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Sudbury's Heritage Open Days 2023

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September

At venues throughout Sudbury

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. Stories are told, traditions explored, and histories brought to life. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it’s all FREE.

In Sudbury we coordinate a host of free open house events, guided tours, talks, screenings and hands-on creative workshops all to showcase Sudbury's fascinating heritage spanning many centuries...

Take a look at our 2023 programme below and get involved!

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Made in Sudbury:

Creativity Unwrapped

In 2023 Heritage Open Days will be unwrapping the colourful history of creativity. From the famous to the ‘familiar only to locals’, and uncovering all areas of creativity!

We'll be celebrating with 'Made in Sudbury' with a host of FREE activities and events!

Although Sudbury's beautiful and timeless countryside has been an inspiration for countless artists through the centuries, among them John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough and Maggie Hambling, Sudbury's creative talents extend way beyond the easel...

Sudbury also boasts a wealth of literary talent that we'll be showcasing at our 'Meet the Author' event on Saturday 16th September, find out below about our open call for '101 Dalmatian Creations!

Our popular free themed guided tour programme also returns for Heritage Opens Days 2023, with a chance to step into the Sudbury story with our expert Blue Badge Guides!

Programme of events

We've got a bumper offering for you this Heritage Open Days so we've compiled a programme of all the wonderful free guided tours, open house events, crafty workshops and more on offer during the weekend of 15 - 17 September.

Spaces are free, but numbers are limited on all guided tours so please book in advance to avoid disappointment.


In person: Rather a free printed programme? No, problem, just come pick one up from Sudbury's Tourist Information Centre at The Town Hall (Gaol Lane Entrance), CO10 1TL. Map and open hours here.

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Explore Sudbury's Dalmatian Creation Town Trail

8 - 17 September 

Town-wide trail | VIEW MAP HERE

As part of 'Creativity Unwrapped' in Sudbury, we invited our local community to get crafty in celebration of local legend Dodie Smith's 101 Dalmatians.

We called and Sudbury answered! We have (nearly) 101 dalmatians for people to find on this crafty town trail of upcycled, sewn, sawn, weaved, lasered, painted and drawn Dalmatians!


Why Dalmatians? Beloved author Dodie Smith lived just outside Sudbury, Suffolk for over 60 years and was a familiar sight in the town. Her affection for Sudbury is clear in one of her most famous books:101 Dalmations...

Dodie, Dalmatians and Sudbury

Beloved author Dodie Smith lived just outside Sudbury, Suffolk for over 60 years and was a familiar sight in the town.  Her affection for our town is clear in one of her most famous books:101 Dalmations...

"Just before midnight they came to the market town of Sudbury. Pongo paused as they crossed the bridge over the River Stour.


'Here we enter Suffolk' he said, triumphantly. They ran on through the quiet streets of old houses and into the market square. They had hoped they might meet some dog and hear if any news of the puppies have come at the Twilight Barking, but not so much as a cat was stirring.


While they were drinking at the fountain, church clocks began to strike midnight.  Missis said gladly: 'Oh, Pongo, it's tomorrow! Now we shall be with our puppies today!"

Free to Explore:
Events and venues open for Heritage Open Days 2023

As well as all these fantastic events, there is plenty to that is FREE TO EXPLORE in Sudbury during Heritage Open Days - From Sudbury's outstanding green spaces, ancient water meadows and characterful architecture, to unique cultural spaces...

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Gainsborough's House

Free Entry 15 - 17 September

Gainsborough's House is finally completely 'unwrapped' in the new gallery is the very personal Maggi Hambling 'Origins' exhibition examining her deep connection with Suffolk. There is so much more to see including the exquisite gardens, Gainsborough, Constable, Cedric Morris galleries, a room dedicated to Sudbury Silk and so much more...

Mill Tye Gallery

Mill Tye Gallery

Summer Printmakers Exhibition

Nestled in a beautiful spot near the River Stour visit the former Cornard Mill building, once a medieval water mill, now a vibrant Arts Centre. Explore their two new exhibitions and fantastic shop packed with affordable prints, originals and handmade gifts by local artists and makers.

Sudbury Market & Green Sundays on Market Hill

Don't forget to visit Sudbury's lively traditional outdoor market in the heart of Sudbury on Market Hill every Thursday and Saturday. A Royal Charter reveals there was a market in Sudbury as far back as 1009! On Sunday 17th September we will also be hosting our Green Sundays Eco Market!

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Sudbury Tourist

Information Centre

Town Hall, (Gaol Lane entrance), Sudbury, CO10 1TL

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Weavers' Piece Garden 

at Siam Place

Siam Place,

CO10 1JJ

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Sudbury Water Meadows &

Gainsborough Trails

Accessible via The Croft, CO10 1JD

or Walnut Tree Lane, CO10 1BD

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Belle Vue Park &

Skate Park

Newton Road (entrance)

CO10 2TX

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Sudbury Heritage Centre & Museum

Town Hall, (Gaol Lane entrance)

Sudbury, CO10 1TL

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Explore Sudbury on a self-guided trail!

Walking in and around Sudbury Guide here

Thank you to Sudbury's Heritage Open Days 2023 Partners & Participants
Coordinated by Sudbury Town Council

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Heritage Lottery fund logo
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Sudbury Arts Centre and Gainsborough's House would like to acknowledge the generous support of The Heritage Lottery Fund in their recent redevelopment projects.

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