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The National Trust will reopen gardens and sites from next week onwards
Posted on 30/05/2020

CultureUnited Kingdom

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The National Trust, the biggest conservation charity in Europe, will start to reopen some of its gardens and sites from 3 June, with advance tickets and a reduced capacity in order to respect the new social distancing rules.

A new system

A new system
© Callum Redgrave-Close / 123RF

There will be 29 sites reopening after the 10 week lockdown, including Ickworth House in Suffolk, Wallington Hall in Northumberland and Castle Ward in County Down. Another eight sites are opening without advance booking, but they will all be down to only 30% of their usual visitor numbers.

That will only be the case in England and Northern Ireland however, since the lockdown hasn't been eased to the same level in Wales and Scotland. The new booking system for these venues will be put in place on the 29 May to help people organise their visits.

"From tomorrow you'll be able to find out what's opening near you and book a visit. Your visit to us may be different from usual, because there are a few things we need everyone to do to help us keep places open safely," wrote membership director Tom North.

"To open these gardens and parklands safely, we've had to reduce the number of people we can welcome at one time, so you'll need to book in advance. New booking time slots will become available on Fridays for visits the following week."

The National Trust owns 500 heritage properties around the UK and has started to reopen 200 coast and countryside car parks in England on 13 May. Both members and non-members can book tickets, but visitors have been asked to book only one slot a week.

200 of the English Heritage free sites are already open, such as Hadrian's Wall, the Westbury White Horse in Wiltshire, Bayard's Cove Fort in Devon, the Iron Bridge in Shropshire and the ruins of Bowes Castle in County Durham.

The Woodland Trust, however, is still keeping access under review.

The National Trust manages over 1,000 sites and because the biggest sites attract a lot of visitors, it is urging people to be careful and to maintain social distancing.