accessed from Thornton Reservoir via the public footpath that runs through the churchyard. No booking required

And for those who love motor heritage, Hinckley BID are holding their 10th annual Motor Show throughout Hinckley Town Centre on Sunday 19 September from 10am to 4:30pm which is free to attend.  

All events are free to attend, booking required only where stated. For details of all participating venues (heritageopendays.org.uk)