HERITAGE Open Days celebrated its 25th anniversary with a party at the City Mill in Winchester.

Guests included the mayor Eleanor Bell and Annie Reilly, national manager for Heritage Open Days.

They were joined by many of their festival event organisers and sponsors including Winchester College, Winchester BID, Shentons Solicitors, Hampshire County Council, Winchester City Council and Hampshire Cultural Trust.

It was also the first opportunity for everyone to see this year’s festival programme with more than 140 events booked for this September.

Winchester Heritage Open Days is a free ten-day festival from September 13-22, celebrating Winchester’s history, cultural heritage and architecture.

Now in its fourth year, Winchester Heritage Open Days is getting bigger and better.

Nicky Gottlieb, festival director and Becky Brown, engagement director, are delighted that this year, as well as many favourites returning, there are also lots of new events such as: Masterchef winner Jane Devonshire sharing her passion for local fare and inside gossip on the show; ITV presenter Alastair Stewart discussing the impact of technology on news coverage; Weorod: Early Medieval Living History in the grounds of the Cathedral; Bespoke Biking bike tour of Winchester; and chocolate making at Montezuma’s.

There is a rare opportunity to see inside Abbots Barton Farmhouse.

Three Open Greener Houses, will be organised by Winchester Action on Climate Change and there will be a Celebration of Keats 200 with the art and writings of Hampshire children on display in City Museum, and poetry readings led by Winchester Poetry Festival at the Discovery Centre.

The festival organisers are immensely grateful to their lead sponsor Winchester College for supporting the festival again this year.

Dr Tim Hands, Headmaster, said: “The College, founded in 1382 by a local boy who rose from unexceptional origins to become the most influential citizen in the land, has unique buildings, an extensive archive, and, in its Treasury,a restored space for exhibiting its collections.

“Yet even longstanding Winchester residents may not have seen even a part of the treasures which the College is privileged to possess. Heritage Open Days enable not only the College but also our city to celebrate our heritage and to make the wider world aware of it.”

It was extra special last night as the party was one of the last National Trust events that Ric Weeks, manager and Naomi Barker, learning officer & visitor operations will be involved with. They are both leaving City Mill soon for new roles.

For more information about Heritage Open Days visit winchesterheritageopendays.org.

The Box Office opens August 7 for general public, and in July for the supporters who are registered on the mailing list.

It is funded by a combination of sponsorship and local authority grants.