National Trust to begin reopening gardens and parklands

The charity says 'a small number' of such locations will reopen from Wednesday, with more to follow over the coming weeks

Cliveden in Buckinghamshire, which will reopen its outside space (Photograph: Andrew Butler/National Trust)

The National Trust has announced plans to begin a phased reopening of some of its gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland from next week. 

In a statement, the charity said it expected to operate the open properties at one-third of their usual visitor capacity and all visitors would be required to book tickets in advance using an online booking system that opens today. 

Entry will be free for National Trust members, but non-members will pay a one-off fee. 

From Wednesday, the trust will begin a “phased and gradual reopening of a small number” of its gardens and parklands, and will open more over the coming weeks, it said in a statement.

The National Trust was forced to furlough 11,200 staff – about 80 per cent of its workforce – as a result of coronavirus restrictions and has said it expects to lose about £200m in income this year

It did not say how many staff members could be brought out of furlough as a result of today’s announcement.

All of the trust’s houses, shops, holiday cottages and campsites will remain closed, the statement said.

Its countryside and coastal car parks are now open, but car parks with a risk of high demand might need to be closed and some might need to be booked in advance, the charity said. 

The trust urged potential visitors to limit how many visits they booked, to stay local if they could, avoid busy hot-spots and to check online to see whether car parks also needed booking. 

Hilary McGrady, the charity’s director general, said the trust wanted to provide safe, local, welcoming spaces and would reopen “wherever possible”.

She said she was thankful that the charity’s members and supporters had stood by the charity during the crisis. 

“Like so many other organisations, the trust has been badly affected by the coronavirus lockdown, not least our vital conservation work and our finances,” she said.

“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.”

All car parks and properties in Wales remain closed in line with Welsh government guidance, the charity’s statement said.

A full list of the reopened locations can be found here

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