31st August 2023
For immediate release


A Weekend celebrating Appleby’s rich heritage
Saturday & Sunday, 16th/17th September 2023

Appleby is delighted to be taking part in this year’s Heritage Open Day Festival, which will see eight venues in Appleby open to the public over the weekend of Saturday & Sunday, 16th and 17th September.

This free nationwide festival is the country’s largest celebration of local history, architecture and culture, with over 5,000 venues and involving thousands of local volunteers and organisations. To see all the venues taking part this year, visit the festival’s website at

It’s a chance to visit some properties that are not usually open to the public. These include some private residences like Castle Bank, an 18th century riverbank villa with a beautiful walled garden, which will have on display some paintings by Sir Charles Holmes, whose family inherited Castle Bank in the late 19th century; Battlebarrow House, a Victorian gothic style residence built in 1860 for the Heelis family, which is now home to two local artists and curators, filled with their eclectic collection of paintings and art objects; Drybeck Hall, a 17th century farmhouse acquired by the Tufton family who inherited Lady Anne Clifford’s estates.

St Lawrence’s Church will be hosting some fun family activities, including an ‘I Spy’ dragons and other beasties trail and a dragons and unicorns colouring activity, with prizes on the day. The Church will also have a display of carved medieval sandstone window fragments excavated in July last year from St Mary’s Priory as part of the Dig Appleby project.

Other venues which are open over the weekend include the Council Chamber in the Moot Hall, all three floors of the Masonic Hall, St Anne’s Almshouses endowed by Lady Anne Clifford in 1651 and the Colour Makers House on High Wiend.

Taking place at 12.30pm on the Saturday, a silver penny of King John (1199-1216) also excavated at Friary’s Fields during the Dig Appleby project will be formally handed over by the residents of Friary Fields to Councillor Pamela Davidson, Appleby’s Mayor into the stewardship of Appleby Town Council.

Appleby Council will also be piloting a new heritage QR trail over the weekend. It is hoped the trail will eventually feature all the key heritage landmarks of Appleby and will include a short audio clip and photographs.

All the venues are open on Saturday and Sunday, with some venues offering timed tours. For opening times and more information visit the Heritage Open Days website or pick up a leaflet from Appleby’s Tourist Information Centre.

The TIC will be open over the weekend from 10am to 3pm on Saturday and from 11am to 1pm on Sunday. It is also the last chance to visit the fascinating Westmorland Dales ‘Our Common Heritage’ exhibition in the TIC. The exhibition includes oral history interviews undertaken with commoners and members of the farming community.

Other good news for the heritage weekend is that Appleby HUB is due to re-open on Wednesday, 13th September following their refurbishment and will be open on the Saturday.