With so many Durham Heritage Open Days 2019 highlights, it's difficult to pick just 10, but here's a list of the events that caught our eye.

The ever popular festival returns with a 10 day event rather than just the usual weekend, so there are even more Durham Heritage Open Days 2019 highlights from which to choose.

From rarely open venues to special events, there are plenty of activities to get behind the scenes of County Durham's heritage. You can read about the dates, booking and venues in our Heritage Open Days Durham roundup.

Take a look below and see if the Durham Heritage Open Days 2019 highlights that got our attention are the ones you want to go to during the festival as well.

Durham Heritage Open Days highlights #1: Allensford Blast Furnace, Consett

Nestled in the woods, the Allensford Blast Furnace is the earliest surviving ore-roasting kiln in Britain. Three hundred years ago, hollow blade swords were made at Shotley Bridge with steel forged from iron produced at Allensford.

Join archaeologists Tony Liddell and Alan Williams to find out about the history of the site, its purpose and what remains can still be seen.

Wear sturdy footwear, as there is woodland walking with some steep slopes. Cafe (and customer toilets) are nearby at Allensford Caravan Park and Derwent Manor Hotel.

The site is free to explore but the guided walk must be booked. It takes place on Saturday September 14 at 10.30am to 12pm. Call 01207 524883 or email landofoakandiron@groundwork.org.uk

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Durham Heritage Open Days highlights #2: Teesdale Cheesemakers, Butterknowle, Bishop Auckland

Watch the process of cheese making and get an overview of the dairy from the from the viewing platform. There are also rare breed pigs fed on whey.

Access is through prebooking only, and the event is on Monday and Tuesday September 16-17, 10am to 4pm. Contact Allison or Jonathan Raper on 01388718984 or allison@teesdalecheesemakers.co.uk

Durham Heritage Open Days highlights #3: Inflatables at the Apollo Pavilion, Peterlee

Built in 1969, one of Britain's most iconic examples of public art is celebrating its 50th birthday with a temporary transformation by artist Steve Messam, which involves wrapping the structure in four giant lit inflatables. You can read about in our Apollo Pavilion art installation story.

Durham Heritage Open Days highlights #4: A Day at Wembley with Durham Amateur Football Trust, Bishop Auckland College

Join the Amateur Football Trust to relive the time when Bishop Auckland went to Wembley in 1957 for the final of the Football Association Amateur Cup. The Durham Amateur Football Trust will have a display of memorabilia about the FA Amateur Cup.

Make rosettes, have your photo taken in a replica strip and watch old Pathe film footage from the matches. Join in the football singalong at 11am and 2pm.

A Day at Wembley is on Saturday September 14 from 10am to 3pm at Bishop Auckland College, Woodhouse Lane DL14 6JZ, and no booking is required.

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Durham Heritage Open Days highlights #5: Durham Wildlife Trust Bat Walk, Witton Le Wear

Head to Low Barns Nature Reserve to hear about the history of Low Barns and take part in a bat walk.

The walk will begin with a brief discussion on bats and the local species, and then a history of the site. Take a torch and sturdy footwear. Children welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

The Durham Wildlife Trust Bat Walk is on Friday, Sunday and Thursday September 13, 15 and 19, from 7-9pm. The free walk is limited to 25 people per session, so booking is preferred, at durhamwt.com/events

Durham Heritage Open Days highlights #6: The Anker's House Museum, Chester le Street

Access to the oratory of a medieval anchorite (a religious recluse) plus a view of artefacts from Chester le Street's Roman, Anglo-Saxon and medieval past as well as an opportunity to look at a facsimile of the Lindisfarne Gospels (the home of the original gospels during the 10th Century was in Chester le Street).

The Anker's House Museum is open on Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday September 13-14 and 16-18, from 10am to 3.30pm.

There is also a special event called Solitude, which is an audio play by Gabrielle Heller inspired by the history of medieval anchorites. The 39 minute audio play is available to listen to on headphones on Saturday September 14 from 10am to 3pm.

The event is free, but booking is preferred for the special event on 01913893597 or reneeherbison@hotmail.co.uk

Durham Heritage Open Days highlights #7: Brancepeth Castle tours

Have a tour of Brancepeth Castle, the Grade I medieval castle, home of the Nevilles, Earls of Westmorland. There are substantial medieval parts supplemented by major new building designed by John Paterson (begun 1818) and Anthony Salvin (1860).

The Brancepeth Castle tours are on Thursday, Friday and Sunday 19, 20 and 22, with tours at 6.30pm (Thursday and Friday), and 2.30pm and 4.30pm on Sunday. Booking is required on 03000 262626.

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Durham Heritage Open Days highlights #8: Durham Castle tours

There are self-guided Durham Castle tours on Sunday September 15 anytime between 12.15 and 3.15pm. You can stroll around at your own pace, and there will be guides on hand. There are also guided tours on Thursday September 19, with tours at quarter past the hour every hour from 10.15am to 4.15pm.

The guided walks on Thursday need to be prebooked on 0191 334 2932 or castle.tours@durham.ac.uk

Durham Heritage Open Days highlights #9: The Tithe Barn, Durham

The Tithe Barn on Hallgarth Street, Durham is a rare group of medieval farm buildings, Grade II* and II, dating from 14th and 15th Centuries. The interior of the earlier barn reveals an impressive roof structure and there is now a small collection of memorabilia to view.

The Tithe Barn open day is on Friday September 20 from 10am to 2pm, and no booking is required.

Durham Heritage Open Days highlights #10: Durham City Crime and Punishment Guided Walk

Explore the darker side of Durham's history, looking at locations in Durham City associated with crimes and their punishment, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and take in places of execution and imprisonment.

This one and a half to two hour guided walk will take place at 1pm on Tuesday September 17, leaving from Durham Town Hall. Booking is essential on 03000 262626.

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