Reopening and coronavirus FAQs

View of a summer border at Kingston Lacy

We want to keep you updated about how we are responding to the coronavirus situation. Below are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions in the light of current guidance.

In these FAQs:

How do I get in touch if I have an urgent query?

Our Supporter Services call centre is available for urgent calls, with a reduced team, so please bear with us. We're working hard to keep our website up to date so please do use it to keep informed. If your query can't wait, please call us on 0344 800 1895 or email enquiries@nationaltrust.org.uk and we'll do our very best to help you.

What's open?

Which places are open?

England

Our gardens, parks, shops and outdoor spaces in England are open. In line with the further easing of restrictions, indoor and outdoor seating is now available at some of our cafés and food outlets.

We've also reopened many of our houses in England. Entry arrangements for houses will vary so please check property webpages before visiting.

Northern Ireland

Following the latest NI Executive guidance, our gardens, parks, shops and countryside locations are open. The Giant's Causeway Visitor Experience and many of our houses are now open to visit, and indoor and outdoor seating is available at our cafés.

Entry arrangements for houses will vary so please check property webpages before visiting.

Wales

In line with Welsh Government regulations, our gardens and outdoor areas in Wales are open. We have also reopened our holiday cottages and some shops. In line with the further easing of restrictions, indoor and outdoor seating is now available at some of our cafés and food outlets.

We've also reopened many of our houses in Wales. Entry arrangements for houses will vary so please check property webpages before visiting.

Can I see a list of open places?

For our open gardens, parklands, houses and bookable car parks we have included a list on our website.

Are your houses open? 

In line with the easing of restrictions, we've reopened many of our houses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Entry arrangements for houses will vary so please check property webpages before visiting.

How are you cleaning your places?

We have implemented enhanced cleaning regimes in line with government guidance. 

Are your play areas open?

Most of our natural play areas are open, although you might find some elements, such as tunnels, have been closed where it's not possible to socially distance. We'll make sure play areas have plenty of space to allow for social distancing and encourage everyone to make use of handwashing facilities.

Will walking trails be open?

Many of our walking trails will be open but please check the property web page before you visit and follow all signage on site and instructions from staff. 

What is happening at smaller places?

Smaller places where social distancing cannot be maintained will remain closed. 

Will there be hand sanitiser on site?

Some places may have hand sanitiser available but you are strongly advised to bring your own. 

Car parks

Are your car parks open?

Many of them are, and some require you to book in advance. Please check the property web page to find out what is open and if you need to book.

Are you charging for car parks?

Members can park for free. Non-members will need to pay where there are pay machines.

Do I need to book to use a National Trust car park?

There are a small number of car parks which need to be booked in advance. We ask that you visit the property webpage ahead of travelling for the latest information about what facilities are open and whether you need to book.

How will I know which car parks I need to book in advance?

Before you set off on your journey, please check the property web page for the latest information.

Will I need to pay to book a space?

Members won’t need to pay but do need to book, but non-members will pay at the point of booking their space. 

Do I need to book one ticket per car or per head?

It depends. If it is just a car park, there’s a per car ticket. For most of our places, you need a ticket per person. Details about what you need to book and how to do it can be found on property web pages.

What facilities will you have open at car parks?

This will differ from place to place dependent on a number of factors. However, where we can, we will try to publish available facilities, such as toilets, on property webpages, but please be aware these can change from time to time.

How long can I park for?

The length of stay will depend on the car park you are booking. The booking form will specify how long you can park for.

Our booking system

Do I need to book?​

Advance booking for visits helps us keep everyone safe and socially distanced. When space is available, particularly on weekdays, pre-booking isn't always necessary.​ But to guarantee entry, please always book in advance, especially at busier times like weekends and bank holidays. 

The booking system is open to members and non-members. Charity tax law means our places must be available to everyone – not just members. 

How can I book a visit?

By visiting property webpages.

Why do you have to book some places, but not others?​

Many of our coast and countryside places do not need pre-booking and the latest information will be on their website.​

Is car parking included in my booked ticket price? 

Members always receive free parking, and in many cases parking is included for paying visitors, however we advise that they check parking machines when they arrive as this may differ from place to place. 

But I/a family member doesn’t have access to the internet

For those who are unable to book online you can call our booking team on 0344 249 1895. 

Will I have to print out my tickets or can I show them on my phone?

