We’ve rounded up ten of the best historical gems that non-National Trust members, as well as members, will be able to visit for free.
5. Ormesby Hall, Middlesbrough, September 15 & 16, 11am–5pm
Uncover the family stories of this Georgian mansion, from wicked Sir James to the last owners Jim and Ruth Pennyman. Discover new exhibitions, Heartbreak Hill and Boosbeck Industries, which tell the tales of how Jim and Ruth helped the unemployed miners in the 1930s, explore the servants’ quarters in the Victorian laundry and kitchen or discover the model railway layouts in old wing. On 16 September you can also join a free guided tour of the house at 11am or 1pm and discover stories of war, love and bankruptcy. Outside, take a stroll in the garden to see the last summer flowers, admire the recreated Victorian fernery, challenge one another to a game of croquet, let off steam in the natural play area or look for wildlife. Free guided tours on 16 September at 11am and 3pm.
Photo: Google Images
6. Washington Old Hall, September 20 & 21, 10am–5pm
At the heart of historic Washington village this picturesque stone manor house and its gardens provide a tranquil oasis, reflecting middle-class life following the turbulence of the English Civil War. The building incorporates parts of the original medieval home of George Washington's direct ancestors, and it is from here that the family took their surname of 'Washington'. Find out what life was like for the James family who lived at Washington Hall in the 17th century and don’t miss a rare chance to see a small selection of objects relating to food and lifestyle including a cook book first published in 1660.
Photo: Sunderland Echo
7. George Stephenson's Birthplace, Wylam, September 17 & 22, 1–3pm
Open especially for Heritage Open Days, discover the birthplace of great railway pioneer George Stephenson, and explore the tiny house where he lived until he was eight years old. At the time of George’s birth in 1781, the house – known as High Street House – was actually divided into tenements for four families, while just outside ran Wylam’s historic wooden waggon way, which took coal from Wylam Colliery to the Tyne quayside.
Photo: National Trust
8. Gibside, Gateshead, September 14 & 15, 9.30am–6pm (9pm on Saturday)
Gibside is one of a few surviving 18th-century designed landscapes and was created with two things in mind: spectacular views and 'wow' moments. Today, you can escape the hustle and bustle of modern life within 600 acres of gardens, woodland and countryside – perfect for wildlife spotting. Discover winding paths, views over the Derwent Valley and refreshing open spaces. Escape along the tree-lined avenue and explore the gardens where’ll you find miles of tranquil walks and picnic spots, or enjoy family fun at Strawberry Castle play area. Look out for a Neo-classical chapel, restored stable block and grand ruin. There’s also a rare opportunity to glimpse inside the crypt over this weekend, open especially for Heritage Open Days.
Photo: National Trust