Supporting our visitors
Are you a people person with a passion for history and a flair for storytelling?
We need volunteers like you to welcome our visitors and bring our heritage sites to life.
Visitor support volunteers are the friendly face of English Heritage. They are some of the first people that visitors meet, and provide a warm welcome, interesting and essential information, and security assistance.
You’ll have a chance to learn all about our amazing heritage sites, get an inside look at how we care for historic places, and meet a wonderful array of people. No day is the same!
What would you be doing?
Every volunteering opportunity is different, but most will include some of these tasks:
- Meet and greet everyone who visits, so that people feel welcome and ready to explore
- Inform visitors of essential information and help them to find their way around
- Explain the history of the site, pointing out fascinating facts and fun, unexpected details
- Lead workshops, talks and tours, so that visitors can get up close to sites and exhibits
- Supervise our properties to make sure everyone is safe and the site secure.
You could even find a costumed role bringing history to life, or care for our donkeys at Carisbrooke Castle.
You could be stationed in a gallery or out in the open at one of our extraordinary archaeological sites, like Stonehenge or Hadrian’s Wall.
Supporting our visitors during the Coronavirus pandemic
Hear how the team at North Leigh Roman Villa have been able to welcome visitors this summer.
North Leigh Roman Villa is in West Oxfordshire and has a free English Heritage site for about 30 years. Before that, when the site was staffed, there was someone to unlock the building which preserves its stunning 4th century AD mosaic – the jewel in the site's crown.
We are a new group of volunteers, only beginning last summer, so it has been quite a first year to get going in. Our aim is a simple one: to help as many people as possible safely to enjoy North Leigh's mosaic again.
Once restrictions started to ease in July, English Heritage adapted their risk assessment for Covid safety, turning our site into a “Covid secure venue” - we still called it “the villa”. We quickly agreed a simple system for access to the mosaics: timed slots, family groups, and numbered raffle tickets to monitor admissions! A rehearsal on site gave people confidence it could all work. Even when face masks were required to go inside, with barely a week's notice before our first opening. We spread the word on social media and, with English Heritage's help, via the website and posters on site.
We got very fortunate with the weather: every one of our 3 Open Weekends, and handful of Special Openings for local Primary Schools and clubs and societies, have been sunny and dry. So at least the libations to the weather gods worked. We were pleased to get this endorsement from a visitor who joined the EH-run mosaic cleaning efforts on the final weekend:
“This is one of the most safe and well thought out set of procedures I have met since this virus situation began so have every confidence all will go well. Thank you for your hard work on this.”
The results speak for themselves: over 1,250 people have seen the mosaics this year (nearly double what we managed last year); donations up six-fold on 2019 to nearly £950; and our “Friends of the Villa” are up 50% too.
Happiness was in short supply this year and we helped provide some and reaped a little ourselves.