Visitors should show their tickets on their phone, and at some places they may be asked to share their name and booking number. To maintain social distancing, we’re asking visitors not to pass anything to our staff.   

How can I book a ticket and pay with my National Trust gift card? 

The booking system accepts payment by credit/debit card or Paypal therefore follow these steps to book your ticket and ensure you take your gift card with you to pay at a till point when you arrive.   

  • Within the booking system select the number of tickets you want under the National Trust member (adult or child aged 5+) option.
  • At the checkout stage use the membership number field to enter 'To pay with gift card on arrival'. Staff will process the gift card payment when you arrive at the property. If you forget your gift card you will be asked to pay by another method.

For those who do not have access to the internet to book online you can call our booking team on 0344 249 1895 who will complete this process for you.

How many people are you going to let in each day?

We're opening our places at a reduced capacity to ensure we can manage social distancing and maintain public safety. Capacity will vary depending on the property.

Do I need to book if I’m arriving on foot or by bicycle? 

Yes, if you're visiting a garden or parkland, you will still need to book one ticket per person. Tickets are booked in advance using the main online booking system via the property web page. You will need to show your ticket confirmation when you arrive for your visit.

How does your booking system work?

Half-hour arrival time slots will be available. The last slot will be one hour before usual closing. Properties can choose their own opening hours, which will be advertised on their web page. 

One week of booking will be opened at a time. The following week’s booking will open at a fixed point the week before. Booking closes at 3pm the day before the visit. 

Visitors arriving at gardens and parklands by car will be asked to show booked tickets through their vehicle window before parking. Those arriving on foot will be checked by a small team of staff who will adhere to social distancing. 

Do carers need to book a ticket?

If you need to bring a carer or essential companion to accompany you as a disabled visitor, you can now book a carers ticket at the time of booking, free of charge.

How will people have to show their booking?

Visitors arriving at gardens and parklands by car will be asked to show booked tickets through their vehicle window before parking. Those arriving on foot will be checked by a small team of staff who will adhere to social distancing. 

How long can I stay? 

Some busier places and those with limited space may introduce a two-hour stay limit. This information will be on the booking system before you book a ticket as well as on your ticket itself. Please check property web pages for the latest information and to book a ticket.  

Why can’t we stay longer? 

To maintain social distancing and protect public safety we have had to limit numbers which is why we’ve introduced a booking system. To make this system fair and to ensure as many people as possible get a chance to enjoy our places, some of our places are introducing a time limit. Details of time limits will be highlighted on property web pages, which you will need to visit to book a ticket and to find out what is open.  

Can I sell on my ticket?

Tickets are for your use only and are not available for resale. We will cancel tickets which we believe have been resold.

Can I cancel or change my booking?

If you’re a member the option to cancel or change your booking can be found in your confirmation email by selecting ‘view and manage’ your order online underneath your order summary. 

Members can also cancel their bookings online through the Eventbrite website.

We appreciate you doing this in good time, if you can, to make the tickets available for others as they are in high demand. 

If you're not a member and you need to change your booking, please contact our central booking office on 0344 249 1895 and we’ll try to accommodate your request.

We cannot change or cancel bookings after 3pm the day before your timeslot, in any circumstance. Our terms and conditions at the time of booking state no refunds.

Why can’t I just book tickets for the house?

We’re unable to offer separate tickets for the house or garden under the current booking system. We understand this may cause difficulties. Details of how you can visit the house will be included in your booking confirmation.

Is it quicker to book if I call your Supporter Services Centre/booking team?

No, our teams act on behalf of visitors who do not have access to the internet or need additional help. If there is a queue at busy times, our colleagues on the phone will still need you to join a queue to book. 

Why does it show no tickets are available for members, where it's showing non-member slots are booked?

This is something we're unable to change within Eventbrite. The system shows member slots as ‘unavailable’ and non-member tickets as ‘booked’ due to the system processing much higher volumes of tickets for members. Eventbrite will show tickets as ‘unavailable’ whilst the ticket booking process is still underway. We haven't got specific tickets allocated for members or non-members. Our members have access to all available tickets, and we're pleased to say over 90% of those booking are our members. 

I can see that X amount of slots are available for non-members, but only X for  members - why is this?

We haven't got specific tickets allocated for members or non-members. Our members have access to all available tickets, and we're pleased to say over 90 per cent of those booking are our members. The number of tickets showing as available is the total number of tickets left and isn't specific to members or non-members. For example, you may see that two tickets are showing for members as well as non-members - this means there's a total of two tickets left, rather than four tickets allocated between members and non-members. We're sorry this isn't something we're able to change within Eventbrite. 

