Skip to main content

Heritage Festival

Home » Heritage Festival

This September, you are invited to delve into Kingston’s heritage with a series of events and open house days celebrating the borough’s rich 1100-year history, all of which are free to explore!

Why not start off with a visit to Kingston Museum or Kingston History Centre to find out the history of our borough. The Kingston Tour Guides are ready and waiting to take you on a guided walk of Kingston or Surbiton, a number of events will be taking place in the town centre bringing history to life and celebrating the diverse cultural heritage of the town, plus, thanks to a team of volunteers, a number of buildings and venues across the borough usually closed to the public are offering a rare opportunity to sneak a peek inside, allowing you to admire the architecture, discover its historical importance and learn something new about your local area.

Kingston Heritage Festival is an initiative set up by Kingston Heritage Service with Kingston First, the Kingston-upon-Thames Society and other local heritage groups and individuals.

 

> Download the handy guide to find out what's on      

Dave Diamond - Thames 1745

Ancient Market Place, KT1 1JS

Sat 7 Sep | 1.30pm & 3.30pm
Sun 8 Sep | 1.30pm & 3.30pm

In this family show, we head back in time to 1745 where the landlady of the Queen’s Head Ale House in Kingston-upon-Thames has been up to no good, selling short measures, fighting and shouting. Finally, she is captured and sentenced to the ducking stool. It’s time for the people of Kingston to rejoice, or is it?

In this joint venture between Dave Diamond and Alice Mrozek, the worlds of theatre and circus come together to tell this true story, which is the last known use of the ducking stool in London.

Hold your breath with the landlady as she struggles to free herself from the ducking stool in this escapology come circus event. The landlady is first shackled into a metal straitjacket and then water is poured into the tank that she is placed in. She has just found a nail file to pick the locks and to free herself. See for yourself if she can escape or if she is doomed.

Free event but donations are welcome. No booking necessary, just turn up and enjoy.

Kingston Korea Festival

Ancient Market Place, KT1 1JS

Sat 14 Sep | All day

The Royal Borough of Kingston has been home to one of the largest Korean populations outside of Korea for generations. In this free, family-oriented event, all are welcome to experience a true celebration of Korean Culture at their annual Harvest Fest.

Taking place in Ancient Market Place, this year’s highlight will be a community dance project led by The Move, a professional dance company from South Korea in collaboration with LOKO (London KPop Dance Workshop), a well-established London dance workshop company. This unique dance project will engage with the local people to make a community dance programme together on the day - no experience necessary, just come prepared to get up and dance!

Also on the day, the Master of Kimchi Making, H.Y.Lee and the World Institute of Kimchi (WIKIM) are coming back to demonstrate how to make authentic Kimchi, plus there will be various events and activities to get involved in, including paper lantern making and the opportunity to try on traditional Korean costume.

Friends of Kingston Museum

Kingston Museum, KT1 2PS

Thu 19 Sep | 6.30 pm

Talk by local historian Richard Holmes “Kingston Workhouse to Kingston Hospital”

Free. Book on 020 8476440 or kingston.museum@kingston.gov.uk

Kingston Film Archives

Kingston Museum Art Gallery, KT1 2PS

Sat 21 Sep | All day

View a collection of archive footage of Kingston through the years at Kingston Museum's Art Gallery. 

Youth Club Archive Scanning Social 

Kingston History Centre, Guildhall, KT1 1EU        

Sat 21 Sep | 10am - 5pm

Show us your youth! The Museum of Youth Culture is looking to tell the story of what it was like growing up in Britain and we need your photographs, ephemera and stories to help tell the story of Kingston's youth. We will be at the Kingston History Centre with a scanner as part of the Heritage Festival, taking your submissions for the museum's collection. Whether you have one photograph or a small archive, come along to say hi and we will scan your photograph while you wait. You will walk away with a hi-res digital copy and your photograph will help tell the incredible story of Britain's youth. 

Kingston Tour Guides Annual Pageant

Ancient Market Place, KT1 1JP

Thu 12 Sep | 6pm

Enjoy an immersive historical experience and learn all about our beautiful town with the Kingston Tour Guides, who, dressed in Edwardian costume, will bring the town’s historical figures to life, sharing stories and insights about Kingston’s rich heritage.

This year’s special tour focuses on the town’s lifeblood, the River Thames and is themed around Jerome K. Jerome’s famous story, Three Men in a Boat which begins and finishes in Kingston.

No tickets required, arrive promptly at the meeting point under the Golden Queen in Ancient Market Place to begin the tour.

Kingston Guided Walking Tours          

Ancient Market Place, KT1 1JP

Sat 14 Sep | 11am
Sun 15 Sep | 11am

Join the Kingston Tour Guides for a fun and informative guided walk around Kingston and learn about the town’s fascinating history. Meet under the Golden Queen outside the Market House. Booking essential.

