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Free Family Fun in Chichester for Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days

Free Family Fun in Chichester for Heritage Open Days



Chichester is bursting with family friendly cultural activities and places to explore. From 8th - 17th September, Heritage Open Days offers you the chance to explore Chichester's heritage free of charge.


Chichester's Family Arts Network is made up of six welcoming organisations from the north to the south of the city, working together to make Chichester's exciting family programme of events and experiences even better. We are Chichester Canal, Chichester Cathedral, Chichester Festival Theatre, The Graylingwell Chapel, Pallant House Gallery and The Novium Museum.


Heritage Open Days is England's largest community led festival of history and culture, involving thousands of local volunteers and organisations. Every year in September it brings people together to celebrate their heritage, community and history giving visitors the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences - and it's all free!


Councillor Jess Brown-Fuller, Chichester District Council's Cabinet Member for Culture and Events, says: 'We are so lucky to live in a city that has such a rich and diverse offering of heritage and cultural experiences. This is a fantastic opportunity for families to explore, celebrate and enjoy the wealth of culture Chichester has to offer.'


If you take part in any of these events and activities, be sure to share your experience with us on social media using the hashtag #ChichesterKidsApproved or by following us on Facebook: 



The Magic of Middle-earth at The Novium Museum, Tuesday, 12 - Sunday, 17 September 2.30 - 3.30pm 

An opportunity to visit The Magic of Middle-earth exhibition for free! This exciting exhibition is dedicated to the incredible fantasy worlds brought to life by J.R.R. Tolkien and presents a magical treasure trove of objects and artworks celebrating the epic fantasy novels 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings'. The exhibition includes gallery interactives in the 'Hobbiton' family area: take a selfie in a Hobbit chair and experience the surprise of an animatronic version of Smaug the Dragon! 'Little halflings' can get into character with fancy dress costumes.

For all the family: 

Open Day at Pallant House Gallery, Saturday, 16 September (10am - 4pm)

Visit Pallant House Gallery for free! The Gallery will be open to the public, offering an array of activities for children and families, including creative workshops and 'Show & Tell' talks. The Gallery will be celebrating the history of its Queen Anne House with tours led by Gallery Guides. There will be activity packs and discovery tools available all day to help youngsters explore the Gallery in a fun and engaging way.

For all the family:

Daily Tours at The Graylingwell Chapel, Friday, 8 - Saturday, 16 September (2.00pm)

View the recently refurbished historic Graylingwell Chapel. Daily tours will take place at 2pm to discover the exhibition that celebrates the history of Graylingwell Asylum. Enjoy the unique community space and café, and bring the kids along to enjoy the preschooler play area and outside playground.

For all the family:


National Heritage Day at Chichester Canal, Saturday, 9 September (10am - 3pm)

The Heritage Centre will bring 200 years of history to life with a model of a narrow boat and canal artefacts. There are also display boards and touch screens with images from the past. Find out about the wildlife and plants that are found in the canal. There will be free activities running for children, as well as a canal trail.

For all the family:


Pop up Family Fun at Chichester Festival Theatre,Monday 4 - Thursday 21 September (10am - 7pm Monday - Friday, 9am - 7pm on Saturdays)

Relax and reconnect at Chichester Festival Theatre in their family friendly spaces, next to the Café on the Park where children can discover toys, colouring-in, fancy dress and books.

For all the family:


Explore Chichester Cathedral, All week (Monday - Saturday, 9am - 5pm, Sundays 12.30pm - 2.30pm)

Nestled in the heart of Chichester, the Cathedral invites families to embark on an exciting journey filled with creativity, exploration and history. There's something for everyone, with daily guided tours, an on-site shop and cafe. Dogs are welcome too!

For all the family:


Chichester Family Arts Network

Chichester is bursting with family friendly activities and places to explore, and the Chichester FAN wants to inspire more families to play and have fun. Six welcoming organisations from the north to the south of the city have pledged to the Family Arts Standards, and together we're making Chichester's exciting family programme of events and experiences even better. 

The Chichester FAN works to: 

●        Offer a wide range of high quality arts experiences for families in the city

●        Help families be aware of the breadth of offers at all six venues 

●        Support each other's family events (especially the free ones!)

●        Share opportunities and learnings

●        Understand families' needs and engage with more diverse families 

●        Collaborate on at least one family friendly project across the city each year 


Chichester Canal 

Chichester Canal is operated and maintained by the Chichester Ship Canal Trust, a volunteer-led, self-funded, registered charity. The purpose of the Trust is to preserve and maintain an attractive and accessible canal, safeguarding the unique heritage and natural habitat, for present and future generations to enjoy. 


The Graylingwell Chapel

A community space for everybody, where families can meet, eat, connect and play. The Graylingwell Chapel has a cafe, pre-school children's interactive play area and space to run around or simply be.  Open from  9am-4pm Monday to Saturday, this unique community space allows families to come together in a beautifully converted Victorian Chapel. A full range of activities are available from story-time to arts workshops to youth band nights.


Chichester Festival Theatre

People from all walks of life come together at Chichester Festival Theatre - on and off the stage. Whatever we do, creativity and community go hand in hand. Our mission is to provide a space where everyone can find their place and be inspired and delighted. 


Pallant House Gallery

Pallant House Gallery is one of Britain's most distinctive modern art museums. It tells the story of British art from 1900 to now with original exhibitions and a world-class collection. Housed in an historic Queen Anne townhouse with a striking contemporary extension, you can see the work of some of Britain's greatest artists including Lucian Freud, Barbara Hepworth, John Piper and many more.


Chichester Cathedral 

Chichester Cathedral, visible from every direction to the city, has been at the centre of life in Chichester for over nine centuries and continues to have a vibrant family and community programme including events, art exhibitions, and chances to explore this historical landmark. Most events are free; donations are very welcome.


The Novium Museum

Telling the story of Chichester District through to the present day, The Novium Museum is Chichester's family friendly, award-winning museum. The museum is built over the remains of a Roman bathhouse with three floors of fascinating exhibitions to explore, and runs an exciting annual programme of events for all ages.