ENGLAND’s largest celebration of culture and heritage will return in September with a host of events anticipated across Dorset.

Heritage Open Days, supported by the National Trust and players of People’s Postcode Lottery, is designed to encourage communities to celebrate their local history. The theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘astounding inventions’ with an eye to celebrating cutting-edge creations and the imaginative inventors behind them.

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This year the festival will run from September 9 until September 18 with thousands of volunteers getting involved. Since 1994, Heritage Open Days has been giving people the chance to explore hidden gems and try new experiences with all their events being free to access.

Liam Montgomery, Heritage Open Days Marketing & Projects Manager said: “We’re thrilled to be focusing on inventions for this year’s festival as they offer such an exciting lens for examining heritage. From the humble chocolate bar to the World Wide Web, England has an incredibly diverse history of innovation and discovery. We wanted to celebrate this by sharing stories from across the regions to really showcase the ingenuity and hard work behind them. Once again, we’re very excited to see what our community put together!”

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Last year more than 44,000 organisers and volunteers teamed up to run over 4,000 events across the country. A full line-up of events for this year is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

The recently restored 18th century Belmont country house in Lyme Regis has already confirmed its participation in the 2022 celebrations with free public open days on September 10 and 11. Highlights of previous years have included a showcase of the stunning Mapperton House & Gardens, a rare peek inside Clavell Tower and, an exploration of ‘Weymouth’s Hidden Heritage’ hosted by the team at Nothe Fort.

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said, “In supporting the festival this year, our players are helping bring communities together to share the stories of the people, places, and spaces important to them. We’re particularly looking forward to what we can learn from the country’s inventors and innovators, past and present.”