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News Explore Maidstone’s past free with Heritage Open Days


Explore Maidstone’s past free with Heritage Open Days  image

Maidstone is taking part in the national festival of history and culture from 13 to 22 September with free Heritage Open Days, England’s largest festival of its kind.

For history lovers in Maidstone these events are an opportunity to visit historic places in the borough and celebrate their heritage, community and history, for free.

Providing an insight into how, when and why they were created, giving residents a chance to see hidden places and rarely told stories. With many of these not normally being open to the public.

Paul Harper, Chairman of the Economic, Regeneration and Leisure Committee at Maidstone Borough Council said:

“We are very proud of our heritage in Maidstone and I am delighted that seven sites in the borough are taking part in these fantastic Heritage Open Days. They give such a great insight into the history of our county town.

“Thank you to all the venues, their staff and volunteers who put on these annual events free of charge. Some of the tours have already sold out so booking is essential, if required.”

Dates and places to visit below:

13 – 22 September

CHURCH HISTORY TOUR

All Saints Church, Mill Street, Maidstone, ME15 6YE

Come and discover the fascinating history of this beautiful church in a stunning riverside setting. It was built in 1395 by Archbishop Courtenay to become one of the grandest Perpendicular churches in England. Churches, such as this one, were not always so refined, on occasions some were used as fortresses to protect their citizens from battles and raids and this church has history!

No booking required

Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 16:00

Sat & Sun: 10:00 – 12.30

Sat 14 September

A BAND OF ANGELS

St Michael & All Angels Church, Tonbridge Road, Maidstone, ME16 8JS

Enjoy our fine Victorian angel windows and local artistic creations on a ‘Design an Angel’ theme. Organ music, bell-ringing, children’s activities, tea and home-made cakes!

The church was built by Arthur Blomfield in 1876 with a distinctive style of worship in mind, which made it unique in Maidstone at the time. This tradition continues today though in a more modern Anglo-Catholic guise, and the original ‘Father’ Willis organ continues to provide our music.

Riders & Striders are welcome, as are family historians, lovers of Victoriana and those who enjoy church architecture and stained glass

No booking required

Sat: 10:00 – 16:00

Sat 14 September

CLIMB THE OBSERVATORY TOWER

Maidstone Museum, St Faith’s Street, Maidstone, ME14 1LH

Come and climb the museum’s Victorian observatory tower, which is not usually open to the public, and take in the views across Maidstone.

Entrance is free but admissions are timed and must be pre-booked as space is limited in the tower.

Book online at www.maidstonemuseums.org/events

Sat: 10:00 – 16:00 (tours take place at 20min intervals throughout the day)

Sun 15 & Thurs 19 September

ARCHBISHOPS PALACE TOUR

The Archbishops Palace, Mill Street, Maidstone, ME15 6YE

Gain access to more of the rooms in this beautiful building, usually only reserved for brides and grooms. Enjoy a full tour which will explain the fascinating history of this iconic Maidstone building, and learn more about its inhabitants.

Maximum 25 people per tour, which lasts approximately 45 mins. Booking essential.

Book via email to ceremoniesmid@kent.gov.uk or call 03000 414004

Sun: 09:30; 10:30; 11:30; 13:30 & 14:30

Thurs: 09:30; 10:30; 11:30; 13:30 & 14:30

NEW FOR 2019

Tues,17, Wed 18 & Thurs 19 September

THE OLD BOAT CAFÉ

River Medway, Fairmeadow, Maidstone, ME16 0SL

The Old Boat Café is a floating café aboard an historic 1911 Fellows Morten and Clayton horse-drawn narrow-boat called Vienna (Verbena) situated on the beautiful River Medway. Come and enjoy a short talk and tour of the Boatman’s Cabin and discover some of Verbena/Vienna’s interesting history.

A special Canalman’s lunch / Cream Tea offer is available for Heritage Open Day visitors. Please ask for details when booking.

Maximum 6 people per tour, which lasts approximately 15 mins. Booking essential.

Book via email to theoldboatcafe@gmail.com or in person at the café.

Wed 18 September

HISTORIC MAIDSTONE

Town Hall, Middle Row, Maidstone, ME14 1TF

A joint exhibition by Maidstone Historical Society and the Maidstone Area Archaeological Group.

Explore a fascinating exhibition of material relating to Maidstone including letterheads, programmes, 19th century newspapers, photographs, large-scale maps and more with Maidstone Historical Society.

Maidstone Area Archaeological Group will be showcasing a selection of artefacts as part of their exhibition.

No booking required.

Weds: 10:00 – 16:00

Thurs 19 & Fri 20 September

HISTORY OF MOTE PARK WALK

Mote Avenue, Maidstone, ME15 7SU

Join a guided walk to look at the fascinating history behind this well-known park. There is more to Mote Park than you may think!

The walk takes in the Park’s extensive history, including the location of the old house, the lake, the castle, its military background and the people who have lived here and created this amazing place, which is now also home to some extraordinary wildlife.

The walk will take around 2 hours but often depends on the questions people ask along the way.

Booking essential via email to annmarielangley@maidstone.gov.uk

Maximum 30 people. Please note there is a small charge for the car park (£2).

Thurs & Fri: 11:00 – 13:00

‘Heritage Open Days’ is the largest festival of history and culture in England. In 2018, over 5,500 events welcomed more than three million visitors across the country. Heritage Open Days is coordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Every single Heritage Open Days event is free, including access to many sites that usually charge for admission.


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