Ruth Mitchell

North East heritage sites open their doors for free

A record number of heritage sites look set to open their doors for free on Saturday 9th September. Iconic heritage sites including Cragside near Rothbury in Northumberland, Gibside in Tyne and Wear, Barnard Castle in County Durham, and Ormesby Hall on Teesside will be among the North East’s top heritage sites participating in what promises to be the largest mass participation cultural event this year.

Across the country, more than 350 of the nation’s most familiar and most important heritage sites, including 19 sites in the North East, will be opened for free by English Heritage, the National Trust and Historic Houses Association (HHA).

Writer and actor Stephen Fry, who helped launch the History Matters campaign, described the day as a rally for heritage: “Now is the chance for every citizen young or old, rich or poor to vote with his or her feet and demonstrate their commitment to our heritage by visiting a property or historic site,” he said. “Vast numbers will prove that people believe ‘History Matters’ and that the built heritage is not just an elite middle-class pre-occupation but the passion of the entire nation.”

To find out more about participating properties and opening times in your area, visit www.heritageopendays.org or call 020 7539 7921 (lines are open until 8 September, Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm). For more information about the History Matters - pass it on campaign and how to become involved, visit: www.historymatters.org.uk.

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