Explore heritage for free as part of jam-packed weekend of fun

September 2, 2015

FREE entry to Tamworth Castle, an 80th anniversary display of Reliant cars, wartime stories of Tamworth families revealed in a newly-published book and a brand-new open air theatre performance are just some of the events at this year’s Heritage Open Day.

The hugely-popular national event this year takes place on Sunday September 13 and will again see a large number of Tamworth buildings throwing open their doors to welcome visitors – as well as a whole host of events to honour Tamworth’s rich history and heritage – all completely free of charge.

This year the open day also coincides with a jam-packed weekend of events taking place in the Castle Grounds, including the Lucky Stars Line Dancing extravaganza on Saturday September 12, and the town’s first ever food festival which will be bringing more than 60 artisan food producers and businesses to the area across both days of the weekend.

Tamworth Castle is among the attractions that can be visited free of charge as part of Heritage Open Day, but entry is by pre-booked ticket only, available from the Tamworth Information Centre in Corporation Street. Call 01827 709581 or email tic@tamworth.gov.uk. This is a great chance for visitors to see some of the new displays and improvements, as well as items from the world-famous Staffordshire Hoard.

Visitors to St Editha’s Church will be able to climb the rare double spiral staircase and take part in guided tours of the building. Outside in St Editha’s Square, the Reliant Motor Club will be showing off their display of Reliant vehicles – and members will be only too happy to talk and answer questions about Del Boy’s favourite mode of transport.

This is a special year for the club, as 2015 marks the 80th anniversary of the Reliant Motor Company.

A new addition to the programme this year, which is expected to generate a lot of interest, is Tales of Tamworth – a brand new live theatre performance which has been devised as part of the I Am Tamworth project.

Tales of Tamworth is directed by Simon Quinn and has been put together by those taking part. It will be staged under the Town Hall at midday. There will also be a performance of the play at the same time and place on Saturday September 12.

The Tamworth Ancestral Rescue Club has spent the past three years working to help local people discover the part their ancestors played in the Great War. The project is now ready to reveal the stories they have uncovered in an exhibition, on show in its entirety for the first time in the Town Hall. The club has also published a book detailing its findings, and copies will be on sale.

The Town Hall will also host exhibitions on Tamworth Heritage Trust, the Town Twinning Association and Second World War hero Colin Grazier and the real Enigma heroes.

The Mayor’s Parlour in the Town Hall will be open for viewing when the Mayor, Cllr Maureen Gant, will be welcoming visitors.

Other events taking place throughout the Heritage Open Day include:

  • Town Crier, Thomas Guy, medieval gravediggers and a Peeler walking about the town.
  • Green Badge guided tour of Tamworth. Places must be booked in advance from Tamworth Information Centre in Corporation Street. Call 01827 709581 or email tic@tamworth.gov.uk.
  • Thomas Guy Almshouses in Gungate open from 10am to 2pm. Meet the residents, admire the gardens, have a cup of tea and buy home-made goodies, including cake and jam.
  • Free entry to Middleton Hall and the Peel Museum between 11am and 4pm. Contact 01827 283095 for more details.


The weekend also plays host to Tamworth’s first Food Gusto Food and Drink Festival in the Castle Grounds.

Saturday and Sunday September 12 and 13 will see the Castle Grounds transformed into a foodie’s heaven where food lovers will be able to sample the region’s finest culinary delights.

Tamworth’s Town Team, Destination Tamworth, has joined forces with Ashby-based Food Gusto to bring dozens of unique and artisan traders to the town.

From handmade crisps and locally-brewed beer to organic meat, pickles and pates, the first ever Tamworth Food Gusto Festival will showcase the best the town and wider Midlands region has to offer in the way of quality produce, alongside live cooking demonstrations, a cupcake competition and live music.

For more details on Heritage Open Day and the Tamworth Food Gusto Festival, brochures are available from the Tamworth Information Centre in Corporation Street or visit www.tamworth.gov.uk or www.visittamworth.co.uk.

Tamworth Borough Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Rob Pritchard, said: “Heritage Open Day is a fantastic opportunity to explore everything that is great about Tamworth’s history. There is something for everyone to enjoy and I would encourage people of all ages to come along and learn more about Tamworth’s fascinating history.

“This year, we will also be hosting the first ever Tamworth Gusto Food Festival, which is set to be a culinary treat attracting visitors from a wide area. With so much going on, Tamworth is really the place to be during this weekend.”