Huddersfield loves to look back at its past, never more so than on the heritage open days when people explore places they never usually get to see.

Now the open days organisers are looking for more old places, buildings, walks or activities that have played a role in the town’s heritage for folk to see. A major theme this year will be music.

Heritage Open Days (HOD) is a national festival, running this year from September 8 to 17, and all that’s required of sites is to open to the public for free, offering an experience not usually available or when there’s normally an entrance charge. 

Many groups put on a display or a guided tour but talks, walks, trails and quizzes are all welcome or anything else that presents what’s available in an engaging way. Sites can sell refreshments or other items or ask for donations to raise money for themselves.

Last year there were a record-breaking 77 events across Kirklees including guided tours of Huddersfield Railway Station and a visit to a former signal box, a David Brown heritage walk and tour in Meltham and baking and spinning demonstrations at the Colne Valley Museum in Golcar.

Historic and unique buildings open included Lindley Clock Tower, Briarcourt in Lindley, Golcar Providence Methodist Church, Holmfirth’s Owd Towser jail, Kirkburton’s energy efficient Passivhaus, the Quaker Meeting Houses at Wooldale and High Flatts and the Vajrapani Kadampa Meditation Centre for Buddhists in Birkby.

There’s a certain amount of administration as events have to be registered on the national website but they get a publicity pack and free insurance if needed.

Local volunteers, organised with council support in a Kirklees HOD Committee, can provide help and advice and will publish a widely circulated brochure listing all the sites.

This year the committee is encouraging people to think about featuring music in what they can offer to coincide with the Kirklees Year of Music 2023 which is celebrating Kirklees’ rich musical heritage. 

Churches, for example, might include organ recitals or choir performances while offers of back-stage tours of music venues or instrument-makers’ workshops will be welcome. 

Anyone interested in taking part or just wanting to know more can contact the local co-ordinators by emailing

  • Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.