The National Trust is opening its gardens and parks for free

We’re all spending an increasing amount of time indoors these days, but if you are able to venture out and about, you can now get your dose of fresh air in some of Britain’s most beautiful gardens and parks – all without paying a penny to enter them.

The estate at Scotney Castle in Kent
The estate at Scotney Castle in Kent. Image: Getty Images

On Tuesday 17 March, following the Prime Minister’s daily news briefing, The National Trust confirmed that in light of the coronavirus outbreak, it would open as many of its grounds as possible for free, although houses, cafes and shops will close to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The National Trust’s Director General Hilary McGrady said that the measure is designed ‘ to encourage the nation to enjoy open space, if appropriate, during the pandemic, while adhering to the government’s social distancing guidance.’

Kew Gardens
Blossom at London’s Kew Gardens. Image: Getty Images

‘The National Trust was founded 125 years ago for the benefit of the entire nation. We want to honour our mission – to enable people and nature to thrive,’ McGrady explained. ‘Over the coming weeks we will do all that we can to keep on providing public benefit through caring for places and giving people access wherever possible.’

‘While we will close our indoor areas to help fight the spread of coronavirus, we recognise that people are likely to need access to open space and to nature, beauty and history.’

Cliveden House
The gardens at Cliveden House in Berkshire. Image: Getty Images

Of course, the coronavirus situation is ever-changing, and The National Trust has noted that there are many factors to consider in keeping this arrangement going. ‘We are strictly following Government advice so please keep checking our website for updated information and always check the site before you visit any of our places,’ it says in its latest statement.

It’s hoped that by Friday 20 March all properties will have a plan in place as to what will be available to the public. So if you live near a National Trust property, keep checking its official website, and if you can, take advantage of the opportunity to stretch your legs and go for a stroll.