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Heritage Open Days 2019

13-22 September 2019

Heritage Open Days are a great opportunity to explore new places, seek out hidden treasures and enjoy the fantastic heritage South Gloucestershire has to offer, all for free.

Here’s what you can see:


Acton Court

Latteridge Road, Iron Acton, BS37 9TL
Friday 13 and Saturday 14 September 10.30am – 5pm
Sunday 15 September 10.30am – 1.30pm

Join us for a Blue Badge Guided Tour of the House and Grounds. Blue Badge guides tell the story of Acton Court, the Poyntz family who lived here, the monarchs they entertained and the state apartments they built for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Stay and enjoy refreshments in our delightful grounds.

Access: Tours are suitable for those aged 7+. There is uneven ground and uneven floors inside the house. Wheelchair access outside and on ground floor only. Please wear soft soled shoes.

Booking: Tour times – Friday 13 and Saturday 14 September: 11am, 11.30am, 12pm, 2pm, 2.30pm and 3pm; Sunday 15 September: 11am and 12pm. Please allow approximately an hour for the tour.   Admission free but please book a place at, email or phone 01454 228224.

***Due to exceptional demand, tours are now fully booked but Acton Court may be able to offer returns if places are cancelled. Alternatively, please come and enjoy tea in the gardens.***

Refreshments available.

Dyrham Park

Dyrham, Nr Bath, SN14 8ER
Saturday 14 September 10am – 5pm

Dyrham Park

Photo credit: National Trust, Sarah Fox

Explore walks around the 270-acre ancient deer park with far-reaching views right over to Wales. Step back in time as you step inside our 17th-century house containing rich fabrics, furniture, art and blue and white Dutch delftware from the time founder William Blathwayt spent working in Holland. Relax in the gardens filled with water features, formal 17th century-style borders, wildflowers and orchards. There’s a natural play area for young people to enjoy and plenty of refreshment opportunities including a tea-room and outdoor tea garden.

Access: The site is steep with some uneven surfaces so some parts of the parkland are unsuitable for wheelchairs and buggies. There is a free shuttle bus from the car park to and from the house and garden.

Refreshments available.


Pegasus House

Aerospace Avenue, Filton, BS34 7PA
Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September, 10am – 2pm

Pegasus House

Airbus will be opening its doors of the Grade II listed Pegasus House to the community. Pegasus House opened in April 1936 as the headquarters of the Bristol Aeroplane Company; famous visitors included Queen Mary, King George VI, Winston Churchill and Group Captain Douglas Bader.

Access: There is limited access for wheelchair users and buggies with only one lift servicing the building.

Booking: Booking essential. Please book via the Bristol Open Doors website at

Refreshments available.


Winterbourne Medieval Barn

Church Lane, Winterbourne, BS36 1SE
Saturday 14 September, 10am – 2pm: Cartshed Drop In with Barn Sounds installation and children’s craft activities
Sunday 15 September, 1pm – 5pm: Cartshed Drop In with Barn Sounds installation and children’s craft activities
Monday 16 September, 10am – 12noon: Adult mosaic taster – Free but please book via the website
Tuesday 17 September, 2pm – 3pm: Hard Hat Tours – Free but please book a time slot in advance via the website

Winterbourne Medieval Barn is undergoing a year of transformation as renovations take place on the main site. As part of Heritage Open Days we will be running Hard Hat tours taking you behind the scenes of the works in progress. This will be one of the few opportunities for members of the public to access the main site until it re-opens in Spring 2020.

If you’re unable to join us for a tour, you can always pop into the Cartshed to find out more about the work taking place. The Cartshed will also host our Barn Sounds Installation where you can hear some of the stories and memories from our volunteer team – who have been the driving source and the ‘People Power’ behind the Barn for years. We’ll also be running a crafts taster sessions for adults, and creative activities for our younger visitors. Check our website for more information. You could also combine your visit with a trip to neighbouring St Michael’s church which will be open over 14th and 15th.

Access: Please note if doing the Hard Hat Tours, the terrain is uneven so wear sensible footwear. The Barn is next door but one from the church. If driving, please park considerately up the lane, allowing space for emergency vehicle access.


