MANY of the 16 historic landmarks across Coventry taking part in the 26th national Heritage Open Days will this year be offering socially-distanced virtual tours.
England’s largest festival of history and culture, which runs from September 11 to 20 September, will include venues where you can visit for free in person or be taken on a virtual tour, mindful of government Covid-19 guidelines.
This year’s theme is Hidden Nature with areas of the countryside normally closed to the public, gardens, green spaces, urban parks, allotments, orchards, vineyards, farms and forests being opened up, as well as built heritage.
Coventry has three types of events this year – in person events, digital events and guided walking tours. Most of the ‘in person’ events and guided walking tours need to be pre-booked.
Digital content includes virtual tours of St Mary’s Guildhall, The Herbert Undercroft, Coventry Archives, Holy Trinity Church and the Gurdwara Guru Nanek Prakash where you can learn more about a Gurdwara and it’s role in the city.
And this Friday, September 11, there is also a very special live streaming event celebrating Dame Goodyver’s Day, a traditional feast day given by the Guild of Cappers and Felt Makers many centuries ago, and now celebrated by The Godiva Trust.
Walking tours include a Coventry tour, Literary tour and Medieval tour starting from the Council House and Historic Coventry Trust has organised fascinating ‘Hard Hat’ tours in their buildings undergoing restoration work.
HERITAGE OPEN DAYS: IN PERSON EVENTS
- Bagot’s Castle, Church Road, Baginton, CV8 3AR – A castle lost for hundreds of years. The original building is believed to have been constructed on the site in the 11th century, at the time of King Henry I.
- Coombe Abbey Country Park (parking charges apply), Brinklow Road, Binley, Coventry, CV3 2AB – 500 acres of beautiful gardens, woodland, lakeside walks and bird watching all set against the stunning Coombe Abbey. Self-guided trail.
- Drapers Hall/Historic Coventry Hard Hat Tours, Bayley Lane, Coventry, CV1 5RN, Sun Sept 20 – Coventry’s finest Regency building. It was built in 1832 as social rooms for the Coventry Drapers’ Company, who moved out in 1960.
- Swanswell Gate/Historic Coventry Hard Hat Tours, Hales St, Coventry CV1 1JA – Despite its prominent location in the city centre and significance in Coventry’s history, the gatehouse has remained closed to the public for many years.
- Charterhouse/Historic Coventry Hard Hat Tours, London Road, (opposite London Road Cemetery), Coventry, CV1 2JR – The Charterhouse Priory of St Anne started as a Carthusian monastery in 1381 and includes the remains of the original priory quarters of lodgings and coach house. Inside there are 15th and 16th century wall paintings.
- Anglican Chapel, London Rd Cemetery/Historic Coventry Hard Hat Tours, London Road, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 2JT – The chapel survives unaltered since its construction in 1847 and is a significant building in a Norman Romanesque style.
- Coventry Transport Museum, Millennium Place, Hale Street, Coventry – Free admission for all on Sept 12 & Sept 13 to see the largest collection of British road transport in the world.
- St John the Baptist Church, Fleet St, Coventry – This beautiful church is open for visitors and 30 minute tours will be available.
- Coventry Watch Museum, Court 7, Rear of Shakespeare Public House, Medieval Spon Street, Coventry, CV1 3BA – Based on Medieval Spon Street in the three remaining 19th century cottages built in 1820 where there is also a Second World War brick air raid shelter. Five of the six rooms in the cottages will be open to the public to view. All buildings contain clockmaking and watchmaking artefacts and information on this celebrated industry of Coventry.
- The Phil Silvers Archival Museum, Fargo Village, Coventry – a museum founded nearly five years ago dedicated to one of TV’s first pioneering comedians (The Phil Silvers Show 1955-1959) who was an incurable anglophile.
Coun Abdul Salam Khan, deputy leader of Coventry City Council and cabinet member for events said, “I’m delighted Coventry’s Heritage Open Days are able to go ahead this year. Venues have had to think creatively and be aware of the latest guidelines to keep visitors safe but we have still managed to create an interesting showcase both digitally and physically with tours and some venues open. I hope you can find something of interest and be amazed at the treasures we have in the city.”