The National Trust has announced that from June 3 it will begin a phased reopening of some of its gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland with advance bookings needed to limit visitor numbers and maintain public safety.
The announcement comes after the UK government updated its advice on ticketed garden venues on May 23, confirming that people in England can now visit gardens and land maintained for public use. And in Northern Ireland, the Executive permitted the reopening of outdoor spaces as part of step one in its Pathway to Recovery Plan.
In this initial phase of gardens and parklands reopening, the Trust expects about 29 properties to open their gates, with more reopening in the coming weeks. However, this initial 29 may need to be reduced if local managers believe social distancing is not being followed.
From Wednesday, June 3, the Trust will begin a phased and gradual reopening of a small number of its gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland. Over the coming weeks more places will begin reopening. People will be able to book their tickets in advance on property web pages from today (May 29). They will be free for Trust members, and other visitors will pay an admission fee.
All the Trust’s houses, shops, holiday cottages and campsites remain closed in line with government guidelines.
All car parks and properties in Wales remain closed in line with Welsh Government guidance.
The properties reopening are
London and the South East
- Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
- Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
- Mottisfont, Hampshire
- Polesden Lacey, Surrey
- Stowe, Buckinghamshire
- Scotney Castle, Kent
- Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent
- Standen House and Garden, West Sussex
- Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
- The Vyne, Hampshire
East of England
You’ll also need to book the following car parks (booking open now):
- Aira Force and Ullswater, Cumbria
- Blickling Estate, Norfolk (Sold out)
- Dunwich Heath and Beach, Suffolk
- Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate, Norfolk (Sold out)
- Houghton Mill and Waterclose Meadows, Cambridgeshire (Sold out)
- Lanhydrock, Cornwall
- Nostell, West Yorkshire (Sold out)
- Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry
- Trelissick, Cornwall
- Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire (Sold out)
The charity will begin to reopen gardens and open spaces in England and Northern Ireland where social distancing can be observed, and will open to around a third of their normal capacity at any one time. Visitors arriving at reopening properties by car will be asked to show pre-booked tickets through their vehicle window before parking. Those arriving on foot will have bookings checked by a small team of staff who will adhere to social distancing.
Most of the Trust’s countryside and coastal car parks are now open, but car parks with a risk of high demand may need to be closed, and some may need to be booked in advance. Visitors are asked to check property web pages before travelling to see what is open and what needs to be booked. All admission to gardens and parklands will be by pre-booked ticket only.
Director General Hilary McGrady said: “We want to provide safe, local, welcoming spaces for people, and wherever possible we will open our gardens and parks, and coast and countryside car parks.
“The fresh air, bird song, big skies and open spaces people have missed will be there, but things will be very different, particularly at first. We want to thank people for their patience and support while we gradually begin reopening and welcoming our visitors.”
The booking system will be available on individual property web pages via www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
The charity is also urging visitors to limit how many visits they book, to stay local if they can and to avoid busy hot-spots.
Signs at properties and information ahead of visits will advise visitors how to stay safe during their visit and routes will be marked out.
Hilary McGrady said: “I am so thankful that our members and supporters have stood by us as we work through these unprecedented times. We know they desperately want to return to our places, and we need their support to do our vital conservation work to look after the coastline, countryside, rivers and properties in our care.
“Like so many other organisations, the Trust has been badly affected by the coronavirus lockdown, not least our vital conservation work and our finances. Reopening is the first phase of our recovery, and we need our members and supporters to help us make this gradual transition a success so we can get back to offering nature, beauty and history for everyone.”
The latest information and updates on which places and facilities are opened can be found on individual property web pages, and all visitors are urged to check online before planning a visit. The ticket booking system is also available at www.nationaltrust.org.uk from today (May 29)