Tonbridge Heritage Open Days are THIS weekend

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By kentsussex | Friday, September 07, 2012, 19:30

Tonbridge residents and visitors will once again be able to enjoy a host of places of historical interest this weekend of Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, when venues across the borough will be offering free entry to visitors as part of this year's Heritage Open Days.

Heritage Open Days are organised nationally every year by English Heritage to celebrate England's architecture and culture by offering free access to properties and gardens that are either not usually open to the public, or would normally charge an entrance fee. 

Locally, the Open Days are being co-ordinated in partnership by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, The Malling Society and Tonbridge Civic Society.

This year, there will be free access to some 24 properties in Tonbridge and Malling including many historic buildings, churches and museums. 

There will much to do in Tonbridge: Tonbridge Castle will be open on both days offering partial tours to the public. 

The annual Tonbridge Castle Medieval Fair will take place on the castle lawn (10am to 5pm both days) offering all the usual excitement of life in 15th century England.  

And if that's not enough, Tonbridge Art Group, Tonbridge Civic Society and Tonbridge Historical Society will be exhibiting their work in the castle chamber room throughout the weekend. 

Other historic buildings opening their doors in the town include the Grade II Listed Fosse Bank School; the Grade I Listed Schools at Somerhill; St Eanswythe's Mission; the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul; and St Saviour's Church. 

And, for those who like walking, there will be a guided Tonbridge Town Walk on Saturday 8 September at 11am beginning at Tonbridge Gateway.

Elsewhere in the borough, visitors will be able to visit the Gatehouse at Aylesford Priory; Ditton Heritage Centre; Snodland Millennium Museum; Ightham Mote; St Lawrence's Church in Mereworth; St Michael's Church in East Peckham; St Mary's Church in Hadlow; St James the Great Church in East Malling; St Peter and St Paul's Church in Trottiscliffe; and the Church Farm Nature Trail in Larkfield. 

In West Malling, there will also be much to explore including the The Malling Society and Clout Memorial Institute; the Twitch Heritage Centre (Douces Manor); the Pilsdon at Malling Community; the Baptist Church in Swan Street and St Mary's Abbey.

Cllr Maria Heslop, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure, Youth and Arts, says, "Heritage Open Days give us all the opportunity to learn more about the culture and history of our area and to explore some really interesting places that may not normally be open to the public - it's the one time in the year when local people can take a peek at the many hidden gems the borough has to offer."

A leaflet listing all participating venues is also available from Tonbridge Gateway. For more information, please call 01732 770929 or e-mail



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