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Heritage Open Days Unlock Eastbourne’s History

20 August 2018

Heritage Open Days return on 6 – 9 and 13 – 16 September, unlocking some of Eastbourne’s hidden heritage sites in a series of free tours and events.


Heritage Open DaysFrom the 13th century medieval farmhouse at Wilmington Priory to behind the scenes tours at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Heritage Open Days is a chance to join guided tours and get a rare glimpse behind locked away treasures.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “Eastbourne is full of hidden historic treasures and this is a fantastic opportunity to take a sneak peek inside and discover more about the wonderful stories from Eastbourne’s past.”

At the Italian Gardens, Friends of Meads Parks and Gardens will be celebrating this hidden gem with 1920s costumes and music, while the Dovecote across town in Motcombe Park will be opening up for stories of rats, ruins and regeneration.

St Mary the Virgin Church are lining up guided tours of its 12th Century Norman style architecture, and over at Stone Cross Windmill, the flour mill will be opening up and working its magic.

The Wish Tower, one of only two remaining public owned Martello Towers, will be open for seafront visitors to explore inside and enjoy magnificent views from the roof, while keen soldiers can step back in time at the Redoubt Fortress and join a tour or try out the augmented reality app.

At Towner, a free art store tour celebrating the women of Towner, is set to feature a special focus on female artists from their extensive collection in the year of ‘Extraordinary Women’.

Leaf Hall, originally opened as ‘The Workman’s Hall’ by the Duke of Devonshire, will be offering guided tours, and Eastbourne Heritage Centre will be revealing the history of the Duke’s ‘Pleasure Ground’, Devonshire Park, as well as 70 years of the NHS, in their current exhibitions.

The full list of events and open times includes:

• Motcombe Dovecote, 7 Sept, 2 – 5pm
• The Leaf Hall, 13 – 15 Sept, 11am – 3pm & 16 Sept, 11am – 1pm (tours 11.30am each day)
• Italian Gardens, 13 – 16 Sept, 2 – 5pm (music and costumes on 15-16 Sept only)
• Eastbourne Heritage Centre, 6 – 9 Sept, 10am – 4pm
• Redoubt Fortress, 8 – 9 Sept, 10am – 5pm, daily talk at 11am and tours at 12.30 and 2.30pm (booking essential)
• Royal Hippodrome, 13 Sept, 10am – 4pm
• St Mary’s Church, 7 – 8 & 14 - 15 Sept, tours 10am – 12pm. Plus tours 2.30 – 4.30pm (7 & 14 Sept only)
• Stone Cross Windmill, 8 – 9 Sept, 10am – 4pm
• Towner Art Gallery, 8 Sept, tour at 3pm (booking essential)
• Wilmington Priory, 14 – 16 Sept, 10am – 4pm
• Wish Tower, 8 – 9 & 15 – 16 Sept, 10am – 4pm

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