Reopening and coronavirus FAQs

 View towards one of the lake pavilions across the partially frozen Octagon Lake at Stowe, Buckinghamshire

Find answers below to some of the most commonly asked questions about visiting and using the booking system.

In these FAQs:

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

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.

Visting information

Which places are open?

Our gardens, parks, cafés, shops, countryside locations and many houses are open. You no longer need to pre-book at many places. Some still require booking ahead, so please check the property webpage before you travel.​

Opening days and times vary from place to place, so please check the relevant property webpage when planning your visit. 

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.

How many places are closed due to staff having to self isolate?

As with many organisations and places across the country, staff having to self-isolate is a fast-changing situation, and some properties – or parts of properties – are having to temporarily close due to staff or volunteers self-isolating. We advise visitors to check their local property webpage for the latest updates and advice on visiting.

Why have you made some small properties guided tour only?

Some of the small properties will still offer opportunities for you to walk around inside in your own time. However, offering guided tours or short introductions can give you a more personal experience, and the chance to go deeper and get closer to the history of the place.

This kind of visit already works well at places such as the Beatles’ Houses and the Back-to-Backs, where you’ll receive a personal welcome and special access as part of a small tour group. Please see the property webpages for details.

Will there be hand sanitiser on site?

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

How are you cleaning your places?

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

Will the whole of the house be open?

We are working hard to get all our places back up and running. Many of our houses are fully open again, but some may have rooms that can't open just yet for staffing, conservation or other reasons.

Do I need to wear a face covering?   

The safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff remains our top priority. In England, face coverings are required in shops and recommended in enclosed and crowded areas.

In Wales, face coverings remain mandatory indoors, except in places where food and drink are served e.g. cafés and tea rooms.

In Northern Ireland, wearing a face covering is 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. Where necessary, staff will politely request that visitors wear one.

Face coverings are required on all public transport in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including visitor transport at our places such as shuttle buses.

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.

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.  

Booking information

Do I need to book?​

You no longer need to pre-book at many of our places in England and Wales, although some smaller properties may still require booking ahead, so please check the property webpage before you travel.

Some coronavirus restrictions remain in place in Northern Ireland and Wales, so please continue to follow Northern Ireland Executive and Welsh Government guidance and regulations when visiting. Pre-booking is currently still required at a number of places in Northern Ireland.

How can I book a visit?

For places that still require pre-booking, you can book a ticket by visiting the property webpage.

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

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 book a carers ticket at the time of booking, free of charge.

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.

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 set up an account when you made your booking, you will be able to amend the date/time of your booking online up to 24 hours before the date of your visit, or by calling 0344 249 1895. If you are a member and can no longer attend, please let us know by giving us a call on 0344 249 1895. 

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.

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. 

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.

Car parks

Are your car parks open?

Many of our car parks are open.

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 in advance?

A small number of car parks need to be booked in advance. Please check the property webpage to find out if you need to book. 

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. 

Food and drink

Are your cafés open? 

Yes, the majority of our cafés and food outlets in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are open.

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

The safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors is our priority. Visitors are no longer be required to socially distance. While our cafés and food outlets will resemble pre-covid layouts, we will be sanitising all objects on tables every day, touch points will be sanitised regularly, and all food trays will be cleaned between each use. Hand sanitiser will be available should visitors wish to use it. Till and collection points will be screened.

What safety standards will be in place in Wales?

Following the reopening of indoor and outdoor seating at some locations in Wales, we will be participating 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 will not be requested for visitors who purchase items for takeaway.

All adult visitors will be asked to provide contact details, including name and phone number.

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 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? 

With the further easing of restrictions in England, visitors can enjoy an expanded range of options. In Wales and Northern Ireland we continue to offer a variety of hot and cold items. We ask that visitors with specific dietary requirements come prepared, should we not be able to provide anything suitable.

Will food and drinks for children be available?

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, many of our cafés are now serving a wider variety of hot and cold snacks and light meals, some of which will be suitable for children.

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.

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

It is no longer mandatory to wear a face covering in England and Wales, but they are recommended in enclosed and crowded areas. Visitors to our cafés and food outlets in Northern Ireland, will be required to wear a face covering when entering and using internal counter areas (including order and collection points).

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? 

Self-service water fountains are available for use in England and Wales. Some cafés/food outlets are now able to refill re-usable water bottles provided they are clean and in good condition. Bottled water will also be available to purchase in cafés and food outlets.

Can I bring my reusable cup?

Some cafés and food outlets are accepting reusable 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?

We have re-introduced the 5p charge for the use of disposable cups. We hope our supporters will understand that this is a small way they can help us all be more sustainable.

Shops

Will shops be open? 

Yes, our on-property shops in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are open. Our online shop is also open.

Holidays

Are you taking holidays bookings?

Holidays in England

Following government guidance, we've reopened all our holiday accommodation and restrictions on household numbers have been lifted. You must not exceed the stated occupancy of the accommodation.

Holidays in Wales

Following Welsh Government guidance, we've reopened all our holiday accommodation and restrictions on household numbers have been lifted. You must not exceed the stated occupancy of the accommodation.

Holidays in Northern Ireland

Following guidance from the Northern Ireland Executive, we've reopened all our holiday accommodation for two households or the rule of six. This will be reviewed following further government announcements.

Guests are required to provide contact details for each member of the party aged 16 and over.

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 in the parkland at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

Visiting and booking information 

Our gardens, parks, cafés, shops, countryside locations and many houses are open. You no longer need to pre-book at many places. Some still require booking ahead, so please check the property webpage before you travel.​