Some good news finally – the National Trust and RHS are set to begin a phased reopening of some of their locations beginning as early as this week.
While the National Trust attempted to stay open for as long as possible at the beginning of the pandemic, they were sadly forced to close all their locations when the UK went into full lockdown on 23 March. But now, as lockdown begins to ease across the country, we can rejoice at the thought of enjoying a leisurely Sunday afternoon strolling around the grounds of some of our favourite gardens once more.
Naturally, your visit will look a little different to before, as both the National Trust and Royal Horticultural Society have set up pre-booking systems, and only ticket holders who have purchased their entry in advance will be granted access. Even members will need to book in advance, although they won’t have to pay; non-members will pay an entry fee. Houses and gift shops sadly won’t be open, but the beautiful gardens and outdoor spaces will be.
All four RHS gardens (that includes Wisley in Surrey, Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire, Rosemoor in North Devon and Hyde Hall in Essex) are reopening as of today, and the National Trust is initially reopening 37 of its 500+ heritage sites across England and Northern Ireland as of 3 June, including Cliveden in Berkshire (where Meghan Markle spent her last night before her wedding to Prince Harry), Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Kew Gardens in London and Corfe Caste in Dorset (see the full list here). Some 200 car parks have also been reopened to allow for coastal and countryside rambling.
National Trust Director General, Hilary McGrady, said: ‘The fresh air, bird song, big skies and open spaces people have missed will be there, but things will be very different.’
If you want to be one of the lucky few to visit a National Trust location, you’ll want to move fast – nearly all locations are already completely sold out for this week. Hop online first thing on Fridays when tickets will be released for the following week with specific arrival time slots. Happy rambling!