Free family fun in Chichester for Heritage Open Days

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This media release is being issued on behalf of Chichester Family Arts Network. Chichester is bursting with family friendly cultural activities and places to explore. From 8–17 September, Heritage Open Days offer 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!

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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.”

Magic of middle of earth exhibition is still on this monthMagic of middle of earth exhibition is still on this month
Magic of middle of earth exhibition is still on this month

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.

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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.

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)

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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.

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.

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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!