Winterbourne Parish Church

Church Lane. Winterbourne, BS36 1SE
Saturday 14 September 10am – 12noon and Sunday 15 September 2 – 5pm

The Grade I listed Parish Church of St Michael dating from the late 12th century is still in use every week. The church with its 14th century tower and spire, contains much of interest. There are important 14th century wall paintings, several effigies and a brass, all commissioned by Sir Thomas Bradeston, a supporter of Edward III. The tower contains a ring of six bells, the heaviest weighing just over 1 ton, all cast in 1757. CCTV coverage will be available to show the bells in action; the tower will be open for visits to the ringing chamber. There will be displays on bell ringing and an opportunity to have a go.  Trail for children.

Access: Most of the area is wheelchair accessible.

Refreshments available.


Brandy Bottom Colliery

Adjacent to the Avon cycle path 410, to the south of Coxgrove Hill.
Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Brandy Bottom

Old Pit heapstead, chimney and Cornish Engine House from cycle path.

The site of the Brandy Bottom colliery has been a Scheduled Ancient Monument since 2001, as it is considered to be a rare example of the surface layout of a 19th Century coal mine. The first shaft was sunk in 1837, and the colliery closed in 1936.  The Avon Industrial Buildings Trust has been working on the conservation of the buildings since 2008, which had become derelict with the passing of time. Visitors can find out about the history of the colliery, and see the results of the conservation work during a 45 minute guided tour.

Access: Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.  This is a working conservation site, with unfenced drops of around 5m. It has uneven and/or muddy ground, slopes of varying length and steepness, and some steps.  As a result there is limited access for wheel chairs, and visitors should wear stout shoes.


St. Mary’s Church

Castle Street, Thornbury, BS35 1HQ
Saturday 14 September, 1 – 5pm

St Mary's Thornbury
St. Mary’s – Thornbury is a beautiful example of Norman Transitional style Architecture, with later additions and replacements through the Victorian Age. The traditional Perpendicular Style pertaining from Edward the IV style, is badged with his “Sun Splendor” stain glass window. A traditional Limestone Baptismal Font from around the year 800 is still used in our Christenings today. We have examples of Tyndale brass, a chancel with fine carvings, and beautiful examples of Victorian Choir stalls with the carved wooden Poppyheads. Our Bell tower will be open for exploration if you can make it to the top to see the surrounding views.

Ride and Stride in support of Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust also takes place on Saturday 14th September this year. Our Benefice Churches are open to welcome all visitors and especially those participating in Ride and Stride.

Access: Bathroom access available. The church has ramped wheelchair access to come in and around the church.  However, it is not possible to get up the tower for wheelchairs or those with buggies.  Tower access is for those who are not feint of heart and over 8yrs of age.

Refreshments available.


Frenchay Village Museum

Begbrook Park, Frenchay, BS16 1SZ
Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September 2 – 5pm

Frenchay Museum

A treasure hunt around the village of Frenchay. An opportunity to learn more about the historic village. Adults receive a free copy of ‘The Grand Tour of Frenchay’ and children get a bar of Fry’s chocolate.

The museum has disabled access but the walk has changes of surfaces. Suitable for buggies.

Ram Hill Colliery

Opposite 1 Railways Cottages, Broad Lane, Coalpit Heath, BS36 2TY

Sunday 15 September 10.30am – 4.30pm

Ram Hill Colliery

Remains of a 19th century coal mine including engine house, horse gin and Dramway terminus. Ram Hill Colliery is a historic open site registered with Heritage England.

Wheelchair access to most of the site. Limited car parking by the side of Christmas Cottage. Care needs to be taken under foot. Please wear sensible shoes. Children and dogs must be supervised.

Refreshments available.

Roll-Royce Heritage Trust – Bristol Branch

Sir Roy Fedden Heritage Centre, Rolls-Royce plc, Filton, BS34 7QE
Saturday 21 September 9am – 1pm

Roll-Royce Heritage Trust - Bristol Branch

This is an opportunity to visit the Bristol Branch of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, which is not normally open to the general public. On view will be examples of many of the Bristol aero engines built at the Patchway site since 1920. The display includes the Bristol Jupiter, Mercury and Hercules piston engines, many gas turbines and an Olympus 593 from Concorde, together with the unique Pegasus engine from the Harrier ‘jump jet’.

