Historic properties across England, from medieval cottages to Modernist homes, Georgian swimming pools to Art Deco cinemas, will be open to the public, free, during English Heritage’s (EH) Heritage Open Days on September 9-12.

Highlights include the Battle of Britain Command Centre at Bentley Priory, Stanmore; the Gothic Temple at Stowe; Elgar’s honeymoon destination on the Isle of Wight; the new Aardman Animations in Bristol, where the ‘Wallace and Gromit’ films were created; and North Lees Hall in the Peak District, said to be the inspiration for Mr Rochester’s home in Jane Eyre.

EH chairman Baroness Andrews says: ‘It’s a chance to explore those local landmarks that, however familiar, are normally closed and therefore are mysterious and alluring. Now, not only are the secrets and history laid bare, but you can meet the people who live or work there who are delighted to share their knowledge and enthusiasm.’ Visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk