Food theme for Heritage Open Days 2021

Carluccios 3Reading heritage organisations and food enthusiasts are invited to enter events for this year’s national festival of heritage, Heritage Open Days, which takes place from 10-19 September 2021, with a theme of food and culinary heritage for 2021.

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of heritage and every year includes thousands of events across the country, including Reading. Anyone can put on an event for Heritage Open Days as long as it meets the criteria of providing a special experience, is free to attend and takes place during the festival period.

With the 2021 theme of Edible England, Reading UK is inviting Reading-based heritage organisations, food producers, restaurants, hotels, nature conservation organisations, community groups, coffee bars, cooks or chefs and food enthusiasts to consider hosting an event. From woodland foraging to factory floor, forgotten recipes to regional delicacies, events can explore the past, present and future of our culinary heritage and culture. Specifically, Edible England will be encouraging cultural cookalongs, celebrating the food from nature’s table and the food we have adopted here but which originates elsewhere in the world.

Events need to be free to attend but can take many forms and can be both in-person events or online/digital events and could range from walks to talks, cookery demonstrations to quizzes, Twitter conferences to video diaries, food sampling to open house days, insights into food jobs to hands-on activities.

The 2020 festival took place during the pandemic (but outside lockdown) and for practical, operational reasons included both in-person events and digital events such as films or talks online.  With the situation in 2021 still uncertain, event organisers are invited to consider both options for their events this September.

The 2021 festival theme of Edible England is optional for event organisers and does not preclude any heritage organisation putting on a non-food themed event, which celebrates a part of Reading’s heritage.

Alex Brannen of Reading UK, said: “With Reading’s rich culinary heritage and food culture spanning everything from Huntley & Palmers’ biscuits to famous pie shops, active community associations to breweries old and new,  a vibrant restaurant scene and café culture, University research specialisms in food technology, food markets and our many food enthusiasts, we are confident that Reading will rise to the challenge and celebrate our amazing food heritage as part of Heritage Open Days 2021.”

To find out more about taking part in Heritage Open Days 2021 and to register an event, visit Registration is now open but the final deadline to register events is 1 August.  Heritage Open Days are organised nationally by the National Trust. In Reading, Reading UK will be promoting Reading organisations’ contributions to Heritage Open Days 2021. More information and advice on hosting events locally is available from Alex Brannen by contacting


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