10 best picks for Heritage Open Days in the West Midlands

Watch Chris Halpin's report on Stirchley Baths in Birmingham

Hundreds of historic buildings will throw open their doors for free this weekend giving behind the scenes tours to the public. Here's our top 10 picks in the West Midlands:

  • 1 - Stirchley Baths, Birmingham

Stirchley Baths is a Grade II listed former Edwardian swimming baths which opened in 1911, and closed in 1988. After over 25 years standing empty, the building was refurbished with some of its original features restored, and re-opened in January 2016 as a community hub.

On Friday and Saturday Beryl from the Baths will reenact key decades from the swimming pools history.

On Sunday you can have an exclusive underground tour of the former baths, and even get to see the now hidden deep end.

Event not suitable for children under the age of 3.

STIRCHLEY BATHS: More details on how to book

  • 2 - Highbury Hall, Birmingham

Highbury Hall Credit: Heritage Open Day

Join the guided Tours of the Chamberlain family's Victorian Urban Stately Home and discover the children's history trails and wildlife activities.You'll also have the opportunity to comment on the vision for Highbury's future and register your interest to be kept in touch.There will also be a variety of stalls and activities run by local groups.

HIGHBURY HALL: More details on how to book

  • 3 - Moor Pool Estate, Harborne

Moor Pool 1910 Credit: Moorpool Heritage Trust

This 'secret garden suburb', the Moor Pool Estate is located 10 minutes from Harborne High Street. Designed in the Arts and Crafts style in the early 1900s in response to the overcrowded urban dwellings, it has continued to provide residents with extensive green space, allotments as well as leisure facilities.

MOOR POOL ESTATE: More details on how to book

  • 4 - Wedgwood Institute, Stoke-on-Trent

Middleport Pottery Credit: Prince's Regeneration Trust

The Wedgwood Institute is one of the UK’s most significant historical buildings. Situated in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent it was built in the 1860s to provide local working people with access to arts and science education and training.

Visit on Saturday 10th September to watch as Restoke, a Stoke-based performance company, rehearse for their forthcoming site-specific production, creatively reimagining this beautiful historic space.

WEDGWOOD INSTITUTE: More details on how to book

  • 5 - Tudor house Museum, Worcester

Visit this 16th century building and find out about hops and herbs in Tudor times. Costumed interpreters will tell you about the history of the building and its lost backyard. You can also discover the early brewing history of The Cross Keys pub.

Childrens' Tudor-themed activities on Saturday. Event not suitable for children under the age of 2.

TUDOR HOUSE MUSEUM: More details on how to book

  • 6 - Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

The Flaxmill Maltings site Credit: Heritage Open Day

The Flaxmill Maltings site contains three grade one listed buildings, including the World's first, third and eighth iron-framed structures. There will be interpretation and displays on the history, structure and uses of the buildings.

The new Visitor Centre will be open to public to learn more about the structures and their uses over two centuries.

In addition there will be music, an art exhibition, child friendly activities and other entertainment throughout the weekend.

FLAXMILL MALTINGS: More details on how to book

  • 7 - Leamington Real Tennis Club, Warwkickshire

How about joining the guided tours of Leamington Spa's real tennis court?Built in 1846/7 by Jackson of Leamington Spa, the active real tennis club is a fine 19th century building.

The tour lasts approximately 1 hour.

TENNIS CLUB: More details on how to book

  • 8 - Godiva Clock and Crypt Tour, Coventry

The iconic Godiva Clock Credit: Coventry Telegraph

A chance to see behind the scenes of Coventry's iconic Godiva clock. Meet at the statue of Lady Godiva in Broadgate. Then continue your tour by taking a look in Civic Centre 2's underground crypt.

GODIVA CLOCK & CRYPT: More details on how to book

  • 9 - Black Country Museum Store tour, Dudley

Black Country Museum Credit: Black Country Living Museum

Join the behind the scenes tour where you can meet the BCLM Curators and see some of the museum’s hidden treasures and curiosities.

You will be guided around the museum stores by our Collections Team and find out the stories that lie behind some of the 80,000 objects and how the museum looks after its large social history and industrial collection.

Event not suitable for children under the age of 8.

BLACK COUNTRY STORE TOUR: More details on how to book

  • 10 - Harecastle Tunnel, Stoke on Trent

Travel through the Harecastle tunnel aboard the Lindsay, an historic ex-working canal narrowboat. The first canal tunnel through Harecastle Hill was the longest man-made tunnel in the world when completed in 1777. James Brindley, its engineer died before its completion. His tunnel is no longer in use. We now go through Thomas Telford's parallel tunnel, which is 2,926 yards or 2,675 metres long.

HARECASTLE TUNNEL: More details on how to book