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Free family days out in Wirral, Liverpool and Merseyside  13th to the 22nd September 2019.

Free family days out in Wirral, Liverpool and Merseyside 13th to the 22nd September 2019.

Heritage Open Days are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and are giving families the opportunity to visit over 2000 historical places of interest throughout England completely FREE of charge. Celebrate England’s largest festival of history and culture by exploring some key family favourites, alongside some hidden treasures not normally open to the public.

Here is a small selection of events to help you bring history to life for your little historians. For more day out inspiration or details of upcoming events in your area, visit Our Cheshire and North Wales round ups are already online.

What will you discover?

Birkenhead Park. Image copyright CIWK

*Birkenhead Entrance South Lodge

When: 14th and 15th September: 1200-1600, 19th and 20th September: 1000-1200, 21st and 22nd September: 1200-1600

Where: Birkenhead Park Grand Entrance, Park Drive, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 4HD

Prebook: No

Description: Victorian Sweetshop open and tour of Victorian Courtyard with Tea Room also open for teas and coffees. Children workshops taking place within the sweetshop.

Access restrictions: No wheelchair access.


*Birkenhead High School Academy, WW2 Air Raid Shelters

When: Saturday 14 September: (no guide) 1030 to 1110 and 1200 to 1230 – Booking not required Pre-booked guided tours 1100 and 1245 – Tour lasts approximately 45 minutes – Booking essential

Where: Sixth Form Entrance, 46 Devonshire Place (Alton Road end), Oxton, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH43 1TX

Prebook: Only if you wish to partake in the guided tour.

Description: Lottery grant refurbished WW2 underground air raid shelters, originally built with the assistance of the parents to enable pupils to return from evacuation in Shrewsbury. Only open to individuals to visit on the Heritage Weekend

Access restrictions: The shelters do not have disabled access; they are accessed by a steep flight of stone steps. Disabled visitors can still visit above ground displays.


*Birkenhead Park Heritage Walk

When: 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd September from 12.30pm until 2.30pm.

Where: Birkenhead Park Visitor Centre, Birkenhead Park Pavilion, Park Drive, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 4HY

Prebook: Yes please email

Description: Opened on Monday 5th April 1847, Birkenhead Park was The World’s First Public Funded Municipal Park, and is a Grade 1 listed historic landscape and conservation area.Take in the sights and sounds of the World’s First Publicly Funded Municipal Park – Birkenhead Park. We will take you on a special tour of Joseph Paxton’s masterpiece of landscape design and stunning architecture, to take in iconic features such as the Grand Entrance, Roman Boathouse and the Swiss Bridge.

Access restrictions: No

To view what this attraction normally has on for families, please visit


*Birkenhead Priory & St Mary’s Tower

When:14th and 15th September: 1000-1700, 18th September: 1300-1700, 19th and 20th September: 1300-1900, Saturday 21st and 22nd September: 1000-1700

Where: 1 Priory Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 5JH

Prebook: No

Description: The oldest standing building on Merseyside, the Priory offers a unique insight into Birkenhead and its historical and spiritual importance in the development of Wirral. Surrounded by factory units and shipyards, the Priory is an oasis of calm in a busy world affording unrivalled views of the river. Volunteers and staff are always available to offer tours of the site if you would like to be accompanied. There are also children’s activities, including dressing up, in the Refectory.

On Thursday 19 and Friday 20 September we are extending our opening time to allow people to experience ‘Forest’ by Yan Wang Preston in the twilight, a magical experience.

Access restrictions: No lift access to the Refectory or St Mary’s Tower

Image kindly supplied by Birkenhead Priory and St Mary’s Tower for use by CIWK 

* Bluecoat Heritage Weekends

When: 14th and 15th, 21st and 22nd September from 9am until 6.

Where: Bluecoat , School Lane, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 3BX

Prebook: If you require a tour or talk, booking is preferred.