I can see there's only one ticket available for a member, but then you've got a family ticket available for 2 adults and 3 children for the same slot, why?

The number of tickets that are showing as available is the total number of tickets left. If Eventbrite is showing just one ticket is available, this means if someone was to select a family ticket they wouldn't be able to proceed with their booking as this would require 4 or 5 tickets to be available. We're sorry this isn't something we're able to change within Eventbrite. Our members have access to all available tickets, and we're pleased to say over 90 per cent of those booking are our members.

Your visit

I’m not a member. Will I have to pay?

Yes, prices will vary across properties and will depend on how much of the property is open.

Like many organisations, we have suffered a significant loss of income during the lockdown, which has resulted in many of our conservation activities being stopped. Your money will help us to continue vital conservation work and keep providing access to nature, beauty and history. 

I’m a member. Can I book free entry for non-members in my group using my membership?

No, each member booking needs to be against an existing membership. You’ll need to enter your unique membership number when you book and membership cards will be checked on entry.

What can I expect from my visit?

Given the unprecedented circumstances, and in order to keep everyone safe, your visit to the National Trust will feel different from normal.

Please always follow government advice on social distancing. For this reason, not all parts of the property will be open, but we’ll show you the best routes when you arrive. You may be asked to follow arrows, follow a one-way system, or slow your pace. It’s vital that you follow these instructions – they’re for everyone’s safety.  

Are you giving members priority on booking or giving them exclusive access?

Charity tax law means our places must be available to everyone - not just members, so we're unable to offer exclusive access or prioritised booking to anyone. Even if we allowed members priority booking, we would still need to hold back a small number of tickets for non-members so they also have an opportunity to visit. With over 90% of tickets booked by our members, priority booking wouldn't result in any more member slots being available.

Will everyone with a ticket be able to enter the house?

Under social distancing rules, the number of people who can explore the house will be far fewer and we realise this may create some disappointment. Everybody with a ticket will have a car park space and be able to visit, but because social distancing greatly reduces the number who can explore the houses, we cannot guarantee entry to the house for everybody who may want to see it.

Will the whole of the house be open?

Depending on the property layout, in most cases we may not be able to open all the rooms. We’re introducing enhanced safety measures, such as one-way systems and social distancing, so visitor routes in some houses have been changed, meaning less of the house is able to reopen.

Are your places safe to visit?

Yes. We have strict procedures in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff, volunteers and visitors at our places. All our places adhere to their respective government guidance. We have been awarded the official “We’re Good To Go” mark. Designed by VisitEngland in partnership with the national tourist organisations this UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark recognises the tireless effort our staff and volunteers have made to safely reopen our places.

Do I need to wear a face covering?   

Wearing a face covering is now mandatory for customers and visitors in shops, indoor cafés offering counter service and other enclosed spaces - including stately homes - where you may encounter people you don't usually meet, unless you are exempt. This applies to England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Where necessary, staff will politely request that visitors wear one.

Do staff and volunteers need to wear a face covering?

In Wales and England, face coverings for staff and volunteers are mandatory in shops, indoor cafés offering counter service and other enclosed spaces - including stately homes - where you may encounter people you don't usually meet.

In Northern Ireland, it is mandatory for staff and volunteers to wear a face covering in indoor cafes, shops and retail as well as visitor transport (eg shuttles).

Are you providing face coverings for visitors?   ​

We will not be providing face coverings, although a small number will be on offer to buy in some shops. We encourage visitors to bring their own.

How will I know when and where I need to wear a face covering?  ​

There will be a note on the booking system reminding visitors to bring a face covering and, where possible, signs on site will remind visitors entering houses, shops, indoor cafés offering counter service, and other enclosed spaces. Staff and volunteers will be on hand should visitors have further questions or concerns, but please do bring a covering with you.  

Will you refuse entry to those who do not wear a face covering?   ​

Admission to houses, shops, indoor cafés offering counter service, and other enclosed spaces in England, Northern Ireland and Wales can be refused to anyone not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt, although this will be at the discretion of the House, Retail or Food and Beverage Manager.     

Who is exempt from wearing a face covering?  

Government guidelines state that children under the age of 11 in England and Wales, and under 13 in Northern Ireland, do not have to wear a face covering.

