Bishop Auckland Heritage Festival: A Journey Through Time, Saturday 23rd September 2023

Heritage Festival, Bishop Auckland Market Place on Saturday 23rd September 2023

The Bishop Auckland Heritage Festival is back, and it’s bigger and better than ever before! On Saturday 23rd of September 2023, from 10am to 4pm, the town of Bishop Auckland invites you to embark on a remarkable journey through time, uncovering the rich history and heritage that have shaped this extraordinary community.

This year’s festival promises an exciting line-up of activities, exhibitions, and events that will captivate all ages. With an emphasis on community engagement and storytelling, the Bishop Auckland Heritage Festival invites everyone to share their stories and memories of the town and its people.

The Bishop Auckland Heritage Festival’s program is bursting with exciting offerings that promise an unforgettable day of exploration and entertainment. Don’t miss the Heritage Talks and Walking Tours, where expert speakers and authors will unveil the fascinating stories and architectural treasures that make Bishop Auckland special today.

Car enthusiasts will be thrilled by the Vintage Car Show, where the gleaming vintage automobiles showcased by the Northern Bygones Society will transport you back in time.  Families can look forward to the Puppet Show, a whimsical experience filled with live music and puppetry, ensuring laughter and creativity for all ages. For those with a green finger, the Bishop Auckland Horticulture Show will be a highlight, allowing you to immerse yourself in the area’s rich gardening heritage. The tranquil Castle Gardens will offer a peaceful retreat amid the historical splendour of Auckland Castle.

A copy of the event programme is available at www.baccanalia.co.uk/heritagefestival

Can’t attend the full day? Tune in to Bishop FM on 105.9 FM to catch live broadcasts and interviews from the event.


The entire festival program has been funded by Historic England and Durham County Council, allowing all attendees to enjoy these incredible events free of charge.  While most events are drop-in, some require pre-booking, so be sure to visit https://baccanalia.ssboxoffice.com/events to secure your place.

Join us at the Bishop Auckland Heritage Festival on the 23rd of September 2023, for a day of discovery, celebration, and a deep dive into our town’s fascinating history.  Together, we’ll shape the future by understanding and appreciating our past.

Dr Robert McManners OBE DL, Chair of Bishop Auckland Civic Society and Conservation Area Partnership, said:
“We inherit our history, but history shapes the future we can build. Bishop Auckland is a town steeped in history dating back to pre-Roman times. That history has determined the town’s re-invention of its role on many occasions – from a Roman garrison town to an Anglo-Saxon walled village, from the seat of a Norman bishopric to a medieval market town, from a Victorian industrial centre to a heritage tourist destination. Our very heritage itself is now forging our destiny. Join us at the Heritage Festival to relive and enjoy our history to help us all shape that future.”

To make bookings, please visit https://baccanalia.ssboxoffice.com/events/


Vintage Car Show
10:30 AM – 3:00 PM, Marketplace
Experience the roar of engines and the gleam of polished vintage cars. The Northern
Bygones Society will showcase its fantastic collection of vintage automobiles, creating a
spectacle that’s sure to impress.

Forum for History & Heritage Exhibits
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Town Hall
Explore over 50 exhibits presented by the County Durham Forum for History & Heritage.
Dive into the history of Ebchester Roman Fort, amateur football in County Durham, and
Weardale’s rail history.

Puppet Show
10:30 AM & 1:30 PM, Town Hall
Join Mildred Mangle and Annette L’Aunderette from the Save Odd Sock Society for live
music, puppetry, and odd-sock shenanigans suitable for ages 3-7 and their grown-ups.
Create your own sock puppet to take home!

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Town Hall
Immerse yourself in the history of Bishop Auckland Town Hall, from its inauguration in
1862 to its triumphant reopening in 1993. “We Are 30” is an odyssey that fuses history
and heritage.

Heritage Talks with Ed Waugh
10:45 AM, Town Hall
Join Ed Waugh, playwright of “Wor Bella,” to uncover the inspiring stories of North East
women’s football heroes during WW1.

Heritage Talks with Bryan Harris
11:45 AM, Town Hall
Explore Bishop Auckland’s hidden history and modern heritage with Bryan Harris, a
local government conservation planner.

Heritage Talks with Tony Nicholson
12:45 PM, Town Hall
Discover a captivating Victorian love story unearthed by historian Tony Nicholson from
an attic cache of photographs and letters.

Tom Hutchinson Book Signing
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Town Hall
Meet the author of “Down the Batts Bank between the two World Wars,” a local history
book that explores the lives of Bishop Auckland’s inhabitants during the 1920s and

Walking Tours
10:45 AM & 2:00 PM, Meet at the Town Hall
Join Clare Howard and Jayne Rimmer, authors of “Bishop Auckland: the Growth of an
Historic Market Town,” on a journey to explore the town’s rich history and architectural

Castle Gardens
10:30 AM – 4:00 PM, Auckland Castle
Explore the castle’s gardens for free and revel in the last flourish of summer blooms.

Bishop Auckland Horticulture Show
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Auckland Castle
Discover the rich history of the Bishop Auckland Horticulture Show, dating back to 1852.
Enjoy classes, competitions, advice, and beautiful displays.

Alastair Flindall Exhibition
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM, The Bishops Museum
Explore artworks that investigate the fandom of early-mid-century elite amateur football,
a significant part of Bishop Auckland’s history.

Henry VIII’s Lost Tapestry
10:30 AM – 4:00 PM, No.42
Learn about the campaign to save Henry VIII’s lost tapestry and how it could find its
home in Bishop Auckland’s Faith Museum through activities for all ages.

Volunteer with Kynren
10:30 AM – 3:00 PM, No.42
Discover how you can become a Kynren Volunteer and immerse yourself in the local
historical extravaganza.

Football Heritage Collage Workshop
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM, No.42
Create photomontages depicting local footballing history and explore storytelling
through art and technology.

St. Andrew’s Church
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, South Church
Explore a 749-year history at St. Andrew’s Church, a historically significant place of
worship with stunning stained glass windows and medieval misericords.

A copy of the event programme is available at www.baccanalia.co.uk/heritagefestival
For bookings, visit https://baccanalia.ssboxoffice.com/events