HERITAGE Open Days - the country’s largest festival of history and culture - made a triumphant return last weekend, with many of the area’s most historic buildings and open spaces welcoming visitors for free.

Farnham Castle, the Rural Life Centre in Tilford, Haslemere Museum, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home Undershaw in Hindhead, Alton’s Quaker Meeting House and Longmoor ranges in Bordon are just a few properties to have already held events to mark this year’s Heritage Open Days (HODs).

And with HODs set to extend into a second weekend for the first time, there are still plenty of opportunities to explore the area’s heritage assets.

In Farnham, these include guided walks and tours of Farnham Park, Bishops Meadow, Waverley Abbey and more, while dozens of varied properties across the area will also open their doors during the second HODs period.

Morris dancers will make a welcome return in the town centre and special events include a talk in the historic council chamber by town crier Jonathan Jones, two green-themed performances by Farnham Rep and a talk by Dr Chris Wiley on suffragette and Dame Ethel Smyth.

Outside of Farnham, tours of Undershaw will be repeated on Sunday, September 16, while the Gilbert White and The Oates Collections in Selborne will welcome visitors for free on Thursday, September 13.

Fans of Jane Austen have two events to choose from in Chawton village, near Alton, on September 13; ‘A Walk in Jane’s footsteps’ at Chawton House Library and a ‘Jane Austen’s Treasures’ talk at nearby Jane Austen’s House Museum.

And the Mid Hants Railway will get in on the act this Saturday and Sunday (September 15 and 16) with a ‘Women on the Railways’ exhibition and tours of its engineering hub in Ropley.

Brochures containing details of the Farnham events can be found across the town. For more information about events taking place in Alton, Haslemere, Bordon and elsewhere, visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk .