Hidden heritage is ready to be uncovered at event

Bricks   08/09/11 (CB)''Kevin Dickinson drives the engine as Thomas Jones (nine), and Amelie Priestman (seven), from Fareham look on during the Bursledon Brickworks heritage open day. [01794340073]'Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (113198-3)
Bricks 08/09/11 (CB)''Kevin Dickinson drives the engine as Thomas Jones (nine), and Amelie Priestman (seven), from Fareham look on during the Bursledon Brickworks heritage open day. [01794340073]'Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (113198-3)

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We all love the chance to get behind closed doors, for a sneak peak behind the scenes, to be granted VIP access.

That’s the idea behind Heritage Open Days, an annual national event that gives people of all ages the chance to uncover some ordinarily hidden heritage treasures.

In and around Portsmouth, dozens of attractions are throwing open their doors and putting on special events.

It all begins this weekend as Portsmouth Historic Dockyard reveals the many stories that can be found behind the scenes of its museums and historic buildings.

Free tours give visitors the chance to explore behind the scenes at some of the world-famous attractions, take guided walks into areas not normally accessible to the public and learn all about the 800 year history of the dockyard.

Highlights include the chance to go beneath the 3,500 tonne hull of HMS Victory and view the keel at close range, learn the fascinating history contained in the modern day Action Stations and the historic boats hidden in Boathouse 4.

Plus, there’s a chace to see what’s in the Georgian attics of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, discover the world’s first steam-powered factory, trace the footsteps of Nelson around the dockyard and Naval Base and find out all about the first Captain of HMS Warrior and the Porter who looked after the dockyard gates.

The dockyard tours run from tomorrow until Wednesday.

Then, from Thursday, the rest of the local Heritage Open Days begin.

These include events at attractions such as Portchester Castle, Gosport Gallery, Fort Brockhurst, Haslar, Portsmouth Cathedral, HMS Sultan, Hilsea Lido, and Portsmouth Guildhall.

Also laying on activities will be museums including The Royal Marines Museum, The Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, Gosport Discovery Centre, Charles Dickens’s Birthplace Museum and Bursledon Brickworks.

Local theatres are getting in on the act too, with Groundlings, Kings, St Peter’s and the New Theatre Royal all laying on tours and events.

And that’s just some of what’s going on next weekend.

n Read more about those Heritage Open Day events in The News next Friday.