Owing to the inevitable loss in communication channels, the distance of entanglement distribution is limited to approximately 100 kilometres on the ground1. Quantum repeaters can circumvent this problem by using quantum memory and entanglement swapping2. As the elementary link of a quantum repeater, the heralded distribution of two-party entanglement between two remote nodes has only been realized with built-in-type quantum memories3-9. These schemes suffer from the trade-off between multiplexing capacity and deterministic properties and hence hinder the development of efficient quantum repeaters. Quantum repeaters based on absorptive quantum memories can overcome such limitations because they separate the quantum memories and the quantum light sources. Here we present an experimental demonstration of heralded entanglement between absorptive quantum memories. We build two nodes separated by 3.5 metres, each containing a polarization-entangled photon-pair source and a solid-state quantum memory with bandwidth up to 1 gigahertz. A joint Bell-state measurement in the middle station heralds the successful distribution of maximally entangled states between the two quantum memories with a fidelity of 80.4 ± 2.2 per cent (±1 standard deviation). The quantum nodes and channels demonstrated here can serve as an elementary link of a quantum repeater. Moreover, the wideband absorptive quantum memories used in the nodes are compatible with deterministic entanglement sources and can simultaneously support multiplexing, which paves the way for the construction of practical solid-state quantum repeaters and high-speed quantum networks.