Heritage Open Days Celebrates Edible England

10th-19th September 2021

Heritage Open Days (HODs), England’s largest festival of history and culture, will return in September. This year, with support from players of People’s Postcode English foodLottery, HODs is celebrating England’s culinary customs. 

Each year, places across the country throw open their doors and give people the chance to see hidden places and try new experiences for free. This year’s theme is a tasty one: Edible England.

We are increasingly becoming a nation of foodies and what we eat and drink is at the heart of much of our history and culture, our communities and daily lives. The theme will inspire a broad spectrum of events and activities, from revealing culinary tastes of the past, to going behind-the-scenes of modern production methods, exploring the customs and quirks that have developed around what we eat and drink, as well as the fascinating history of some of our regional and national specialities.

Through a mix of in-person and digital events, communities will celebrate the stories of the places, plates and produce that are important to them, both locally and further afield.

The event directory launches in June but to give you food for thought, culinary highlights include:

  • Discover the weird and wonderful foody traditions that took place in graveyards during the CemeTreats & Funeral Feasts tour at Wombwell Cemetery in Barnsley

  • Sample the ‘Taste of the Toon’ as you eat and drink your way around Graingertown in Newcastle upon Tyne

  • Picnic like a Victorian in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire; examples of traditional fare will be shared in advance so you can channel your inner Mrs Beeton when creating your hamper

  • Learn about the history of food and class in Britain from Pen Volgler, the author of Scoff, at a talk in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

Sarah Holloway, Programme Manager for Heritage Open Days, said: “Heritage Open Days is about connecting people, and nothing brings us together like food and drink. We’re excited to see what innovative events our organisers dish up and look forward to sharing new sites and stories as well as welcoming people back to some of England’s most vibrant places.”

“Last year, for the first time, organisers embraced technology to deliver virtual tours, Q&As and behind the scenes experiences. We’re thrilled to encourage both in-person and online events again this year, so organisers and visitors can come together wherever they are.”

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said, “This year’s edible theme echoes the importance of people coming together to enjoy a shared experience after a very challenging year. I’m delighted that support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is enabling people to get involved in new experiences to celebrate their heritage, community and history together.”  

Heritage Open Days is coordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Every single Heritage Open Days event is free, including access to many sites that usually charge for admission. 

For further information, and to register your event, visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk.