Isle of Man Heritage Open Days 2020

– Posted on Wednesday 9th September 2020

This October sees the welcome return of Isle of Man Heritage Open Days. It is the Island’s largest free festival of heritage and cultural events, with over 80 events taking place over two weekends in October.  The ethos of the event is to open the doors to historic places on the Isle of Man that are not usually accessible to the public and to reveal the lesser known stories of these fascinating places.

Isle of Man Heritage Open Days are a community-wide celebration of our heritage.  To take part in the festival, organisations, individuals and groups provide public access to buildings, landscapes and displays that are usually closed to the public, normally have an admission fee or can provide extra information to explain the significance of the area. The events take place all over the Island, whatever the weather and have inspired people to embrace the heritage on their door step. The entire festival is free to attend.

Edmund Southworth, Director of Manx National Heritage said:

“Over the years, Heritage Open Days has become embedded in our annual programme and we know many people look forward to it.  The event originally started on the Island with the idea of opening up places that were normally hidden from view or difficult to access.  Eleven years later, it has become a celebration not just of the Island’s built heritage, but also of many aspects of Manx culture. 

This year has been a challenging one because of Covid19.  Whilst the Island is currently experiencing a period of local elimination, we have to be ready if the infection resurfaces.  So this year, the programme is smaller and based on sites and activities we know can be safe. 

We’ll be ready for change at short notice, so will be asking everyone to pre-book and provide contact details in case we need to get in touch.  The positive side is we have been able to create a more focused programme, which harks back to the original aim of opening up hidden places to explore”.

Events range from a gentle walk amidst Ballaglass Glen’s beautiful autumn colours with Blue Badge Guide Marinda Faragher to a guided tour of Ballaughton Nurseries providing a fascinating insight into how Douglas Borough Council’s Park Services produce plants for the town and how the management of the Town’s parks and open spaces is undertaken. There’s also a rare opportunity to visit the Viking Ship Burial at Knock y Dhoonee with MNH Trustee Dave Martin and a tour of the state rooms of Government House, Loch Library, below stairs, and the highlights of the extensive gardens with Charles Guard.

The full Isle of Man Heritage Open Days 2020 programme can be found online at and bookings for all events open on Wednesday 16 September at 7pm.

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