In celebration of England’s largest festival of history and culture, dozens of volunteers around Manchester organise and host an array of fascinating one-off events, tours and workshops around the city’s most significant landmarks and venues.

Here are some of the best Heritage Open Days events around Manchester, running until Sun 17 Sep.

Open Day | HOME | Sat 16 Sep | 10am-4pm

On Sat 16 Sep, HOME invites visitors to a free day of creative activities, talks, displays, quizzes, backstage tours and more, as well as a family film screening of The Princess Bride and special offers in the cafe and restaurant.

Check out the full programme using the link below.

2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN, Tel: 0161 200 1500
Throwing Open the Concert Doors | RNCM | Sun 17 Sep | 11am-4pm

Forming part of the RNCM’s 50th Birthday celebrations, Throwing Open the Concert Doors brings the historical hub of northern musical talent to life with a free drop-in day featuring walking tours, alumni stories, archive-inspired craft activities and access to the RNCM’s captivating Collection of Historic Musical Instruments.

Royal Northern College of Music, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9RD, Tel: 0161 907 5200
The Pankhurst Centre | Thu 14 Sep, Sun 17 Sep | 11am-4pm

On Thu 14 and Sun 17 Sep, The Pankhurst Centre hosts a family-friendly open day during which kids can embark on a creativity trail, make their own Suffragette keyring and discover more about the life and world-changing work of Emmeline Pankhurst.


Pankhurst Centre, 60-62 Nelson Street, Manchester, M13 9WP, Tel: 0161 273 5673
Northern Quarter Street Sign Talk and Typography Workshop | Manchester Craft and Design Centre | Sat 16 Sep | 11am-2pm

Led by artists Tim Rushton and Ian Curtin, creators of the iconic Northern Quarter street signs, this free ticketed workshop features a talk on their designs and compelling stories of Manchester Craft and Design Centre in the 80s and 90s, followed by a hands-on mono-printing session which allows guests to make and take home their own artworks.

Manchester Craft & Design Centre, 17 Oak Street, Manchester, M4 5JD, Tel: 0161 832 4274
Museum of Transport | Cheetham Hill | Sat 16 Sep - Sun 17 Sep | 10am-4.30pm

Once one of Manchester’s first bus garages, the grade-II listed Museum of Transport boasts a collection of over eighty noteworthy vehicles including fire engines, lorries and a prototype Metrolink tram, as well as an array of smaller objects and artifacts like ticket machines, uniforms and badges. Throughout the weekend, the museum welcomes guests for a free journey through Britain’s rich, innovative history of public transport, as well as the opportunity to enjoy a 40-minute bus ride.

Museum of Transport, Boyle Street, Manchester, M8 8UW, Tel: 0161 205 2122
Local History Walk | St. Ann's Square | Sun 17 Sep | 2pm

Organised by the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society and led by local historian Terry Wyke, this profoundly informative tour of St. Ann’s Square and its immediate surroundings explores the origins of Manchester’s popular shopping district, with detailed discussions of both the church and the original cotton exchange.

St Ann's Church, St Ann's Square, Manchester, M2 7LF
Architectural Tour | Withington Baths | Sat 16 Sep | 2pm

Now Manchester’s last working heritage pool, Withington Baths has recently undergone extensive refurbishment to resurrect its beloved Edwardian building after a lengthy state of disrepair, during which it was at risk of closure. On Sat 16 Sep, lead architect Simon Green hosts a one-off tour during which he discusses the careful, loving restorations to various aspects of the baths, including the pitched roof and stained-glass windows, while preserving its original character.

Withington Leisure Centre, 30 Burton Road, Manchester, M20 3EB
Smithills Hall | Bolton | Wed 13 Sep | 11am, 2pm

Standing grandly on the edge of the West Pennine Moors, Bolton’s beloved Grade-I listed stately home has also undergone a series of significant restorations since it opened as a museum in 1963. On Wed 13 Sep, Smithills invites visitors to drop in for a free guided tour brimming with romance and drama, with rooms and decorations charting its history since the 14th century.

Smithills Hall, Smithills Dean Road, Bolton, Greater Manchester, BL1 7NP, Tel: 01204 332370
East Lancashire Railway | Bury | Sun 17 Sep | 10am, 1pm

On Sun 17 Sep, the East Lancashire Railway celebrates Heritage Open Days with two substantial behind-the-scenes sessions, offering unprecedented access to the Castlecroft Sheds engine storage space, a tour of the platform, complimentary access to Bury Transport Museum and a walk around Undercroft.

There are a maximum of 12 spaces per tour, so book below to avoid disappointment.

East Lancashire Railway, Bolton Street Station, Bolton Street, Bury, Greater Manchester, BL9 0EY
Daisy Nook Canal History Walk |

Promising a gentle guided tour at strolling pace, the Daisy Nook Canal History Walk explores one of East Manchester’s most picturesque areas with a 90-minute round trip down the Hollinwood Branch Canal, and details its economic significance throughout history.

Daisy Nook Country Park, Stannybrook Road off Newmarket Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, M35 9WJ
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Fri 15 Sep 2023