An array of complimentary events will honour Sunderland’s abundant history as a component of this year’s Heritage Open Days, which stands as England’s most extensive festival highlighting history and culture.

The festival begins Friday 8 September, and the free events will run until Sunday 17 September.

This year’s theme is ‘Creativity Unwrapped’ – it will showcase our history of creativity and celebrate the way it has shaped our culture.

Visitors in Sunderland can enjoy a programme of events including talks on important heritage sites, guided tours, and visits to places significant to the city’s history, cultural and industrial heritage.

There are opportunities to immerse yourself in the creative history of Sunderland’s communities, with an art exhibition based on residents’ memories of living in Southwick and a film screening about the gripping story of Hetton’s railway, collieries, and its vibrant community.

Visitors can take a vintage bus tour around some of Sunderland’s heritage attractions including Hylton Castle, Ryhope Engines Museum, Washington F Pit Museum and Bowes Railway Museum. There are interactive experiences on offer, including a workshop where you can transform a recycled jar into a work of art, or join Dr Ian Kille to discover the secrets held in the stone of Sunderland’s beautiful buildings in a geology walk.

Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, Councillor John Price, said: “This year’s Heritage Open Days offers a great mix of activities for people of all ages with a wide range of interests. This is a fantastic opportunity for Sunderland residents and visitors to learn more about the history and creativity of the city from local experts and a chance to see behind the scenes in some of our most important buildings and heritage sites.

“Places will fill up fast for these events so I’d encourage everyone to take a look at the full events programme online and book to secure a spot.”

Tracey Mienie, Chair of Heritage Sunderland Partnership, said: “Whether you want to hear fascinating stories about our heritage sites, see hidden gems of our city, or get hands-on with some creative activities, there is something for everyone in this programme. Don’t miss this chance to discover Sunderland’s rich history and culture with local experts and enthusiasts. Book your place online today and join the fun!”

A full programme of events is available at Heritage Open Days 2023 – MySunderland

To find out more please visit

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