Southampton is rich in heritage and every September, you can discover Southampton as part of Heritage Open Days. Across the maritime city, many venues swing open their doors for you to explore for free. There is also a great opportunity to meet and find out more about the many groups and organisations who are passionate about Southampton’s past.

Heritage Open Days brings together over 2500 organisations across England as part of the largest FREE history and culture festival, Around 40,000 volunteers help to run over 5,000 events. All of which aim to celebrate local community heritage and to discover new places and experiences.

Here is a brief round up for Southampton’s busiest heritage weekend of the year:

Discover Southampton on Saturday 15th September

Heritage Open Day at Tudor House and Garden

10am – 5pm (Last entry 4.15pm) FREE ENTRY

Explore Southampton’s most important historic building with over 800 years of history in the heart of Southampton’s Old Town quarter. There will be drop in craft activities to enjoy plus the garden and tea room. Small charges will apply for some activities.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres City Open Day

10am – 6pm,

Join Nuffield Southampton Theatres for free activities as part of The Bungalow Café Festival and Heritage Open Days. See behind the scenes at Southampton’s new theatre, NST City in Above Bar Street, Guildhall Square. All events are FREE and suitable for all ages. Please book your FREE place on a backstage tour (10.30am, 11.00am, 11.30am, 12.00pm, 12.30pm)

Bitterne Local History Society

10am – 6pm,

View displays and artefacts from bygone Bitterne, which for will evoke memories of an era before the bypass was constructed. Our shop front displays are based on real shops from the past and will educate the young and bring back memories to those who are a bit older. See below for FREE vintage bus services.

Medieval Merchant’s House

11.00am – 4.00pm. FREE ENTRY

Explore the former home and shop of a medieval merchant and his family, with its replica period furnishings, dress up in medieval clothes, and follow the free children’s house guide at  the 1290.

Southampton Heritage Fayre at St Jospeh’s Catholic Church Hall

10.00am – 4.00pm,

Head to 48 Bugle Street for the Heritage Fayre with displays, information and heritage activities by numerous heritage organisations and groups including: Bevios Mount History Group,  Bitterne Local History, Black History, City of Southampton Society, Friends of Town Quay Park, Hampshire Industrial Archaeology Society, Mayflower 400, Mayflower Guides, Sarah Siddons Fan Club, Southampton Archaeology Society, Southampton Commons and Parks Protection Society, SS Shieldhall, See Southampton Guides,  Southampton Tour Guides Association and U3A

St Micheal’s Fayre

11.00am – 4.00pm,

Situated in St Michael’s Square in front of the oldest building (which is still in use in the city). Founded in 1070, it is the only church still active out of the five which were originally within the medieval walled town. The Fayre will include games & activities; bric-a-brac; bookstall; homemade cakes; refreshments; raffle; fairground organ; live music. Something for everyone!

Eastern Docks

Steamship Shieldhall, Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration, and the Vintage Tram Workshop will be open at the Eastern Docks

Southampton Heritage Open Day Vintage Bus

A FREE Heritage Bus Services provided by the Southampton & District Transport Heritage Trust will be operating between venues: Tudor House and Garden / Bitterne Local History / St Michael’s Church / Vintage Tram Workshop (Eastern Docks) / Steamship Shieldhall (Eastern Docks) / Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust (Eastern Docks) / St Joseph’s Flower Festival.

Operating every 30 minutes from 10.00am – 3.30pm, from special bus stop in Castle Way, rear of St Michael’s Church.

Visitors must not enter or leave the Eastern Docks, except by way of the free bus service.
Find out more about Heritage Open Days