Heritage Open Days set to be the best yet

From left, Margaret Randall, Christine Newnham, Wendy Mailey and Pat Arnold from Festival Players dressed in period clothes at last year's Gosport Heritage Open Day at Royal Clarence Yard
From left, Margaret Randall, Christine Newnham, Wendy Mailey and Pat Arnold from Festival Players dressed in period clothes at last year's Gosport Heritage Open Day at Royal Clarence Yard
Mark Clutterbrook in 2015

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ONE of the largest Heritage Open Days events has kicked off and this weekend’s events are set to be the biggest and best yet.

Gosport Heritage Open Days attract thousands of visitors from across Hampshire and host a number of free and intriguing walks, talks and tours across places that are usually locked behind closed doors.

Now in their 26th year, Gosport piloted Open Days before they became a national event and they have continued to grow in stature each year.

This year plays host to new events such as a look around the Institute of Naval Medicine and a pub walk of previous pubs in the area.

Philippa Dickinson, who plays a pivotal role organising the Open Days, said: ‘We’re hoping for our best-ever event this year and we’ve already had a record number of bookings. There has been so much interest in all of our events we are putting on and many were booked up quickly. When I have been out leafleting, people keep telling me how much they’re looking forward the Heritage Days.

‘Open days give people the chance to see the hidden history of Gosport and all of it is fascinating.

‘Gosport’s contributions nationally to the navy down the years were invaluable, from the slaughterhouse that was used to feed the sailors to the cooperage that provided their ales.

‘Heritage Open Days are not just boring history walks. It is a wonderful event that has lots of things for families and children down at Royal Clarence yard.

Chloe Reed, from the Gosport Tourist Information centre, said: ‘The Admiralty Experimental Works event at QinetiQ was booked up in about three minutes and people have already expressed interest for next year.

‘We’ve also had to open up bookable events up to the public because they were so popular.’

Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘It is great that we can provide over 60 attractions and we believe that we provide the biggest Heritage Open Days in Hampshire.’