Description: On Sat 14, hear from Juniper Press as they explore the history of the letterpress and how they are keeping this printmaking tradition alive in their studio. Kernaghans Books will talk about their long history in bookselling in Merseyside and their continuing love of books on Sat 21 Sep. Bring the family for a fun look at days gone by with a make and play workshop exploring the games children would have played when Bluecoat was a school, Sat 21 Sep 1 – 4pm, free, drop in.

Access restrictions: None stated.


*Journey Through Waste – Bidston

When: Saturday 21 September: 1st tour 10:15, repeated every 30 mins. 

Where: Veolia Es Merseyside & Halton Ltd, Wallasey Bridge Road, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 1EB

Prebook: Yes

Description: Veolia are opening their doors at the Bidston Materials Recovery Facility. Book on a tour to find out about the journey of your waste and recycling and get an update to help you Recycle Right. Do you Recycle Right? Or are you confused over what can and can’t be recycled? Book on a free tour and we will demystify it all for you.

Access restrictions: The Recycling Discovery Centre is wheelchair accessible and pram friendly. Not suitable for kids under 3.


* Port Sunlight Open Village

When: Sunday 22 September: Open Village Buildings : 11am – 3pm

Where: Port Sunlight Museum , 23 King George’s Drive, Port Sunlight, Merseyside, CH62 5DX

Prebook: No

Description: Explore behind the scenes of Port Sunlight Village in a truly unique way! Take a peek inside the homes of village residents and the public buildings to discover modern living in Port Sunlight. At Bridge Cottage you will hear stories and tales of the village from staff and volunteers in period costume. Why not lend a helping hand and join in with a favourite Victorian pastime of rag rug making!

Pick up a trail from Port Sunlight Museum and follow the open village route around the village.

Access restrictions: Cannot guarantee full accessibility throughout all the Open Village Home and Public Buildings. Port Sunlight Museum and Bridge Cottage Community Hub are both fully accessible venues.

To view what this attraction normally has on for families, please visit


* Mersey Tunnel Tours – Georges Dock Building Open Weekend

When: 14th and 15th September from 10am until 4pm.

Where: Mersey Tunnels Combined Control Centre, Georges Dock Building, George’s Dock Way, Liverpool, Merseyside, L3 1DD

Prebook: Book on day.

Description: Georges Dock Building will open it’s doors for the weekend to let visitors see behind it’s Art Deco exterior. There will be artefacts on display and a small photographic exhibition as well as free mini tours to the original Control Room and down through a Fan Chamber underneath the building to see the Queensway Tunnel. Tours will be held throughout the day on a 1st come 1st served basis with a maximum of 24 allowed on the tour down to the tunnel.

Access restrictions: There is a wheelchair ramp up to the entrance of Georges Dock Building however once inside there are 4 steps up to the exhibition area. The tours are not suitable for anyone with breathing, mobility or sight issues. Children must be age 10 and over to go down through the industrial area to the tunnel.


* New Ferry Butterfly Park

When: 15th September from 2pm until 3.30pm.

Where: Howell Road, New Ferry, Merseyside, CH62 5BJ

Prebook: No

Description: New Ferry Butterfly Park, an industrial legacy to bee and butterfly haven. The tour will explore the industrial history of this former railway goods yard (brick-making and railway operations), and how this has contributed to the wildlife diversity of the park. This site demonstrates the value of brownfield sites. Pond-dipping and other children’s activities will be available. Complimentary tea and cake at the end of the tour

Access restrictions: Access may be limited for wheelchair and pram users.

To view what this attraction normally has on for families, please visit

Image credit belongs to Matt Berry on behalf of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust 

* Speke Hall

When: 21st September from 10.30am until 4.30pm.

Where: National Trust, Speke Hall, The Walk, Speke, Liverpool, Merseyside, L24 1XD

Prebook: No

Description: Bring the family and enjoy a great free day out at Speke Hall. Explore the house – a rare survival of a Tudor timber framed building with Arts & Crafts interiors and original William Morris wallpapers – or have fun in the maze, play areas or woodlands.

