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Portsmouth City Council is hosting some of the first ever digital events during England’s largest annual festival of history and culture.

13 events are being delivered online from Friday 11 to Sunday 20 September as part of the digital programme for Heritage Open Days 2020. Residents and visitors will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore the Lord Mayor’s Parlour;
  • Discover the history of Kingston Cemetery and Victoria Park;
  • Visit Portsmouth City Museum’s art gallery and archaeology collection;
  • Learn the history of the Hotwalls and Round Tower; and
  • Discover the Overlord Embroidery which tells the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

It’s the first time Heritage Open Days has incorporated virtual events into the festival which offers everyone the opportunity to explore hidden parts of the country, wherever they are in the world.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development at Portsmouth City Council, said: “We have responded to the impact of the pandemic and embraced technology to enable us to continue to offer a programme of events for Heritage Open Days. It’s important for us that residents and visitors to the city have the chance to explore Portsmouth, and delivering these events virtually mean even more people can benefit.

“The programme on offer is varied and exciting, and I hope that many people will get involved and support us as we deliver these events online.”

All of the events are free and will be available to view on Facebook, either streamed live or pre-recorded and premiered for the first time. Participants unable to ‘attend’ the events can watch again with all videos remaining on Facebook.

Annie Reilly, Head of Producing at Heritage Open Days, said: “We have seen some ingenious approaches to culture going digital recently, and we’re excited by the potential for HODs, not least of all because so many more people will be able to experience the festival regardless of where they are in the country.

“Heritage Open Days is about connecting people so we can share in the amazing stories of the places, spaces, nature, heritage and history around us. The last few months have shown us how online events can bring us together even when we have to remain apart.”

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture; in 2019, over 5,700 events welcomed more than 2.4 million visitors across the country. Heritage Open Days is coordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Every single Heritage Open Days event is free, including access to many sites that usually charge for admission. For details and opening times, visit

To view the full list of events in Portsmouth, visit the Portsmouth City Council Facebook events page –