Anyone who is unable to use a face covering due to a physical or mental disability or impairment is also exempt, as is assisting someone who is lip reading or relies on lip reading to communicate.  

What do you mean by ‘other enclosed spaces’?

Face coverings are required in enclosed spaces where you may encounter people you don’t usually meet. This may include our exhibition spaces, reception areas, orangeries and other indoor settings, as well as our houses.

There will be a note on the booking system reminding visitors to bring a face covering and, where possible, signs on site. Staff and volunteers will be on hand should visitors have further questions, but please do bring a covering with you.  

Are you using 2m or 1m+ social distancing?

We have planned the reopening around 2m social distancing to meet current government guidance which says to maintain 2m distancing where viable. We will be asking visitors to keep to this as they go round the houses. We want people to feel safe as they are welcomed back to our houses once more.

Food and drink

Are your cafés open? 

In line with further easing of restrictions, indoor and outdoor seating is now available at some of our cafés and food outlets in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Where indoor and/or outdoor seating is available, we are legally obliged to support the NHS Test and Trace Programme in England, the HSC Test, Trace, Protect programme in Northern Ireland and the Test, Trace and Protect programme in Wales by asking all visitors ‘eating in’ in both indoor and outdoor seating areas to provide contact details.

As an organisation it is a legal requirement for us to ask for this information.

In all locations, the information will be stored securely for 21 days and only shared in response to an official request. After 21 days your information will be securely destroyed or deleted.

The National Trust will not collect any health-related personal data when you visit.

Our cafés and food outlets continue to prioritise the health and safety of staff, volunteers, suppliers and visitors. We continue to maintain social distancing measures, screens at our till and collection points, waymarked routes and will have hand sanitiser available, to ensure that everyone can enjoy their visit as safely as possible.

What safety standards will be in place for indoor and outdoor seating in England?

We are legally required to participate in the NHS Test & Trace programme by asking visitors over the age of 16, eating in or using outdoor seating, at one of our cafés or food outlets, to provide contact details. Details are not required for visitors who purchase items for takeaway.  

  • We’ll ask all members of a group older than 16 to give their details
  • We will only share this information with NHS Test and Trace, and only if requested
  • We won’t collect any health-related personal data when you visit

How to check in via NHS Test & Trace:

  • Using the NHS COVID-19 app, scan the QR code with your smartphone
  • Alternatively, visitors can scan their membership card when paying – if we’re later asked by NHS Test and Trace to give details of customers that match the date and time of a visit, we’ll supply the name and contact details held on your membership record.
  • Visitors without the NHS COVID-19 app or a membership card will be asked to provide their name and phone number, along with the date and time of their visit

We’ll store this information safely for 21 days, then it will be securely destroyed or deleted.

For further information, go to: www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works

What safety standards will be in place for indoor and outdoor seating in Wales?

Following the reopening of indoor and outdoor seating at some locations in Wales, we are legally required to participate in the NHS Test, Trace, Protect programme by asking all adult visitors who wish to ‘eat-in’ using an indoor or outdoor table in one of our cafés or food outlets to provide contact details. Details are not required for visitors who purchase items for takeaway.  

All adult visitors will be required to provide contact details, including name and phone number. Under the guidance visitors are required to provide verification of their name when filling in contact details. Methods of verification include drivers licence and bank or credit cards. Members who have their membership card do not need to provide additional ID.

Checking in via the NHS COVID-19 app does not replace the legal requirement for our venues to also collect visitors’ contact details.

Members:

  • We’ll ask you to scan your membership card when you’re paying.
  • If we’re later asked by NHS Test, Trace, Protect to give details of customers that match the date and time of your visit, we’ll supply the name and contact details from your membership record.

Visitors without a membership card:

  • We’ll ask you to provide your name and phone number, along with the date and time of your visit. We’ll also ask you to provide verification of your name.

For further information, go to: www.gov.wales/test-trace-protect-coronavirus

What safety standards will be in place for indoor and outdoor seating in Northern Ireland?

Following the reopening of indoor and outdoor seating at some locations in Northern Ireland, we are legally required to participate in the HSC Test, Trace and Protect contact tracing programme, by asking all visitors over 16 who are 'eating in' using a table in one of our cafés or food outlets to provide contact details. Details are not required for visitors who purchase items for takeaway.

To collect this information, we'll ask members to scan their membership card when paying. For visitors without a membership card, we'll ask you to provide your name and phone number which will be recorded manually.