Access restrictions: None stated.

To view what this attraction normally has on for families, please visit


* The Hardmans’ House

When: 19th September 2019 from 11.00am until 3.30pm.

Where: National Trust, 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 9ER

Prebook: Yes. Call: 0151 709 6261 or Email:

Description: Enjoy a free pre-bookable 90 minute tour of The Hardmans’ House on Heritage Open Day. Step back in time to the 1950s in this fascinating home and photographic studio. Explore the contrasting sides of this house: the neat, professional, spacious business rooms and the cluttered, cramped living quarters of the renowned portrait photographer Edward Chambre Hardman and his wife Margaret. 

Access restrictions: Due to the size of the property no pushchairs are admitted to the ground floor but there are hip-carrying infant seats for loan.There is partial wheelchair access to the ground floor only and a virtual tour is available of the upper floors. 

To view what this attraction normally has on for families, please visit


* The Reader at Calderstones – Mansion Housewarming Weekend

When: 14th and 15th September, Open house 8.30am – 8pm, Tours every hour, on the hour between 10am and 6pm.

Where: The Reader, The Mansion House, Calderstones Park, Liverpool, Merseyside, L18 3JB

Prebook: Book on day. Main site is free to explore, book the tours on the day from the Mansion House reception to register for the next available tour.

Description: Celebrate a new chapter in the life of the Grade II listed Calderstones Mansion. All activities are free. Take a tour to hear about the people and the stories behind the Mansion. Join in a family storytelling session and get crafty at the imaginative story centre, the Storybarn. Drop into ‘Round the Clock Dickens’ as staff attempt to read the whole of Dickens’ historical novel A Tale of Two Cities from start to finish across 2 days. Get refreshed in the new Café in the Mansion or pop over to the Ice Cream Parlour in the Courtyard for a scoop of your favourite flavour.

Access restrictions: None

To view what this attraction normally has on for families, please visit


* The Wavertree Lock-Up

When: 15th September 2019 from 12 noon until 4pm.

Where: Childwall Road/Lake Road, Wavertree, Liverpool, Merseyside, L15 8JS

Prebook: No

Description: Wavertree’s octagonal lock-up was built of local sandstone in 1796, at the expense of the villagers – drunkenness was quite a problem 200 years ago. It is said that cholera victims were dumped there to isolate them from the rest of the village; and in the 1840’s the lock-up served as a temporary accommodation for destitute Irish families.

Access restrictions: A step down exists at the front entrance doors so care needs to be taken but the space inside can still be viewed

Speke Hall Image copyright CIWK 

*Transport Museum

When: 14th and 15th September from 1pm until 4.30pm.

Where: Wirral Transport Museum, 1 Taylor Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 1BG

Prebook: No

Description: Come and visit our new exhibits, a tram model made in Birkenhead 1880, model ships that used to use the Birkenhead Docks. Come and see the latest progress on tramcar and bus restoration and finally try our café and a tram ride.

Access restrictions: Disabled access.

To view what this attraction normally has on for families, please visit


* Vikings at the Smithy!

When: 14th and 15th September 2019 from 11am until 5pm.

Where: Smithy Heritage Centre, Kiln Lane, Eccleston, St. Helens, Merseyside, WA10 4RA

Prebook: No

Description: Shop like a Viking at our Viking market, with stalls full of exciting goods. Take part in Viking living history activities, themed crafts and even play like a Viking with a game of Hnefatafl! Plus it’s 7th Great Eccleston Bake-off on Sunday 15th!

Access restrictions: The Smithy Heritage Centre building complex is fully accessible and step free throughout. There is a small grassed area outdoors which is sometimes used during events (weather-permitting) which cannot be accessed via wheelchair users, but can be viewed from the paved path alongside it. 

Image copyright belongs to Wirral Transport Museum. 

To stay ‘Clued in’ with regards to other local events, days out, kids groups and more, please feel free to visit our website or follow us via social media.


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