FORMER cotton mills, places of worship and historic buildings will all be throwing open their doors, some for the first time, to mark the 25th anniversary of Heritage Open Days.

Running from Friday until Sunday, September 22, around 100 different establishments in and around East Lancashire will be taking part offering tours, activities and exhibitions.

On Saturday visitors to Blackburn Cathedral will get the chance to have a guided tour of the bell tower or enjoy an open choir rehearsal, just two of a series of events and activities planned.

Also on Saturday, Gawthorpe Hall near Padiham is offering free entry to see its fabulous portraits from the National Portrait Gallery and the stunning Gawthorpe Textiles Collection. Throughout the afternoon, a free vintage bus will run between Padiham town centre and Gawthorpe Hall

Over the weekend, the Quaker Meeting House on Paradise Lane will be hosting a special exhibition, People Power highlighting some of the many Quaker campaigns and initiatives through the past 300 years.

In Darwen, Saturday will see a special open day at the town’s library featuring a new exhibition by The Friends of Darwen Library plus storytelling sessions and performances from the Darwen Library Larks.

St Peter’s Church in Darwen will be taking part in Heritage Open Days for the first time since restoration and on Saturday there will be tours plus an exhibition of artefacts associated with baptisms at the church over the years.

People Power is the title of an exhibition at St James’ Church, Haslingden, which opens tomorrow until Sunday. The church will be opening its archives and there will be a chance to enjoy bell ringing demonstrations.

At St Mary & All Saints Parish Church ,Whalley, you will be able to take a tower tour on Saturday and Sunday.

In Haslingden, Grane Mill will be open over the next two weekends and the mill engine - which is currently being restored - will be running, powered by an electric motor

At Clitheroe Castle Museum a new exhibition will mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War and the role of the Home Front in Clitheroe

Around the Ribble Valley there will be a series of events which come under the heading Rivers of Peace and Protest. These include a pop up display at the Swan and Royal Hotel on the events which led to the reading of the Riot Act on the steps of the hotel in 1878. The Platform Gallery will also be hosting a series of events.

East Lancashire’s connections to the mining industry will be recognised at Woodend Mining Museum based at Smithson’s Farm Camping and Caravan Site, Woodend Road, Reedley.

The museum boasts an impressive collection of coal mining memorabilia, much of it donated by local men who spent their lives underground in the Burnley area hewing coal.

One of East Lancashire’s oldest churches, St Nicholas Church, Newchurch in Rossendale, will be open over the weekend and visitors will get the chance to climb the bell tower.

Next week, Blackburn Library will be offering tours to see the reserve book collection and community history stock, areas of the library not normally open to the public.

The Heritage Open Day project always includes some unique opportunities and next Sunday, September 22, the Burnley Empire will open its door for the first time since 1995. It will be a rare chance to see inside Burnley’s last surviving Music Hall.

On the same date, Child Action Northwest (CANW) is inviting the public to its Whalley Road centre in Wilpshire for its annual Heritage Open Day event.

Visitors will have the opportunity to learn all about the charity’s history, which dates back almost 130 years as Blackburn Orphanage, and discover more about how the charity still works with young people and families in 2019.

The event will involve an interactive exhibition, children’s activities and refreshments, plus at 12pm and 2pm there will also be a series of talks taking place, which will provide interesting stories and details about the charity’s background and history.

CANW’s Heritage Day is a free-of-charge event and will take place from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, September 22. Visitor numbers are expected to be high, particularly for the talks at 12pm and 2pm, so advance booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. Email to secure your place.

A whole series of guided walks and heritage trails are being lined up as part of Heritage Open Days ranging from an immersive family adventure inspired by the history of the Weavers’ Triangle to a guided tour of some of the most historic inns in Clitheroe.

The Bureau for the Arts, now based at the former Thwaites visitor centre on Penny Street in Blackburn, will be organising a series of events and workshops.

For lovers of vintage transport, Blackburn’s Cathedral Square will be the place to go next Sunday when there will be a display of vintage buses in local liveries.

Belthorn Village History Society will be hosting a heritage weekend at the Dog Inn on Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22 featuring an historic collection of photos and memorabilia.

Across the North West there will be more than 600 different events during the 10-days period. All events are free but advance booking may be available for some where numbers are limited.

For full details of all events, visit