Love Culture Fortnight 2021 and Free Heritage Open Days in Cumbria


This September, volunteers and attractions around the Lake District and Cumbria will be celebrating Love Culture Fortnight 2021 with a range of free heritage open days across the county. From the 10th to 19th of September 2021, you can experience the history, architecture and culture of the local area at a range of amazing attractions and events. Take a look at some of our favourites below.

Exploring the collection: textiles and embroidery

Keswick Museum & Art Gallery in the Lake DistrictLocation: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, Keswick, CA12 4NF
Dates: 18th - 19th September, 2.00pm - 3.30pm

Keswick Museum and Art Gallery is a fascinating must-see if you’re staying at one of our holiday cottages in Keswick. It holds a range of exhibitions throughout the year focusing on local history and life. The textiles and embroidery exhibition, however, is only available for these two special days during Love Culture Fortnight. Get up close and personal with the beautiful items and speak with the museum’s new manager, Eilidh Young, who herself trained at the Royal School of Needlework as a hand embroiderer!

St John’s Church, Waberthwaite

Location: Waberthwaite, LA19 5YW
Dates: Throughout every day, 10th - 19th September; the 12-Mile Challenge takes place on the 12th.

This pretty little church, which sits alongside Broadoak Beck where it flows into the River Esk, offers a little bit of peace in a busy world. Surrounded by stunning scenery, it captured poet John Betjeman’s attention, who claimed that it was "worth bicycling 12 miles against the wind to see - the strangest, remote little church". Following his example, you’re encouraged to travel 12 miles to the church in the most inventive way possible! However you arrive, you will be welcomed with knowledgeable volunteers giving tours and answering questions about the historic architecture and unique location.

Backbarrow Ironworks

Backbarrow Ironworks in the Lake DistrictLocation: Backbarrow Ironworks, Backbarrow, LA12 8QF
Dates: 18th September, 10.ooam and 11.00am; 19th September, 2.00pm and 4.00pm

Get a sneak peak at the fascinating Backbarrow Ironworks before the Backbarrow Ironworks Heritage Trust takes over the site later in 2021.

The Ironworks, a scheduled ancient monument, is thought to be the first blast furnace in England and Scotland, and plays an important role in helping us understand the history of iron smelting in the UK. Take a tour of the area with an enthusiastic guide to learn about the site and the Trust’s plans for the future. Booking essential.

Kendal Unitarian Chapel

Branthwaite Brow shops in Kendal
Location: Branthwaite Brow, Kendal, LA9 4TN
Dates: 11th & 19th September, 9.00am - 3.00pm

Built in 1720, Kendal Unitarian Chapel is tucked away down a small alley in Kendal’s pretty market place. It’s a real hidden gem with beautiful gardens and a Victorian schoolroom. As part of the Nonconformist chapel’s 300th anniversary celebrations, you can enjoy special guided tours that offer a fascinating insight into the history of the building and its grounds.

Historical Pub Crawl

Location: Market Square, Kirkby Stephen, CA17 4GT
Dates: 16th September, 10.30am

Get ready for a pub crawl with a difference! In the traditional market town of Kirkby Stephen, this unique event takes you on a journey to the past. Make your way down the cobbled streets to discover 20 pubs and three breweries throughout the town, and learn about their history. This joint event with Edible England is an excellent way to find out about the important roles the inns played in the past. Pre-booking is preferred: contact Ann Sandell on 01768371976 or [email protected] Please note that this is a history tour and no alcohol will be provided.

Prior’s Tower Tours

Carlisle Cathedral in CumbriaLocation: Prior's Tower, The Abbey, Carlisle, CA3 8TZ
Dates: 15th - 16th September, on the hour every hour from 10.00am to 3.00pm

In the grounds of stunning Carlisle Cathedral is a hidden tower that’s rarely open to the public. Enjoy a guided 40-minute behind-the-scenes tour of this 16th century building. Once the residence of the Prior of the Augustinian Cathedral Priory, it houses a rare and spectacular Tudor painted ceiling as well as a collection of dolls once belonging to former kings and queens of England! Booking on the day on a first-come, first-served basis.

Biedun Festival

Heron Corn Mill in BeethamLocation: Heron Corn Mill, Beetham, LA7 7PQ
Dates: 19th September, 10.00am - 4.00pm

Let the festivities begin! Perfect for all the family, this medieval festival showcases a number of works celebrating 800 years of milling. It promises to be a fun-filled day with lots of other things going on: taste some interesting foods at The Medieval Pudding Club, enjoy entertainment with fortune telling and puppet shows, and browse the range of exhibitions on offer. Find out more on the Heron Mill website.

Kirkhead Tower Tours

Location: Kents Bank Station, Grange-over-Sands, LA11 7BG
Dates: 18th September, 10.00am, 12.00pm and 2.00pm

Though no one is completely sure why Kirkhead Tower was built, it’s likely that it was once a 19th century summer house. Usually not open to the public, this special day gives you rare access to the remains, as well as a fascinating insight to its history. Your guide will also tell you all about the surrounding prehistoric environment and cave networks. The walk to the tower is relatively steep, so you will need good shoes, but you’ll be rewarded at the top with wonderful views of Morecambe Bay. Pre-booking required.

Let’s Walk… After Dark! - Bat Walk

Stars over the Lake DistrictLocation: Stainton Cross Car Park, LA8 0LG
Dates: 15th September, 7.00pm - 9.30pm

Experience the northern section of the Lancaster Canal after dark, and find out about the fascinating winged creatures that emerge when the lights go out! Not only will you learn lots of interesting information about native bats and their habitat, you’ll be shown how to use a bat detector so you can hear them too! Finish off the evening with a walk along the Hincaster Tunnel. Walking is an easy grade, and children aged seven and up are welcome. Pre-booking essential.

How Did They Do That in 1866?

Location: Ulverston Parish Church, Ulverston, LA12 7EN
Dates: 18th September, 10.00am - 5.00pm

Learn some of the skills required in the mid-19th century to create much of the beautiful artwork and architecture seen at Ulverston Parish Church. Throughout the day you’ll find workshops on traditional skills including stone carving, letter illuminating and stained glass creation. There are also heritage craft talks and demonstrations from those who have honed these engrossing skills. Kids will love dressing up in period costumes and trying out virtual bell ringing!

Hadrian's Wall in CumbriaFind even more information and events on the Heritage Open Days website.

Holiday cottages in the Lake District and Cumbria

There are fascinating things to do in the Lake District and Cumbria throughout the year. When you find your perfect event, don’t forget to book a self-catering cottage nearby.

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