Book your place at www.kingstontourguides.org.uk

Surbiton Guided Walking Tour

Surbiton Station, Victoria Road, KT6 4PE

Sun 15 Sep | 11am

Come on a walk to Surbiton, the queen of suburbs. Learn why it was once called 'Kingston upon Railway', admire the grand Victorian villas when Surbiton was in its heyday and find out  all about the Coronation clock. Booking essential.

Book your place at www.kingstontourguides.org.uk

Old Malden Heritage Walk

St John the Baptist Church, Church Road, KT4 7RY

Sun 15 Sep | 2pm

1.5km exploration of the domesday village of Malden and its ancient meadows (rough walking) putting it into historical context. Hear about its connection with the founding of Merton College Oxford and see where artist Sir John Millais painted the background to his picture of Ophelia.

All Saints Church

Market Place, KT1 1JP   

Open daily 10am-4pm
Sat 21 Sep | 11am - Special talk on the history of the church

Discover the history of Kingston town centre’s church that dates back over 1000 years and was the coronation site of the first Kings of England. The church is open daily to explore, or join them on 21 September for a special historical talk.

For queries, email heritage@allsaintskingston.co.uk

Cleave’s Almshouses 

49-71 Old London Road, KT2 6ND

14-15 Sep | 11am - 3pm

In 1669, William Cleave founded Almshouses for older, poor people of Kingston. Today, that legacy lives on with The Trust housing residents who are aged at least 60, of limited means, have some connection with the area and can live independently.

This year, the Beneficiaries and Trustees are proud to be celebrating the 350th anniversary of Cleave’s Almshouses. The houses on Old London Road conceal a magnificent garden and further homes with 25 units in all, many with individual gardens. There is also a guest flat for friends and relatives who need accommodation when visiting. 

For queries, email manager@cleavesalmshouses.co.uk

Clover House         

Kingston Hill, KT2 7JP

Sat 21 Sep | 10am-5pm

This house designed by Ronert Stille and built in 1964 has had internal rearrangement and refurbishment to create a warm and light-filled five bedroom home. There is a new two-storey wing containing a kitchen and master bedroom with another added bedroom over the living room. Tours every half hour.

Coombe Conduit  

Lord Chancellor Walk, Coombe Lane West, KT2 7HE        

Sun 22 Sep | 12pm - 4pm

A rare opportunity to see the water supply system for Hampton Court Palace built in the 16th Century. This is the most accessible and complete of the conduit houses remaining today.

Coombe Conduit is one of Kingston’s most important ancient monuments. It was built around 1540 as part of a system to collect fresh water from springs on Kingston Hill and channel it to the palace of Hampton Court. In its atmospheric interior, visitors can see crystal-clear water still flowing into lead-lined cisterns in two brick-walled chambers which are connected by an 80ft underground passage. The imposing entry to the Conduit is a chapel-like building in stone and brick, topped with crow-stepped gables.

The entrance is situated close to the corner of Lord Chancellor Walk and Coombe Lane West. 


 

Dorich House Museum  

67 Kingston Vale, SW15 3RN       

Open Thu-Sat | 11am - 5pm (last entry 4.30pm)
Fri 13, Sat 14 & Sat 20 Sep | 11am - Guided tours, booking required.

Dorich House is the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Hon. Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. 

Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936, to Gordine’s design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a female artist. Following Gordine’s death in 1991 the house was acquired and renovated by Kingston University and is now open to the public as a fully accredited museum. The Museum holds the world’s largest collection of Gordine’s work, and an important collection of Russian art and artefacts, acquired by Gordine and Hare during their marriage

To book a tour, call 020 8417 5515 or email dorichhousemuseum@kingston.ac.uk

Frederick W Paine

24 Old London Rd, KT2 6QG

Sat 21 Sep | 10am - 4pm
Sun 22 Sep | 1pm - 4pm

Kingston's oldest firm of funeral directors has conducted funerals from the premises since 1908. Its stunning wood-panelled original interior is Grade II listed and the building is also home to the Frederick W Paine Museum containing the firm's archive, photographs and artefacts from throughout their history.

Hillcroft College   

12 South Bank, KT6 6DF

Sun 22 Sep | 10am-1pm

A Victorian mansion house built in the 1860s for Frederick Bryant of Bryant and May Matches. The building is very typical of its time and retains many of its original features. Architect Rowland Plumbe, 1877.

John Lewis

Wood Street, KT1 1TE

21-22 Sep | 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm - Guided tour

John Lewis are offering the chance to glimpse a behind-the-scenes view of the architecturally-impressive store which opened in 1990, including visits to their hidden roof terrace, Lucienne Day tapestry and riverside ruins that were unearthed when the store was built. 

Tours will operate on the hour, 11am-3pm on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September. Meet the tour guides on the ground floor by the main entrance doors. No booking required.

Kingston Guildhall           

High Street, KT1 1EU

Sat 14 Sep | 1pm - 2.30pm
Sat 21 Sep | 1pm - 2.30pm

Step behind-the-scenes of the town’s stunning Guildhall, visit the Mayor's Parlour to meet the Mayor or Deputy Mayor and see the historical items on display, including the 402 year old Great Mace. Guided tours will operate through the time, subject to availability.

