Fringe Box



It’s Time For Heritage Open Days This Weekend!

Published on: 7 Sep, 2020
Updated on: 11 Sep, 2020

By David Rose

Guildford’s culture and architecture takes centre stage once again this weekend during Heritage Open Days.

The number of buildings waiting to be discovered and events taking place between Friday and Sunday, September 11 to 13 are fewer than previous years, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there is still plenty to see and do, and it’s all free!

Buildings include Guildford Museum, Wanborough Great Barn, West Horsley Place (for getting in touch with nature and the concept of ‘forest bathing’), Albury Organic Vineyard, and more…

The Sime Gallery at Worplesdon Memorial Hall’s opening is titled The Mystery and imagination of Trees, and a chance to admire the Arts and Crafts style of the Memorial Hall.

Sidney Sime (1865-1941) was asked to illustrate a series on the afterlife illustrating the “fin de siècle” in the 1890s when people feared the outcome of the century with close similarities to our recent fears for the future.

The artist Sidney Sime. Courtesy of the Sidney Sime Gallery.

The gallery is a hidden gem and purpose built in 1956 exhibiting more than 800 drawings, paintings, books and letters by Sime, Master of the Mysterious.

His book and magazine illustrations include theatrical and local caricatures of people who frequented his local pub at Perry Hill. His artworks include Scottish watercolours and oil landscapes, and demonstrate the influence of Blake, Beardsley, Rackham, Hokusai and Hiroshige as well as his own remarkable style seen in the fantasy oil paintings. In addition, the gallery houses albums and brilliant black and white Victorian illustrations.

One of the characters of Worplesdon drawn by Sidney Sime.

Open on Friday from 2pm to 4pm. On Saturday from 10am to 4pm, there will also be a talk at 11am on conservation and restoration with reference to Sime’s love of trees (also available virtually online). Sunday’s opening is from 10am to 4pm, with a talk at 11am revealing interesting aspects of Sime’s caricatures, and at 2pm, a talk on Sime’s life at nearby Crown Cottage. There will be walking tour to Crown Cottage, Sime’s grave in St Mary’s Churchyard and around Perry Hill, starting at 2.30pm.

There will be also be a children’s workshop for leaf impressions in clay.

All subject to Covid guidelines and pre booking is required. Call 01483 233869, or email

There is no disabled access to the gallery. Car parking and toilets are available. You will be required to wear your face mask and wash hands on site before entering gallery at this time.

Also open at Perry Hill, Worplesdon for tours, worship, and a organ recital is the church of St Mary the Virgin.

The Grade 1 listed 13th-century church has fine manorial stained glass, including two 14th century figures. The 17th-century font, altar rails and pulpit were a gift from Eton college. A semaphore tower once stood in its ancient churchyard.

Open on Friday from 10am to 5pm, with a guided tour at 2pm. Saturday from 10am to 5pm, with an organ recital by Alex Coutts at noon (also available virtually on line), and a guided tour at 2pm. A walking tour of the churchyard and nearby Whitmoor Common at 2.30pm. Sunday from 10am to 5pm, with Holy Communion at 11am.

Pre booking is essential. Call 01483 233091 or email

The tower of Holy Trinity Church, Guildford

Other places of worship open include: St Mary’s, St Nicolas and Holy Trinity Church in Guildford town centre, Shalford Cemetery Chapel, SS Peter and Paul Church in West Clandon, and the old and the current parish church in Albury.

Guildford’s town guides are offering a number of town centre history walks. Topics include: Made in Guildford, Guildford Story, Hidden Guildford, and Kings, Worthies and Scoundrels.

There is also a guided walk in Bramley, led by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, on Sunday discovering canal architecture past and present.

In addition, and for the first, there are some online events on offer. They include: Effingham Local History Group has an online exhibition: All Sorts of Peculiar Thing. There will be five blog posts by the University of Surrey looking at its archives and special collections. And an online video of St St Bartholomew’s Church at Wanborough.

Guildford’s Heritage Open Days are organised by Guildford Borough Council, the Guildford Society and Guildford Town Guides.

Warning regarding finding out more details….. Guildford Borough Council’s website does not give a detailed listing for this year’s Heritage Open Days events, in Guildford, but offers a link to the Heritage Open Days national website.

To save readers a search, this is the link to the Guildford area events.

However, I found some of the details without links to the websites of specific buildings, churches, etc, taking part, and some details, and in particular addresses, wrong or incomplete!

Many of the Guildford listings on the national website under the heading ‘Additional Information’ offer a link straight back to Guildford Borough Council’s website and its Heritage Open Days page!

Best to check with each venue direct before planning a visit.

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