The National Trust has announced that from 3rd June, it will begin a phased reopening of its parks and gardens across England and Northern Ireland following recent updates from the government. The reopening will be done using an advanced booking system to limit visitor numbers and maintain public safety.
This announcement comes after the UK government updated its advice on ticketed garden venues on 23rd May, confirming that people in England can visit gardens and land maintained for public use. Northern Ireland’s executive has also permitted this, however spaces in Wales and Scotland remain closed for the time being.
Visitors will be able to book tickets from the individual garden and property websites from 29th May with gardens and parks gradually opening from 3rd June. Visits will be free for National Trust members and non members will pay an admission fee as usual. All the houses, shops, campsites and holiday homes will remain closed until further notice.
Gardens and open spaces where social distancing can be observed will be the first to reopen with only a third of their usual capacity being admitted at any one time. Visitors arriving by car will be asked to show pre-booked tickets through car windows before entry, while those coming on foot will be checked by a small team of staff, adhering to social distancing measures.
Most of the countryside and coastal carparks operated by the trust are now open, but those that have a risk of high demand may need to be closed and others may need to be booked in advance. Please check the website for the property/area you would like to visit before travelling to see what restrictions are in place. All admissions will be by pre-booked tickets only.
Booking is available via individual property websites which can be accessed through www.nationaltrust.org.uk While visitors are encouraged to pre-book, it is essential that they limit how many places they book and that they stay local and avoid busy hot-spots.
Hilary McGrady, Director General of the National Trust, 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 that people have missed will be there, but things will be very different at first. We want to thank people for their patience and support while we gradually begin reopening and welcoming our visitors.”
There will be signs at properties and information available ahead of visits to advise people how to stay safe during their time at National Trust spaces. All routes will be marked out to ensure their safety.
Hilary McGrady continued: “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 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.”
Please check before you travel and to see which places and facilities are open, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk for more details.
Image: Steve Sayer, c/o National Trust