10 days and 69 free events
Gosport, a historic town with 16 conservation areas, 13 scheduled monuments and over 500 listed buildings, staged 69 unique events reflecting the town’s cultural and military heritage this year. Heritage Open Days ran from 10-19 September and saw over 16,000 visits by people enjoying forts, churches, Naval buildings, graveyards and ancient woodlands, many of which are generally closed to the public. Visitors also enjoyed talks, guided walks, entertainment, exhibitions and digital experiences highlighting Gosport’s rich heritage, social history and culture, all of which were free.
Terry Rhodes, Chair of Gosport Heritage Open Days, said:
“Despite Covid anxiety we had 40 more events than last year and visit numbers were up by 30%. The national theme was ‘Edible England,’ so we told the local story of Feeding the Navy in Royal Clarence Victualling Yard and encouraged visits to historic areas growing produce to feed the community, such as Rectory Allotments and the Haslar Memorial Gardens.”
“Feedback shows that 93% of visitors found the events either enjoyable or highly enjoyable. For 2022 we are planning new events to inspire younger people and families to join this community-led festival, which unites the public, private, military and voluntary sectors in sharing heritage stories.”
Next year’s Heritage Open Days will run from 9-18 September 2022 and the organisers are now calling for more people and organisations to share their passion and knowledge. These could cover celebrating 100 years of Gosport Borough or Gosport’s innovations & inventions.
2021 saw over 220 volunteers making the events happen and we would love more people to get involved. To get started people should visit: Open Your Doors in 2022! or pop into Gosport Tourist Information Centre for a chat.
Heritage Open Days works closely with the Gosport Access Group to make as many events as possible accessible to people with disabilities and Gosport offers one of the most accessible Heritage Open Days programmes in the country.
Gosport, which was a pioneer for Heritage Open Days nearly 30 years ago, offered visits to favourites like Fort Blockhouse, Fort Brockhurst, HMS Sultan, Royal Haslar Hospital and the Institute of Naval Medicine.