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Heritage Open Days - visit free!

Heritage Open Days

An opportunity to visit The Magic of Middle-earth exhibition for free! 

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!

Limited availability, booking in advance is essential. Free sessions are limited to: 

  • Tuesday, 12 September: 3pm - 4.30pm

  • Wednesday, 13 September: 3pm - 4.30pm

  • Thursday, 14 September: 3pm - 4.30pm

  • Friday, 15 September: 3pm - 4.30pm

  • Saturday, 16 September: 3.30pm - 5pm

  • Sunday, 17 September: 2.30pm - 4pm 

Book now: Magic of Middle-earth Heritage Open Day offer (opens new window)

The Magic of Middle-earth presents a magical treasure trove of objects and artworks celebrating the epic fantasy novels 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings'. 

This exciting exhibition is dedicated to the incredible fantasy worlds brought to life by J.R.R. Tolkien and the generations of creators his writing has influenced.

Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic. He is best known as the author of 'The Hobbit' (1937) and 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954). Regarded as the 'father' of modern fantasy literature, Tolkien's cultural influence has extended far beyond  other authors. Middle-earth has inspired creative minds of all types and acted as a Minecraft-like toolbox for generations of artists, musicians, film makers, environmentalists and game designers - most recently inspiring Amazon's 2022 blockbuster series 'Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power'. The Magic of Middle-earth will take visitors on a journey beyond the books to explore that expansive artistic legacy.

The exhibition features over 200 incredible artworks and objects from across the decades including:

  • A rare first edition copy of The Hobbit from 1937;
  • Dramatic models and dioramas including The Battle of Helms Deep;
  • Concept artwork, theatre, music and movie-inspired memorabilia and prop replicas;
  • Stunning paintings of dragons, Ents and Elves and artwork illustrating Tolkien's deep passion for the natural world;
  • Middle-earth inspired video games and LEGO sets;.
  • A soundscape including music by Howard Shore, who composed, orchestrated, conducted and produced the music of 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy (2001 - 2003) and 'The Hobbit' film series (2012 - 2014).

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 and follow a Mystical Quest trail through the museum.

Statement from collector Matt Fox: This exhibition has not been prepared, approved or licensed by the estate of J.R.R Tolkien or any of its assignees. This is not an official exhibition. The exhibitor recognises that some words, names and designations mentioned within are the property of the trademark holder. They are used for identification purposes only.