Reading’s annual celebration of our heritage is going ahead this September with an exciting programme of in-person and, for the first time, digital events to showcase the diversity of buildings, people and natural heritage in and around Reading.
Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture and takes place this year between 11-20 September. All events are completely free to take part. Reading event organisers have responded to the challenge of COVID restrictions with a wide range of events, many of which embrace the theme of this year’s festival, Hidden Nature on our doorstep, and include digital only events.
Confirmed already are walking tours looking at Reading’s influential women throughout history; an open day for Wire Mill at Southcote Lock on the Kennet; pond dipping and wildflower hunting at Lousehill Copse; a walking tour of Reading’s heritage trees; building “bug hotels” in The Artists’ Garden at Brock Keep; historic former armoury and gatehouse to Brock Barracks. All in-person events are small group, socially distanced events following COVID guidelines. Please check before travelling as you may need to book to attend.
This year, in a first for Heritage Open Days, there will be a series of digital events, allowing people to enjoy the wonder of our heritage from the comfort of their own homes. Event organisers are making the most of the new digital options available with a series of events including; a Zoom illustrated talk highlighting some of the outstanding memorials found in Reading; hidden nature online from the local Wildlife Trust; a Twitter conference on industrial archaeology; a virtual exploration of Reading Old Cemetery; a series of videos exploring the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology and a talk about peregrine falcons.
More events will be added over the next few weeks in the lead up to the festival.
Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director, Reading UK, said: “Heritage Open Days is about connecting people so we can share in the amazing stories of the places, spaces, nature, heritage and history around us. The last few months have shown us how online events can bring us together even when we have to remain apart, and we are delighted that this year’s festival will include both socially-distanced in-person events as well as a number of digital-only events streamed through Reading’s new digital arts platform readingculturelive.”
Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture. Heritage Open Days is coordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Every single Heritage Open Days event is free.
All events taking part in Reading will be listed on www.whatsonreading.com, Reading’s arts, culture and heritage listings website from early September. Many of the digital events in Reading will be streamed through www.readingculturelive.co.uk, a streaming site for art, culture and heritage events in Reading.