Sparkling Bradford | Heritage Open Days

Put on your wellies, grab your coat and step into the outdoors – the Heritage Open Days theme for 2020 is Hidden Nature, celebrating our extraordinary natural heritage. There’s some exciting FREE events – both online and in venues.  What will you discover in Bradford?!


Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,000 organisations, 5,500 events and 46,000 volunteers. Every year in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences. 


Our free digital heritage trail allow you to discover some of the hidden secrets that Bradford has to offer.  The self-guided walk takes you round Bradford City Centre and highlights the best examples of  architecture. It looks at buildings of all ages and styles – from medieval to the modern, to show how Bradford has developed over the ages.  You can follow on your smartphone – all you need is a mobile internet signal. When you load the trail on your web browser, it acts like an app to take you through the trail. 

Bradford City Centre Heritage Trail (Mobile Version)


Every day through the Heritage Open Days Bradford Cathedral will be launching a brand new video exploring the Hidden Nature of the Cathedral, alongside other online events and attractions!


Over the weekend there will be displays showing the history of the Moravian Church in general and the church at Lower Wyke. A short tour of the settlement is included. The church registers and diaries will be available for inspection.


Download the ‘self-guided walk’ (pdf.) around the Manningham area of Bradford. The online walk will include fascinating buildings and people from the past and present, plus some future plans. You can either do the walk from home by reading the text and seeing the images or, if you wish, one can download the online file and use it to do a self-guided walk. However, there will be no guided walk this year.


This is the second time St Mary’s has taken part in Heritage Open Days and the church will be open to visitors, on Saturday 19 September, to sit or wander, or light a candle. There is an optional guided tour including time for questions. 


This year for Heritage Open Days, why not take a walk around Ilkley’s tree lined streets and visit the site of each blue plaque? From the leafy, spacious boulevards of Wells Road and Queens Rd to the artisan town below the railway, you can discover our hidden history.

Use the Ilkley Blue Plaques (pdf.) sketch map to enjoy a walk around some or all of Ilkley’s blue plaques.  For the last 15 years, Ilkley Civic Society has been commemorating Ilkley’s notable citizens and important historic buildings in a series of blue plaques. The 20th blue plaque is about to be unveiled.


Come and learn about the historic Manor House set in its courtyard garden. At the back is a grass expanse with trees over the remains of Olicana, Ilkley’s Roman fort. As you walk round look for images of visiting birds in the garden.   

For the full listing of events taking place over Heritage Open Days 11 – 20 September visit Experience local history, architecture and culture, go explore!

For ongoing activities don’t forget to follow us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and sign up to the visitBradford newsletter to receive the latest posts to your inbox.