Reopening and coronavirus FAQs

Spring reflections at Sheffield Park, East Sussex

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:

Visiting and access

1. 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 and we'll do our very best to help you.

2. When do you plan to reopen?

We will only open our places as and when it’s safe to do so within government guidelines. In the coming days we'll announce the plans that will enable us to do that.

3. Which places are you reopening?

We are reopening our car parks in England and Northern Ireland but our houses, gardens and parklands remain closed. We will be updating our reopening plans on our website.

Car parks in Wales will not reopen at this stage in line with current guidance there.

4. When will your car parks be open?

Initially we plan to start opening some of our car parks in England from Wednesday 13 May. Car parks which are staffed and have facilities, will take longer. Most car parks will be open by the 21 May.

Car parks in Northern Ireland will gradually reopen from Wednesday 27 May.

Car parks in Wales will not reopen at this stage in line with current guidance there.

5. Why haven't you opened all your car parks at the same time following government advice?

Some of our car parks have facilities and require staff. Getting staff back from furlough, to manage our car parks and facilities, and ensuring we maintain their safety, has to be carefully planned in line with government guidance. Initially we plan to start opening some of our car parks that don’t require staff. Car parks, which are staffed and with facilities, will take longer to reopen.

6. Are you charging for car parks?

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

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

To manage numbers at some of our busiest car parks we have introduced a booking system. There are also a number of other car parks which don’t need to booked. These tend to be smaller car parks which don’t have facilities or require staff. Some of our car parks, which specifically cater for our houses, gardens and parklands will remain closed.

We ask that you visit the property web page ahead of travelling for the latest information about what facilities are open and whether you need to book. 

8. When does the booking system open?

The booking system opened on our website on Monday 18 May.

9. 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.

10. 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. 

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

Per car

12. 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 web pages, but please be aware these can change from time to time.

13. 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.

14. How do I know which car parks are open, do you have a list?

The process of opening our car parks will be gradual from May 13 and decisions on what will open will be made by local judgement to avoid hotspots for the safety of visitors and local communities. This means some car parks may not open at all. Where car parks feature on our web pages we will update information. However, it’s worth noting that we have a wide range of car parks in a number of locations which don’t necessarily feature on web pages.

15. Why are you not opening your outdoor areas, such as gardens and parklands, in line with the government’s new guidance?

To manage numbers so we can encourage social distancing in order to maintain the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors, when we reopen we plan to introduce a booking system. 

16. Will members get priority booking?

Unfortunately, charity tax law means our properties must be available to everyone – not just members so we’re unable to offer prioritised booking to anyone. 

17. How do you plan to keep your staff and visitors safe when you reopen?

The safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors is our main priority and we will only open places as and when it is safe to do so.

In order to keep people safe, and in line with government guidance, visits to our places will be very different initially. We are planning to partially open, but visitors will need to book via an online system. This isn’t open yet, but it will be when we are ready to take bookings.

We know this will be different from what our visitors are used to but it is needed if we are to continue to open safely. We'll be sharing more information about our plans in the coming days.


18. 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. There are ways that we can help, and you can find out more information on this here.

19. Will members continue to receive benefits, like the National Trust Magazine?

Yes, we are still planning to issue the magazine. Our 125th anniversary special issue is being sent out now and will arrive with members in May and June.

20. Many of your members will be in the ‘at risk’ category and won’t be able to visit your sites. What will you be doing to support them during this time?

The National Trust has existed for the benefit of the nation for 125 years, including during the nation’s darkest days. At these challenging times, we believe nature, beauty and history can offer some respite, including for those people who are unable to leave the house. We will continue to provide interesting and thoughtful content for our members via the National Trust’s channels, and we are producing a weekly activity programme to help people stay engaged with our cause and community. 

Our year-long campaign to get the nation noticing nature, launched in February, will continue. Nature can provide calm and relief during difficult times – and whether it is simply listening to birdsong at dawn or watching trees burst into blossom, we will bring people ideas and inspiration for enjoying the natural world from indoors.


Family walking dogs

How to book your visit and what to expect 

We're reopening the places you love, gradually, safely and in step with government advice. Our houses, gardens and parklands remain closed for now, in line with the rules about ticketed venues. But we're opening some of our coast and countryside car parks in England, so you can get out into green spaces. Some of our coast and countryside car parks in Northern Ireland will start to reopen from 27 May. You'll need to book for some of them. Read this article to find out what's open, how you can visit, and what to expect from your visit.