Access: The tour is not suitable for children under 10 and they will not be permitted to attend. Children between 10 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The Centre has numerous closely packed exhibits and it does not have museum standard facilities for public access and viewing.

Please note that, as the centre is situated on a secure site, the Trust will require contact details and nationality for all attendees, which should be provided when booking via Eventbrite. Parking will be available adjacent to Gate 5 of the R-R site, off Gypsy Patch Lane. For satnav guidance, please use BS34 6QA.  There is a level walk of several minutes to the Centre: consequently, if the weather is inclement, suitable clothing will be required. Attendees will be escorted all times during the four guided tours at 9am, 10am, 11am and 12pm.

Booking: More details about the event are available on the national Heritage Open Days website. Entrance is free, but pre-registration and booking is essential, which must be done online via the Eventbrite website.  Bookings will open at 9am on Monday 8th July and close at 6pm on Friday 6th September.   For information and advice only, the organiser, Mr Graham Jeffery, may be contacted on 07944 406699 or at


Thornbury Town Hall

35 High Street, Thornbury, BS35 2AR
Saturday 21 September, 10am – 4pm

Thornbury Town Hall

Enjoy a guided tour around the Town Hall which is also known as the Old Police Station with a history of the building’s past use as a police station and a court. The tour also includes a look at many interesting artefacts from those times as well as some from the current use of the building by Thornbury Town Council.

Access: The main entrance has a couple of steps, but there is alternative access via a ramp at the side of the building which can be opened up on request.  There is also a lift in the building for those who would not be able to use the stairs up to the first floor.


Kingswood Heritage Museum and Grotto

Tower Lane, Warmley, BS30 8XT
Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September 11am – 5pm

The Museum and gardens at Warmley have developed on the site of William Champion’s 18th century zinc and brass works and give a fascinating insight into both Champion’s achievements and the social and industrial history of the Kingswood coalfield. Trace the rise and decline of the area’s nationally important industries. On the Sunday, the grottoes in Champion’s gardens will also be open.

Refreshments available


Oldwood Colliery

Oldwood Pits, Tanhouse Lance, Rangeworthy, BS37 7PZ
Sunday 22 September 10am – 4.30pm

Oldwood pits

Former 19th century colliery with pit shaft, mine office, drift mine and display of associated artefacts. Guided tours at 10am, 11am, 12noon, 2pm and 3pm.

Access: This is still a working site, though not coal mining; part of the tour is uneven ground and not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies. Some is accessible to all. Please wear sensible shoes.

Booking: Booking essential. To book, please call 01454 228160 and leave a message with your name, telephone number, which tour and how many people. The organiser will contact you to confirm. Numbers limited to 15 per tour.

Refreshments available


Thornbury and District Museum Guided Walk

Start outside St Mary’s Parish Church, Castle Street, Thornbury, BS35 1HQ
Sunday 22 September, 2 – 4.30pm

“God, Gossip, Scandal and Riots”. Discover some of the lively, outrageous and shocking events in the town’s past, revealing a side of Thornbury’s history that you never knew existed!  We start at the Parish Church and go around the town centre, finishing at the Museum in Chapel Street.

Access: Suitable for those aged 16+. The walk is on street pavements and there is a moderate incline on Castle Street and High Street.

Booking: Advance booking essential. The tour is limited to 20 people.  Bookings can be made in person at the Museum (open Tuesdays to Fridays 1 – 4pm, Saturdays 10am – 4pm) or by phone 01454 857774 or email

Please note: Due to the historic nature of these venues, there is limited disabled access to some sites. Details are given in the listing but if you have any questions, please contact the venues directly or check their websites for further details.

All details were correct at the time of publication, please check individual venues websites for the most up to date information.

Apologies from St Saviour’s Church, Coalpit Heath, BS36 2RP who are shown as opening in our printed brochure on Friday 13 September 11.15am – 2pm, Saturday 14 September 10am – 4pm and Sunday 15 September 11am – 2pm. Unfortunately, they are now undertaking repair work to flood damage in September.

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