Seven things to do for free at York’s Heritage Open Days

A craftsman at work in the York Minster Stoneyard. Photograph: York Minster

The Heritage Open Days are back – and with them, the chance to experience history up close and for free.

Every September some 40,000 volunteers across England organise 5,000 events to celebrate our fantastic history and culture. You can learn more on the Heritage Open Days website.

Lots of places are involved in and around York. You can see a full list here.

But here are a few to start you off…

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See inside York Minster’s award winning Stoneyard and learn about the ancient craft skills used by its stonemasons and joiners to preserve the 800-year-old cathedral.

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Go along and see Treasurer’s House for free including the demolition and restoration display and new this summer – the oddities trail. Plus the ghost cellar tours will be free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Volunteer guides will show you around the 500 year old tower, where the Postern gatekeeper lived with his family. Some of the original battlements still have mason’s marks.

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Lots of fun historic things to see and do – watch a civil war muster and talk to a Viking. A Grade I listed building, the Red Tower dates back to 1490 and is the only brick built tower on the medieval city walls.

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Visit the greenhouses, plant sales, see the nursery narrow gauge railway and model railway and enjoy refreshments with homemade cakes. Children can have their photo taken sitting on one of our engines.

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A warm arts and crafts house full of memories, where you can sit down in the drawing room, curl up with the Terry Times, pour yourself a sherry and feel at home. New displays on show throughout the house chart the highs and lows of the Terry’s of York chocolate business.

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Enjoy the atmosphere of this beautiful Yorkshire manor house, nestled on the quiet banks of the River Rye. Explore the period rooms whilst hearing the Hall’s many tales and discover one of the world’s finest collections of miniature rooms in the attic.