For queries, email local.history@kingston.gov.uk or call 020 8547 6738    

Kingston History Centre

Guildhall, High Street,KT1 1EU   

Fri 13 Sep | 10am - 5pm
Sat 14 Sep | 10am - 5pm
Wed 18 Sep | 10am - 5pm
Thu 19 Sep | 10am - 7pm
Fri 20 Sep | 10am - 5pm
Sat 21 Sep | 10am - 5pm

Sat 14 & Sat 21 Sep | 12pm - Guided tour of the building

Step back in time to the Kingston History Centre where you’ll find Kingston's archives and local history service housed in the former magistrates courts of the Grade II listed Guildhall, built in 1935. The History Centre is open as above to explore along with an exhibition display detailing the history of the building. To learn more, join one of the guided tours on Saturday 14 or 21 September at 12pm.

For queries, email local.history@kingston.gov.uk or call 020 8547 6738 

Kingston’s Medieval Bridge and Undercroft

Riverside, by John Lewis

14-15 Sep | 10am - 3pm

Down by the Thames, on the north side of the bridge, the early 12th century bridge and a 14th century cellar or undercroft were discovered when the John Lewis store was built. 

Both are now preserved under the store and will be open on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September. 

Kingston Museum, Art Gallery and Library

Wheatfield Way, KT1 2PS

Fri 13 Sep | 10am - 5pm
Sat 14 Sep | 10am - 5pm
Tue 17 Sep | 10am - 5pm
Thu 19 Sep | 10am - 7pm
Fri 20 Sep | 10am - 5pm
Sat 21 Sep | 10am - 5pm

Sat 14 & Sat 21 Sep | 3pm - Guided tour of the Museum and Library          

Kingston Museum tells the story of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon thames from the earliest times to the present day. Both the Library, built 1903, and Museum, built 1904, were designed by Alfred Cox with money given by Andrew Carnegie, and are Grade II listed.

Kingston Quaker Centre 

Fairfield East, KT1 2PT

Sat 14 Sep | 10am - 4pm
Sun 15 Sep | 1.30pm - 4pm
Mon 16 Sep | 1.30pm - 4pm

Visit an award-winning building opened in 2014. View an exhibition of "People Power" demonstrating how Quakers, ordinary people, contributed to the social, scientific and economic history of Britain.

Lovekyn Chapel    

4 London Road, KT2 6SN              

Sun 22 Sep | 10am - 2pm

Lovekyn Chapel is a Grade II* listed medieval chantry chapel and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Built in 1309, it is the oldest complete building in Kingston upon Thames and the only remaining free-standing chantry chapel in England.              

St. John the Baptist Parish Church, Old Malden

Church Road, KT4 7RY   

Fri 13 Sep | 11am - 4pm
Sat 14 Sep | 10am - 5pm
Mon 15 Sep | 2pm - 5pm

This ancient church is a hidden gem in suburbia with history from Early Iron Age shown through a timeline of history boards.

St. Matthew's Church, Surbiton

St Matthew's Avenue, KT6 6JQ

14 & 21 Sep | 10am - 4pm
15 & 22 Sep | 2pm - 5pm
21-22 Sep | 4pm - Informal concerts

Built in 1875 in a hay meadow and paid for by a single benefactor, St Matthew’s architecture was designed by CL Luck and features an impressive nave and soaring spire which is currently under restoration. The stunning church also features original Victorian stained glass, an organ built by the renowned JJ Binns and an unusual WWI memorial with research display. Guide leaflets and information sheets are available, or free tours are available on request. Sunday services take place at 9.15am and 11am.

For queries, visit www.tolworthtm.org

St. Raphael's Church, Surbiton

Portsmouth Rd, KT1 2NA

Sat 21 Sep | 12pm - 4pm              

The Grade II listed St Raphael’s is one of the finest examples of Victorian Italianate architecture, built in Bath stone and standing prominently overlooking the Thames. The interior is built in the Renaissance style and the whole of the sanctuary, High Altar, pulpit and font are made of white Sicilian marble.

Surrey County Council County Hall    

Penrhyn Road, KT1 2DN

Sun 15 Sep | 10am - 4pm (last tour 3.30pm)        

A rare opportunity to see behind-the-scenes at the Grade II listed County Hall, with tours taking place throughout the day showing the key features of this historic building including the Court Room, Grand Hall and Council Chamber. Guided tours operate every half hour.

Tiffin School Guided Tour          

Queen Elizabeth Road, KT2 6RL

Fri 20 Sep | 11am and 2.15pm    

Step inside the famous Grammar School, visit Elmfield, a Georgian Town house on the site, see a listed Tudor wall, enter the school hall with war memorials and walk through the 2018 new building on London Road.

Home » Heritage Festival