Open door on heritage.

A variety of heritage sites – including those run by Bath & North East Somerset Council – will be opening their doors and inviting residents and visitors to enjoy their unique attractions and celebrate Heritage Open Week 2013 this half term.


Heritage Open Week has been running for over 25 years and celebrates the unique collections and activities available in museums, galleries and heritage sites across Bath and North East Somerset. Over 20 sites will be opening their doors to the public from Saturday 26 October to Sunday 3 November.


As part of the family fun, children can get hands on with history and get crafty by making plasticine pets at the Victoria Art Gallery and designing their own stylish creations at the Fashion Museum.

The Great Bath
The Great Bath


Late night opening returns to the Roman Baths for one night only on 29 October, from 6pm to 8pm (last entry 7pm). Everyone is welcome to take part in a variety of fun drawing activities and find out more about Roman art.


A rare treat is lined up for heritage enthusiasts with a behind-the-scenes look at the Roman Baths local history store. Held in the St John’s Store, Upper Bristol Road, on Monday 28 October, from 11am to 3pm, “What’s in Store?” offers the chance to marvel at the range of historical spa equipment and investigate Victorian writing by reading the original Victorian Spa treatment visitor books, as well as leave your own message for the future!


Tracery from Keynsham Abbey
Tracery from Keynsham Abbey

There is also the chance to see archaeological finds from Combe Down Stone Mines and Keynsham, including Roman mosaics and Keynsham Abbey stonework. This second “What’s in Store?” event takes place at the Pixash Lane Store, next to the Recycling Centre, between Saltford and Keynsham on Saturday 2 November, from 11am to 2pm.


Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is proud to organise Heritage Open Week and celebrate the area’s distinctive array of heritage sites with this special programme of activities.

Cllr Ben Stevens Lib-Dem Widcombe Cabinet member for Sustainable Development.
Cllr Ben Stevens
Lib-Dem Widcombe
Cabinet member for Sustainable Development.


“These events can be a thoroughly rewarding experience as you can find out a lot about Bath and North East Somerset’s rich heritage – which might have otherwise been taken for granted; such as the fascinating archaeological finds in Keynsham. On top of that, there are lots of fun things to do and plenty of great ways to keep the kids entertained over the half term holidays.”


Entry to the Council-run museums for their Heritage Open Week events is free of charge to Bath & North East Somerset Council residents upon production of a Discovery Card. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Please note that not all of the other museums are open free of charge for the whole week and admission charges apply to non-residents.



Events taking place at Bath & North East Somerset Council’s heritage sites include:


Bath's Victoria Art Gallery.
Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.

Victoria Art Gallery:


  • The Big Draw – Draw like a Greek (Saturday 26 October, 11am-3pm): Explore the Parthenon frieze using binoculars.  Create images of people and animals to add to our wall of art.


  • Foody favourites (Tuesday 29 October & Thursday 31 October, 10.30am-12noon): Try your hand at still life by drawing artistic fruit and vegetables.


  • Great Heritage Hunters (Wednesday 30 October, 10am-4pm): Enjoy our special gallery trail to explore sculpture.  Spot the details and claim a sticker when you’ve found them all.


  • Plasticine pets (Friday 1 November, 10.30am-12noon): Get modelling with plasticine, which was invented by William Harbutt from Bath.


Fashion Museum:


  • The Big Draw: Draw like a fashion designer (Monday 28 October, Tuesday 29 October and Wednesday 30 October, 11am-3pm): Draw your favourite fashion design and enter the drawing contest.


  • How to draw like a fashion designer (Sunday 3 November, 2.30pm-4pm): Special activity for 10 to 16 year olds in partnership with the Fashion & Textile Museum, London and publishers Thames & Hudson. Learn how to draw like a fashion designer. Book a free place on 01225 477789 but hurry – spaces are limited.


Emma Williamson, Collections Intern at the Roman Baths.
Emma Williamson, Collections Intern at the Roman Baths.

Roman Baths:


  • The Big Draw: Draw like an archaeologist (Monday 28 October to Friday 1 November, 10am-1pm & 2pm-4pm): Sketch Roman objects like an archaeologist.


  • Big Draw: Drawing the Roman Baths (Tuesday 29 October, 6pm-8pm; last entry 7pm): Take part in a variety of fun drawing activities and find out about Roman art. See how people have drawn pictures of the Roman Baths through the ages.


  • Spotlight on Samian (Wednesday 30 October, 10am-12noon & 2pm-4pm): Enjoy the historic artworks which have been delicately painted on Roman pottery.


For full details of Heritage Open Week 2013, including listings and the online brochure, visit Bath & North East Somerset Council’s website or pick up the Heritage Open Week brochure in your local library or museum.


A family trail is included at the back of every Heritage Open Week brochure. Aspiring treasure hunters can use it to follow the trail clues around 14 different museum sites to discover a fascinating object and claim a stamp at each museum.