Heritage Open Days

Guildford's Heritage Open Days has one of the biggest number of activities and events in the UK, giving visitors the opportunity to explore Guildford's fantastic architecture and culture.

Abbots Hospital Heritage Open Day
The event allows visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee. Heritage Open Days also includes guided tours, activities, talks and exhibitions, focusing on local architecture and culture so there is always plenty to see and do.

For the first time in the history of Heritage Open Days, nationally the festival in 2019 will be running for ten consecutive days - 13 to 22 September - with organisers choosing when to open and participate. The festival in Guildford is sponsored by Sanlam and will be held from 13 to 15 September with an additional event on Thursday 19 September with a talk on George Abbot and the Almshouses of Guildford - an archivist's view hosted by The Guildford Society and The West Surrey Area Arts Society.

In 2018 nationally the biggest hubs (by number of events registered in 2018 with the national organisers) were Norwich (206), Oxford (124), Sheffield (114), Gloucester (113) and Leeds (106).

Guildford had 91 events during the festival, which puts us in eighth place, compared to all town and cities in England. This is a fantastic achievement considering that the other places featured on the list are cities!

Effingham Heritage Open Days
Albury Estate Heritage Open Days

Useful guides

Our icon event brochure [4.46MB] is now available to download. You will also be able to collect a copy from Guildford Tourist Information Centre in the High Street from approximately mid August.

You can also view an online event directory which is published via the national organisers of Heritage Open Days. 

Why not find out more about Effingham and download a copy of the icon Effingham Heritage Trail [2.03MB]  and also icon The Bishop's Walk [1.32MB]  which provides an opportunity to explore the area.

About Heritage Open Days

The event is coordinated locally by Guildford Borough Council, The Guildford Society and the Guildford Town Guides.

  • Heritage Open Days is England's largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,500 organisations, 5,000 events and 40,000 volunteers.

  • Heritage Open Days is coordinated nationally by the National Trust with support from players of People's Postcode Lottery.

How you can get involved

If you own a property or represent an organisation within the borough and would like to get involved in future Heritage Open Days, we would love to hear from you. Alternatively if you would like to volunteer to help steward participating properties, please get in touch by emailing managementsupport@guildford.gov.uk.