This weekend is a chance to explore Huddersfield’s past with 30 places open as part of the annual Heritage Open Days.

But there is something different this year – a hunt for the lions in Huddersfield town centre and you would never have guessed there are more than 130.

They are all sculpted in stone, metal, wood or fibreglass and are on the town’s buildings.

The hunt sets off at 2.30pm on Sunday from the Harold Wilson statue.

Heritage Open Days 2016
View fullscreen

All can be seen from the street and although one or two of them are well known others will be passed by people every day unseen.

The town’s architecture also features winged lions, unicorns, gryphons, dragons, eagles, an owl with a mouse, lots of sheep, various song birds, an elephant, a squirrel and a rat.

Huddersfield town centre lions can be found on Lion Chambers, Britannia Buildings, Northumberland Street Post Office, the former St Mark’s on Old Leeds Road, Somerset Buildings, Kirkgate Buildings, Dixy Chicken on Cross Church Street, Tokyo’s on Queen Street, the Ramsden Building on Queensgate, the Drill Hall on St Paul’s Street, the Grand Picture Theatre on Manchester Road, the Co-op extension on New Street, Huddersfield Town Hall steps, 4–6 High Street that were salerooms for the auctioneers Eddison & Taylor, the Pound Bakery at 60 New Street, Café Nero at 1-3 New Street, Market Cross, Waverley Chambers, Estate Buildings and the Head of Steam pub.

This year’s Huddersfield Heritage Open Days features the biggest ever programme of events and visits with 30 places – 17 of them included for the first time.

Huddersfield Civic Society chairman Chris Marsden with one of the many lions in Huddersfield town centre

The open days, which run from Friday and over the weekend, are being co-ordinated by community-led partnership Discover Huddersfield and will involve guided walks and visits to places of interest right across the town.

Nationally, Heritage Open Days will involve 40,000 volunteers guiding visitors around thousands of sites to explore local treasures, discover hidden places and try out new experiences – and all for free.

Huddersfield Heritage Open Days: Six sites you MUST explore

New venues for 2016 in the Huddersfield area are: Beaumont Park, Bullecourt Museum at Milnsbridge, Colne Valley Museum at Golcar, Guru Nanak Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) at Prospect Street, Holy Trinity Church crypt, the John Smith’s Stadium, Royds Hall Community School at Paddock, St Stephen’s Church at Lindley, Lindley Churchyard tours, St Thomas’s Church, Lockwood Baptist Church and University of Huddersfield campus trail.

Bullecourt Museum, Old Drill Hall, Scar Lane, Milnsbridge.

Other events include Ghost Trails of Diaspora, a lecture on migrant groups on Huddersfield; Scavenger’s Hunt following a trail around the university campus and Walking Over Mines, which explores the coal mines below Huddersfield town centre.

During this weekend people can also visit Red House, Oakwell Hall and Gomersal Moravian Church ... and a ride on a vintage bus run by Kelvyn Waites which will link all three venues this Sunday.

Hidden mine trails, an instant museum and playing the game of chance - discover Huddersfield's secrets at this unusual event!

Red House and Oakwell will be open from 12noon to 5pm and the Moravian Church will be open from 1pm-4pm.

This could be one of the last chances to visit Red House and its award-winning gardens. Kirklees Council’s Cabinet meets on Tuesday, September 20 to discuss the proposed closure of Red House and Dewsbury Museum.

Red House Museum, Gomersal

Lockwood Baptist Church will be open for the first time on a Heritage Day and visitors can go between 11am and 3pm on Saturday with tours inside at 12noon and 2pm to tie in with its community fair. Highlights are its Roll of Honour and two hymn boards in memory of Private Brook who rose to be an officer and served in Gallipoli and on the Somme before joining the newly formed Royal Flying Corps. There is also a portrait of John Kirk, architect of the church and many other famous Huddersfield buildings. Photographs of old Lockwood will be on display and the chance for people to hunt for Pokemon in the church and its hidden garden.

Other highlights include the Bullecourt Museum on Scar lane, Milnsbridge, which features a wide range of historical military artefacts dating from Waterloo to the Falklands War. Built in 1908, it served as a drill hall and territorial army barracks until the 1960s and opened as a museum in 2002.

John Kirk by F A Phillips, 1876 photo © Christopher Marsden 2014 (2)

Royds Hall Community School began as a family home for Joseph Crosland. The original mansion was built in 1866 and sold to Huddersfield Corporation in 1904 nine years after Mr Crosland’s death. It served as a military hospital from 1915 to 1921 before Royds Hall Secondary School opened in September 1921. Famous scholars include Harold Wilson.

The Guru Nanak Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) in Huddersfield was built in 1973 to replace a previous Sikh temple at Highfields which the community had outgrown.

For those venturing further afield Coley Church, built in 1816, off Coley Road on the hillside between Hipperholme, Shelf and Northowram, is isolated in the middle of fields but will be open Friday to Sunday 1pm-4pm.

Lockwood Baptist Church

The full Huddersfield programme is available to download at www.discoverhuddersfield.com

Local updates will be available through facebook DiscoverHuddersfield and twitter @discover_hudds.

Discover Huddersfield is a community-led partnership providing printed town trails and a programme of guided walks.

The Heritage Open Days programme has been developed for Discover Huddersfield by Huddersfield Civic Society, Huddersfield Local History Society, Kirklees Libraries and Museums, Huddersfield University’s Heritage Quay archive centre and the Huddersfield Society of Architects.