Sunderland's most-historical buildings, including Fulwell Windmill, Ryhope Engines Museum and Washington F Pit, to throw open their doors for Heritage Open Days 2022

Sunderland’s most-historical buildings will be throwing open their doors for this year’s Heritage Open Days.

From shining a light on the Sunderland inventor of the lightbulb to making proggy mats, people are being invited to learn more about Wearside’s rich tapestry.

As part of England’s largest festival of history and culture, there will be a host of open days and activities taking place in and around Sunderland from Friday, September 9 to Sunday, September 18.

This year’s theme is Astounding Inventions and it will showcase England's history of innovation, celebrating the creations that make our lives easier – as well as the imaginative inventors behind them.

Tracey Mienie from Seventeen Nineteen in the East End

As a city of astounding inventions and home to Joseph Swan, inventor of the incandescent lightbulb, Sunderland is well placed to bring a programme of events including talks, heritage walks, guided tours and visits to places significant to the city's history, cultural and industrial heritage.

There are also opportunities to immerse yourself in the city’s history with industrial workshops on blacksmithing, joinery and wagon restoration or try craft workshops.

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Visitors can take a vintage bus trip to Ryhope Engines Museum, Washington F Pit, Bowes Railway Museum and the North East Land Sea and Air Museum (NELSAM), enjoy interactive experiences including a guided walk around old Ryhope with best-selling Sunderland author Glenda Young, or try turning the quern and making some flour at Fulwell Mill.

The former Holy Trinity Church has been restored and reborn as Seventeen Nineteen

Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, Councillor Linda Williams, said: "This year’s Heritage Open Days really has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re interested in crafts, art, heritage walks, industrial workshops, or simply learning more about Sunderland’s history in the fantastic Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, there is so much on offer this year.

"Places are sure to fill up for these brilliant events so I'd encourage everyone to take a look at the full events programme online and book to secure a spot."

Liam Montgomery, Heritage Open Days Marketing & Projects Manager says: "The festival is just around the corner and it is fantastic to see that our community is putting on a staggering 4,500+ events, with more than 500 focusing on our Astounding Inventions theme. Whether it’s a doorstep discovery, a local curiosity, a world-famous attraction or a one-of-a-kind experience - there really is something for everyone this year."

Tracey Mienie, Chair of Heritage Sunderland Partnership, said: "Sunderland has such a rich and diverse heritage offer. As a partnership in heritage, we are excited to bring an exciting array of events with something for everyone. I would encourage you to support your favourite heritage venues but also try something new."

Sunderland Maritime Heritage will be open for the festival

Heritage Open Day highlights

:: September 9-18, Sunderland Maritime Heritage, 10am-3pm

The centre in the East End will be open to the public for tours

::Saturday 10 September, Seventeen Nineteen, 10am-12noon

Make some flour at Fulwell Mill

Take part in a proggy mat workshop and take away a work in progress with all the tools and materials you need to finish in your own home. Email [email protected]

::Saturday 10 September, Ryhope, 11am – 12noon

Join bestselling author Glenda Young on an illustrated walk around Ryhope visiting the real life locations from her historical novels which are set in Ryhope.

The walk will end at the Albion Inn where Glenda will happily sign copies of her books. Sturdy shoes are a must as the walk will cover some distance and on uneven terrain.

Booking is essential and places are offered on a first-come, first served basis. Free places can be booked by emailing [email protected]

::Tuesday 13 September, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens from 1-2pm

Join Tony Hall for a talk about the unusual inventions of William Mills, including the hand grenade and aluminium golf clubs. Free places can be pre-booked at or via the Museum Shop.

::Wednesday 14 September, Fulwell Mill Heritage, 11am-3pm

Enjoy a tour of Fulwell Mill – Turn the Quern and make some flour. Half Hour Tours start at 11am. Email [email protected] for more.

For the full programme visit