For the first time in its 24-year history, Heritage Open Days – England’s largest festival of culture and history – will take place over two consecutive weekends in September- 6th -9th AND 13th -16th.

This year, in recognition of the centenary of the Universal Suffrage Act, there will be hundreds of events taking place on the theme of ‘Extraordinary Women’ .

There are 14 FREE events listed for the Isle of Wight. See https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk for full details-how to book walks etc.

1.Newport Roman Villa- Saturday 8 September: 1100 – 1500 explore Roman history in Newport.

2.Museum of Island History, Guildhall, NewportThursday 6 September: 1000 – 1500– history of the Isle of Wight from fossils to festivals housed in John Nash designed building.

  1. Saturday 15th September from 10:00 a.m. St. Mary’s Hospital, Newport. Island Healthcare Past and Present celebrating NHS70. In collaboration with the County Records Office and Carisbrooke Castle Museum this exhibition shows items relating to Island healthcare. Tours of the St. Mary’s hospital site are also planned.

4.St Mary’s Church, Carisbrooke. Saturday 8 September: 1000-1330-Guided walks at church dating back to 12th century. Tours of church interior or churchyard, each hour. St Mary’s offers a range of architectural styles and features.

5.Heritage Steam Railway Havenstreet. Thursday 13 September: 0930-1700: Friday 14 September: 0930-1700: Saturday 15 September: 0930-1700: Sunday 16 September: 0930-1700- A full day’s entertainment- Explore the Train Story Discovery Centre, Shop, Café, play areas and Bird of Prey display.

6.Humphry Repton Bicentenary Walk at St John’s, Ryde. Saturday 15 September: 1400-1700. Start Appley Car Park, Ryde. Walk led by the Isle of Wight Gardens Trust explores the St John’s Estate originally landscaped by Repton and dating from the late 18th century. Walk will finish at St John’s House – now the site of Oakfield Primary School – where there will be an exhibition of children’s work on the landscape of St John’s. Walk- bookable.

7.Celebrating Sandown – PLUTO & the Pavilion-Browns Golf Course, Culver Parade, Sandown. Saturday 15 September: 1000-1400: Sunday 16 September: 1000-1400. The Grade 2 Pavilion in Yaverland is a testament to engineering ingenuity including the Pipeline Under the Ocean (PLUTO) that fuelled the D-Day landings.

8.Celebrating Sandown – Recharging the Battery-Sandown Barracks Battery, Talbot Road, Sandown. Sunday 16 September: 1100-1400 –Exploring above, below and around the site of Sandown Barracks Battery and Gardens built to defend Britain against sea-borne attack.

9.Celebrating Sandown – Wild About Wight Heritage Walks-Sandown Library- Thursday 13 September: 1000 – 1630- Join historian Richard Smout on guided heritage walks celebrating the architecture, landmarks and built heritage of Sandown: 10am Exploring Sandown High Street and Esplanade: 12noon Exploring Lower Sandown and St John’s Road:2pm Exploring Wilkes Road, Grafton Road and Fitzroy Street: 3.30pm Exploring Sandown High Street and Esplanade. Numbers are limited. Book a place by contacting Claire Hector at claire@vectishousing.co.uk or by calling Vectis Housing reception on 01983 525985.

10.Celebrating Sandown – Browns Golf Course- Culver Parade, Sandown. (pictured above) Friday 14 September: 1000-1600: Saturday 15 September: 1000-1600: Sunday 16 September: 1000-1600-Celebrity-designed courses and a part in the PLUTO story, Browns Café & Golf Course will be offering a glimpse into its fascinating heritage with displays and the chance for visitors to play the courses. (Bookable)


11.Celebrating Sandown – Wild About Wight Sand Painting Art Workshop-Sandown Library. Thursday 13 September: 1000-1230. (Booking required). Make a snapshot of Sandown using local coloured sands to create your own ‘marmotinto’ sand painting with inspiration from modern day views, heritage images and postcards.

  1. St Alban the Martyr Church, St Alban’s Road, Upper Ventnor Sunday 9 September: 1030-1530. A fine example of an Arts & Crafts church in the Basilica style. Built in 1923 it was the late Sir John Betjeman’s favoured church on the island.
  2. Ventnor Heritage Centre, Spring Hill, Ventnor. Sunday 16 September: 13:30 to 16:30. Explore Ventnor’s fascinating history from the 1800’s to today through photographs. DVDs, artefacts and a model railway.
  3. Ventnor Winter Gardens Pier Street, Ventnor. Saturday 15 September: 1300-1700: Sunday 16 September: 1300-1700-An iconic mixed- use art deco venue in a stunning position on the cliffs overlooking the English Channel. Regular tours will take you behind the scenes where you can hear tales of past productions and interesting happenings.

In addition to these events, although not under the Heritage Open Days banner, the Women’s Institutes of East Cowes and Whippingham have organised an event to celebrate the centenary of the Universal Suffrage Act. Businesses in East Cowes are taking part and on 15th September there will be a parade around the town starting from the Recreation Ground at 12.45pm. Girlguiding IW members are taking part in this parade.