One Festival, two weekends - 5,000 events...

For the first time ever, England’s biggest festival of heritage and culture will take place across two weekends, offering visitors across the South West more opportunities to discover the secret history of their towns, villages and countryside.

Alongside traditional Heritage Open Days events, there will be a special programme of Extraordinary Women talks, walks and exhibitions, in celebration of the centenary of the Universal Suffrage Act.

Openings take place from September 6 to 9 and again from September 13 to 16, with every single walk, talk, opening and exhibition free to visit.

Here's a taste of just some of the activities taking place across Dorset...

Belmont House, The Landmark Trust, Lyme Regis

See the results of an £1.8m project to restore Belmont to how it looked in the 18th century! Visitors can also learn about the occupier at the time, extraordinary woman Mrs Eleanor Coade, whose reliable kiln-fired method for making architectural embellishments revolutionised mass-production and influenced the way buildings look across the country.

Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9, 10am – 4pm

Bridport Town Hall, Bridport Town Council, Bridport

Learn about Bridport’s maritime history with a rope and net display, memorabilia from HMS Bridport, and Paintings by Fra Newbery in this former Georgian Court House.

All festival days except Sundays, 10am – 4pm

Clavell Tower, The Landmark Trust, Wareham

Admire this eccentric folly and its beautiful surroundings which inspired famous authors including Hardy and P. D. James. Protected for future generations by being moved 25m away from the cliff edge in 2008, visitors will get to see the building usually only accessible as one of the country’s most popular holiday rooms.

Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9, 10am – 4pm

White Mill, National Trust, Wimborne

Join a guided tour of this beautiful mill to discover its workings and hear the stories from the past. Visitors can also enjoy the beautiful river setting of this 18th century corn mill on the banks of the River Stour.

Satturday, September 15, 12pm – 4pm

Lulworth Castle & Park, Lulworth Estate, Wareham

Walk in the footsteps of royalty as you explore this 17th century castle. Visitors can enjoy the woodland walks and children's playground, with fun activities including Hunt the Bat in the Castle and Hunt the Squirrel in the Park.

Thursday, September 6 and Friday, September 7, 10:30am - 5pm

Mapperton House, Beaminster

Explore the Earl and Countess of Sandwich’s Jacobean manor house on a tour of rooms and items not normally open to the public. Visitors will get to see a fine collection of pictures and furniture as well as learn about the Montagu family’s connection to Samuel Pepys, and the origin of the eponymous snack!

Friday, September14, 11am and 12pm

Kingston Lacy, National Trust, Wimborne

Explore the stunning grounds, including the new Woodland Trail, Kitchen Garden and Japanese Garden. The head inside to see the UK’s largest private collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts and learn about the four Extraordinary Women who have been instrumental in shaping the estate.

Friday, September 14, 10am – 6pm