Visitor FAQs

Visitor talking photographs on a visit © National Trust

Visitor talking photographs on a visit

Q. Where can I take photographs?

A. Outdoors: all visitors to National Trust properties are allowed to take photographs out of doors for their own private use. Any individuals wishing to sell or publish photographs should contact photo.library@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Indoors: amateur photography (including filming) without flash is now permitted in historic interiors at the Property Manager’s discretion. As with outdoor photography, any photographs taken are strictly for private use, and enquiries about selling or publishing photographs should be directed to photo.library@nationaltrust.org.uk. However, visitors must be aware that at some places, there may be copyright issues, and further permissions may be required in respect of collections not owned by us. In these situations the Property Manager's decision as to whether photography is allowed is final.

Q. Why is it dark inside some houses?

A. To prevent deterioration of light-sensitive contents, especially textiles and watercolours. Light levels are regularly monitored and carefully controlled using blinds and sun-curtains. We recommend that visitors allow time for their eyes to adapt to darker conditions in rooms where light levels are reduced to preserve vulnerable material.

Some historic houses offer special tours during the winter months, when house staff demonstrate traditional housekeeping practices. They explain why National Trust conservation policies require low light levels during the winter. These 'putting the house to bed' events are advertised in the local press, regional newsletters, or details can be found in our events section.

Q. Where can I picnic?

A. Many properties welcome picnics - some have a designated picnic area, a few cannot accomodate them. Look out for the 'suitable for picnics' icon on the individual property pages. Use our property search to find a place to visit.

Fires and barbecues are generally not allowed. If you are planning a picnic at a National Trust property for the first time, please telephone the property in advance to check.

Q. Where can I sit down?

A. Seats for visitors' use are provided at various points in all the Trust's historic houses and gardens. Visitors who wish to sit down should feel free to use the seats available, or ask a room steward or member of staff if seating is not immediately obvious.

Q. Is there somewhere to leave large or bulky bags?

A. At some properties visitors will be asked to leave behind large items of hand luggage while they make their visit. This is to avoid accidental damage and to improve security. This restriction includes rucksacks, large handbags, carrier bags, bulky shoulder bags and camera/camcorder bags. These can be left safely at the entrance to any house where the restriction applies (principally historic houses with vulnerable contents, fragile decorative surfaces or narrow visitor routes).

Q. What types of footwear are restricted?

A. Any heel which covers an area smaller than a postage stamp can cause irreparable damage to floors, carpets and rush matting. We regret, therefore, that sharp-heeled shoes are not permitted. Plastic slippers are provided for visitors with unsuitable or muddy footwear, or alternative footwear is available to purchase.

Please remeber that ridged soles trap grit and gravel, which scratch fine floors. Boot-scrapers and brushes are readily available. Overshoes may be provided at properties with vulnerable floors.

Q. May I use my mobile telephone?

A. The use of mobile telephones can interfere with the correct operation of sensitive electronic environmental monitoring equipment, and so visitors are asked to switch them off when entering houses and other buildings where such equipment is likely to be fitted. Please also show consideration when using mobile phones in gardens and other enclosed open spaces where ringing or loud phone conversations may cause disturbance to the quiet enjoyment of others.

Q. What about smoking?

A. Smoking is not permitted inside Trust houses, restaurants or shops. Smokers are also asked to exercise restraint in gardens, since the scent of flowers is such an important part of visitors' enjoyment.

Q. When are my local properties open for visiting?

A. All the opening details for properties can be found in the visit section.

Q. Where can I go for a walk?

A. We welcome walkers to the thousands of acres of countryside and coastline in our care. To learn more, please visit our walking pages.