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Heritage Open Days final weekend across Kent including Deal smugglers, Tonbridge Castle and a vintage bus

Heritage Open Days has a second helping of free discoveries on offer this weekend. We've picked out some Kent highlights to try:


Sevenoaks Town Council and Knole have joined forces for Heritage Open Days.

Sevenoaks vintage bus
Sevenoaks vintage bus

At the Bat & Ball Station there will be heritage talks from the Crampton Society, arts & crafts, model trains and a new artwork will be unveiled. Visitors can also take a ride on the vintage bus for free up to Knole Park. Details at batandballstation.com


Among the historic properties opening in the Tonbridge and Malling borough for Heritage Open Days this weekend, is the castle, which is open on both Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22 with partial tours to the public. Other places open include Aylesford Pottery, the Oast Theatre and the Twitch Classroom in West Malling.A leaflet listing all participating venues is available from Tonbridge Gateway or can be downloaded at tmbc.gov.uk/events.

Tonbridge Castle Picture: Matthew Walker
Tonbridge Castle Picture: Matthew Walker


The historic building in Deal High Street - now a community centre - was once the Congregational Church, dating back to the 1660s. Visitors can learn about its history with an exhibition by the Addelam History Research Group on Saturday, September 21 from 10am to 4pm with no need to book. Details at dealheritage.org.uk


A forgotten part of the history of Walmer, Walmer Aerodrome is situated on the southern boundary of Walmer Castle, accessible by marked footpaths. The First World War Aerodrome was opened in 1917 and six pilots from the Royal Naval Air Service were relocated from the Western Front to form the Walmer Defence Flight. It became RAF Walmer in 1918. There will be a guide on site on Saturday, September 21 from 11am to 2pm, and there is no need to book. Find out more at walmerpc.kentparishes.gov.uk

Site of the former Walmer airfield Picture: Tony Flashman
Site of the former Walmer airfield Picture: Tony Flashman


The History Project have been delving into the myths and facts of smuggling in Deal and will be holding a walk from Deal Pier statue, including tunnels and hidden rooms, on Saturday, September 21 from 11am, taking around an hour and a half, with no booking necessary and with up to 30 people. Find out more at thehistoryproject.co.uk

Learn about Deal's smuggling past
Learn about Deal's smuggling past


There'll be a rare chance to see the listed Palace Cinema in Harbour Street from Friday, September 20 to Sunday, September 22 from 11am to 2pm each day. You'll be able to see the foyer and auditorium, plus short talks. No booking required. To find out more go to thepalacecinema.co.uk


Heritage Open Days’ new national arts project, Dare to Dream, is exploring positive change through the gentle protest method of “craftivism” - craft and activism. On the last day of the festival, Tunbridge Wells invites visitors to sit, reflect and sew. An open mind and a willingness to share your thoughts and stitch your words onto fabric is all that’s needed (plus a pre-booked place) at 44 Mount Ephraim, on Sunday, September 22 between 2pm and 4pm. Book by emailing carolineauckland@btinternet.com

Ancient graffiti inside Canterbury Cathedral
Ancient graffiti inside Canterbury Cathedral


As part of Heritage Open days, there’s a special glimpse inside Canterbury Cathedral and its Graffiti Research Project for a second week on Friday, September 20. From animals and faces, ships and initials there are a surprising number of historic markings found etched into the fabric of the historic cathedral. Volunteers have been painstakingly recording the graffiti, some of which dates back as far as the 12th century. The tours are from 6.15pm until 8.45pm. You will need to pre-book a space by emailing journey@ canterbury-cathedral.org

* Search for a Heritage Open Days event near you at heritageopendays.org.uk

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