Plans unveiled for Discovery Days festival

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From open houses to dancing demonstrations, and research taster sessions to Zombie Shakespeare,there’s a whole range of activities happening in Belper and along the Derwent Valley during the nine-day World Heritage Site Discovery Days Festival this autumn.

The packed programme of more than 170 events will ensure the valley is buzzing with heritage-related activities from Saturday, October 26 to Sunday, November 3.

Discovery Days began as a single day of activities to celebrate the diversity and importance of the Derwent Valley Mills – the only World Heritage Site in the East Midlands, where the factory system was born. The festival’s popularity, and the enthusiasm of the World Heritage Site volunteers who deliver activities, have grown and grown. More than 15,000 people turned out for events last year, coming from all over the UK.

Now the 2013 programme has been unveiled and it fills a 52-page events booklet, with a host of new events and old favourites planned for the county’s biggest heritage festival.

“This is the ninth year of Discovery Days, the mix of activities stays as fresh as ever,” said World Heritage Site Director Mark Suggitt. “As well as the annual favourites there are plenty of new experiences to enjoy, many of them free-of-charge. The festival just goes from strength to strength.”

Events kick off on the weekend of 26 and 27 October with activities from art exhibitions to theatre performances and dance demonstrations. The Sunday focuses on Belper with a showcase of activities at the Strutt’s Centre on Derby Road, fun things to try for families at Strutt’s North Mill and historic properties opening so people can explore the town like never before.

There are walks every day and activities at libraries across the World Heritage Site with free sessions on researching house histories, trace your ancestors or preserving precious documents.

To see what’s on visit www.derwentvalleymills.org/discovery-days.