The region's weirdest tourist attraction?

The world's only listed pigeon cree is one of the attractions that will see visitors winging their way to Wearside as part of a regional heritage extravaganza.

More than 180 properties, tours and events make up this year's Tyne and Wear Heritage Open Days weekend, which runs from September 6 to 9.

And one of the latest – and smallest – draws is a Grade II listed wooden cree at Back Ryhope Street allotments in Ryhope, which has already attracted the interest of Harry Potter and Cracker star Robbie Coltrane.

The cree was built in 1953 by Maurice Surtees and his late brother William.

The 75-year-old still keeps the cree going with his fellow pigeon fancier Lewis Llewellyn, 65, and the pair will be welcoming visitors on Thursday, September 6.

Maurice, who has been flying pigeons since 1949, said: "We are over the moon about taking part in the heritage open days.

"We have an old-fashioned stove and we'll have the kettle on for visitors.

Lewis said: "Keeping and racing pigeons is a 24/7, 52 weeks of the year full-time activity. It's a brilliant hobby and I would like people to learn what it's all about."

Maurice and Lewis's cree was listed eight years ago in the face of plans to redevelop the site, and received Robbie Coltrane, a household name for his parts in Harry Potter, James Bond and Cracker, as a guest in May.

Mr Coltrane shared a mug of tea and a butty with the pair while filming for his new TV series, B Road Britain, which started last week.

Maurice and Lewis and their cree will be featured in the programme next Wednesday on ITV at 9pm.

Lewis, a retired fitter, said: "Robbie came with the television crew to do some filming and I have to say they were all absolutely brilliant.

"Robbie was very interested in what we had to say and appeared really knowledgeable about everything. He seemed to enjoy being on the site."

He added: "He was a very down to earth guy and, after filming finished, he praised us for what we were doing."

Other Heritage open days

Other highlights of the Tyne and Wear Heritage Open Days event in Wearside include:

A geologist-guided walk looking at the stones used in buildings in Monkwearmouth.

Houghton Hillside Cemetery with its newly-discovered graves and vaults.

The Victorian St Mary's Church in South Hylton, with its stained-glass windows to local shipbuilders.

Sunderland High School and Langham Tower.

Hearing the only manual nine-rank Compton organ in the North East, from the Regal/Odeon cinema in Sunderland, at Ryhope Community Association.

A tour around the Sunderland Echo newspaper offices and press hall, with a talk by a member of the senior editorial staff.

A rare chance to take a look inside Hylton Castle.

A visit to Sunderland Maritime Heritage to learn about the city's shipbuilding history.

A tour of the varied collection of aircraft at the North East Aircraft Museum.