For further information, go to:
www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus/testing-and-tracing-covid-19

What food and drink can I expect? 

Since reopening, some cafés have expanded their offer to include some hot dishes. As a minimum all cafés and food outlets will be serving hot and cold drinks, some pre-packaged and freshly baked snacks and sandwiches where possible.

We ask visitors with specific dietary requirements to come prepared, should we not be able to provide anything suitable.

Will food / drinks for children be available?

Some cafés and food outlets are serving pre-packed children’s items. Where a café/food outlet doesn’t have a dedicated children’s option, some of the food and drink on offer will be suitable for children. Please be mindful of this when booking a visit and come prepared.

Will dietary needs to be catered for?

Our menu may not cater for different dietary needs as widely as it normally does, and we encourage visitors with particular dietary requirements to bring snacks with them to avoid disappointment.

How is my safety and that of the staff being managed in the cafés? 

The safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors is our priority, therefore we’ll be implementing the following:

  • One-way queueing system to place orders and for order collection.
  • In line with government guidelines visitors are required to wear a face covering, unless exempt, in our cafés and food outlets. There's no requirement for face coverings to be worn at outdoor food outlets.
  • Contactless card payments preferred to limit personal interaction. However, we are starting to accept cash at some of our outlets.
  • Staff will have had comprehensive training prior to reopening to ensure they operate in the safest way possible and will be adhering to latest PPE requirements, including face coverings.
  • Till and collection points will be screened.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available and visitors will be encouraged to use it.
  • For our seating areas, we’ll be carrying out enhanced cleaning of tables and chairs between uses. Staff will sanitise their hands between serving different tables.

Where does the need to wear a face covering apply in a café? ​

Visitors to our cafés and food outlets will be required to wear a face covering when entering and using internal counter areas (including order and collection points). There's no requirement for face coverings to be worn at outdoor food outlets, or when seated. 

Government guidelines state that children under the age of 11 do not have to wear a face covering. Anyone who is unable to use a face covering due to a physical or mental disability or impairment is also exempt, as is assisting someone who is lip reading or relies on lip reading to communicate. 

Can I bring my own food and drinks? 

Yes, visitors may bring their own food provided that social distancing guidance is followed. Please don't leave any litter behind.

Will tap water be provided even if the café isn’t open? 

Some of our cafés/food outlets are now able to refill re-usable water bottles provided they are clean and in good condition. For the health and wellbeing of everyone, our teams will be following a specific process to minimise handling.

Bottled water will also be available to purchase in cafés and food outlets, where open.

Self-service water fountains remain out of use.

Can I bring my reusable cup?

Some cafés and food outlets are accepting re-usable cups provided they are clean and in good condition. For the health and wellbeing of everyone, our teams will be following a specific process to minimise handling.

Will there still be a charge for using disposable cups?

No. As some cafés and food outlets are still unable to accept re-usable cups we will not be adding the additional 5p charge for the use of disposable takeaway cups.

Shops

Will shops be open? 

Our on-property shops in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are now open.

Our online shop is also open.

Membership

Will you be refunding, extending or pausing payments of memberships while places are closed?

We don't have plans to freeze all memberships, however we're very aware that in the current climate, some of you will be worried about your finances. If you'd like to talk to us about the support available, call our Supporter Services team on 0344 800 1895.

Holidays

Are you taking holidays bookings?

Holidays in England

Following government guidance, we've reopened all cottages, bunkhouses and bothies in England, with for two households or the rule of six until at least 18 July 2021 inclusive (subject to government review).

All campsites in England have reopened.

Holidays in Wales

Following guidance from the Welsh Government, we've reopened all cottages, bunkhouses and bothies for two households or the rule of six.

All campsites in Wales have reopened.

Holidays in Northern Ireland

Following the guidance from the Northern Ireland Executive, we've reopened all cottages, bothies and bunkhouses for two households or the rule of six.

All campsites in Northern Ireland have also reopened.

Thank you for your support as we regularly review this situation. Find out more about our flexible Covid-19 booking promise and read our full Holidays FAQs here.

Visitors walking through the cloisters at Tyntesfield

How to book your visit and what to expect 

Our gardens, parks, cafés, shops and countryside locations are open. Many houses are also open to visit. Advance booking for visits helps us keep everyone safe and socially distanced. At quieter times such as weekdays, booking shouldn't be necessary, but to guarantee entry we recommend booking in advance, especially at weekends and bank holidays.