Reopening and coronavirus FAQs

Man walking across winter parkland scene

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

Following the Prime Minister's announcement, on 4 January 2021, of a lockdown in England, our gardens, parks and countryside remain open for local people to exercise. Our shops in England will close under the new restrictions, but some cafés will be able to offer basic takeaway refreshments. The safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors from the nearby community remains our priority. We urge visitors to follow the rules and stay local.

The booking system remains in place to restrict capacity and help with social distancing and we ask everyone to check the property website for information before planning a visit.

Northern Ireland

In line with Northern Ireland Executive restrictions, our houses, shops and visitor centres in Northern Ireland are closed for six weeks from 26 December. Our outdoor spaces remain open for local walkers to enjoy and cafés are offering a limited takeaway service.

Wales

In line with Welsh Government restrictions under the Covid-19 Alert Level system, all our places in Wales are currently closed. We encourage everybody to follow the latest restrictions and stay at home.

Please check the property webpage of the place you wish to visit before you travel. 

Do the restrictions apply if I live in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland and want to visit Wales?

In line with Welsh Government restrictions under the Covid-19 Alert Level system, all our places in Wales are currently closed as part of the national effort to bring coronavirus under control.

The safety of our staff, volunteers, visitors and local communities remains our priority and we will continue to follow Welsh government restrictions. We encourage everybody to follow the latest restrictions and stay at home. We look forward to welcoming you back when we're able to.

What counts as local travel during the January/February 2021 England lockdown?

The government provides guidance on travel and exercise during the latest lockdown in England here.

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? 

Following the latest government guidance in England, all houses, and other indoor areas are closed.

In line with Northern Ireland Executive restrictions, our houses, shops and visitor centres in Northern Ireland are closed for six weeks from 26 December to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

In line with Welsh Government restrictions under the Covid-19 Alert Level system, all our places in Wales are currently closed as part of the national effort to bring coronavirus under control.

How are you cleaning your places?

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

Will children’s play areas and play trails be open?

Our natural play trails which encourage people to explore and allow for social distancing will be open, however formal playgrounds and play areas will remain closed in line with government advice. Please check the property web page before you visit and follow all signage on site and instructions from staff.

In line with Welsh Government restrictions under the Covid-19 Alert Level system, all our places in Wales are currently closed as part of the national effort to bring coronavirus under control.

What provisions/facilities do you have in place at those play areas that are open?

While most of our natural play areas are open, we have closed some elements such as tunnels or areas within a building. We have also ensured open areas can accommodate dispersed family use to maintain social distancing, and we have placed handwashing signage across play areas. There will also be toilets and handwashing facilities nearby at the property.

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?

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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

The process of opening our car parks has been gradual since 13 May and decisions on what will open are being 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.

Our booking system

Do I need to book?​

We encourage all visitors to book before their visit, as this enables us to ensure social distancing is possible.

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 web pages.

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. 

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.

Is car parking and the garden/park included in the ticket?

Yes. Your ticket will include a space in the car park and you are welcome to explore the garden and grounds of the house – if available.

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 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?

Carers can continue to access our places for free with an essential companions' card. Carers don't need to book a ticket for themselves, but the person they accompany will need a pre-booked ticket.

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.  

How often can I visit?

We're looking forward to our members and visitors returning, but in order to keep everyone safe, we’ve had to significantly restrict capacity.

We’re asking everyone to be considerate and only book one visit a week for the time being.

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 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?

In line with the latest guidance, all National Trust houses are currently closed.

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. Our colleagues on the phone will still need you to join a queue to book. 

Our advice is; if you're online and in the queue it's best to stay there until you get through, otherwise you risk losing your place in the queue. With 5.6million members and about 160,000 tickets available, we expected our places to be booked up quickly, as demand outstrips ticket availability.

We are delighted that over 90% of those successfully booking are members. It is important that we continue to limit capacity so we can manage social distancing and maintain public safety.

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.

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.

In Wales, face coverings are also mandatory for staff and volunteers in the above settings.

In England and 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.  

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

Visitors to cafés in England, Northern Ireland and Wales 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 eating and drinking.

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.

Why do I need to give my details twice? Why can't I scan my membership card at house entry?

England and Northern Ireland

Our cafés use scanners to record member information. At houses where we do not have the necessary scanners, data will be collected manually at the point of entry. In some instances, it may be necessary to provide information twice as there may be those who visit one and not the other. Those with the test and trace app will be able to scan their details using QR posters at National Trust entrance points.

Wales

Data for test and trace will be collected via the online booking system. Providing details for test and trace is a legal obligation. In the instances which see people access places in Wales without pre-booking, entrance may be refused to those who do not comply with these laws.

Food and drink

Are your cafés open? 

Following the latest government guidance, those cafés and food outlets in England and Northern Ireland which remain open are serving hot and cold drinks and takeaway snacks only.

In line with Welsh government restrictions under the Covid-19 Alert Level system, all our places in Wales are currently closed.

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 food and drink can I expect? 

Following the latest government guidance, those cafés and food outlets in England and Northern Ireland which remain open are serving hot and cold drinks and takeaway snacks only.

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

In line with Welsh government restrictions under the Covid-19 Alert Level system, all our places in Wales are currently closed.

Will food / drinks for children be available?

The menus in our outlets will be limited, however some of the drinks and snacks served are suitable for children. Please be mindful of this when booking a visit and come prepared.

Will dietary needs to be catered for?

Following the latest government guidance, those cafés and food outlets in England and Northern Ireland which remain open are serving hot and cold drinks and takeaway snacks only.

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. To ensure that social distance is maintained 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.
  • Card payments only to limit personal interaction, with contactless preferred.
  • Staff 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 in customer facing areas.
  • Till and collection points will be screened.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available and visitors will be encouraged to use it.

Do children or those with exemptions have to wear a face covering in National Trust shops/indoor cafés offering counter service?   ​

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. ​​

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. 

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 cafes 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? 

Shops in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are closed in line with local guidance.

Our online shop remains open.

Why do I need to wear a face covering? 

Wearing a face covering is mandatory for customers in shops and supermarkets in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. 

All visitors to our shops will be required to wear a face covering and, where necessary, staff will politely request that shoppers wear one.  

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

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

Yes, we're still issuing the Members' Magazine. Our 125th anniversary special edition was sent out to members in the summer, followed by our autumn edition in August.

Holidays

Are you taking holidays bookings?

Following guidance from the government in England, we're closing all holiday accommodation in England from 31 December 2020 to 21 February 2021. 

Following guidance from the government in Wales, we're closing all holiday accommodation from the 20 December 2020 to 21 February 2021.

Following guidance from the Northern Ireland Executive, we are closing all holiday accommodation from 26 December 2020 to 6 February 2021 inclusive.

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 beside the river at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

How to book your visit and what to expect 

In England and Northern Ireland, our gardens, parks and countryside remain open for local people to exercise. Shops, houses and other indoor areas are closed, and cafes are takeaway only. The safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors from the nearby community remains our priority and we urge you to book your visits in advance and stay local. All places in Wales are currently closed. Please check the property webpage before you travel.