Visitor FAQs

Visitors at the re-opening of Basildon Park, Berkshire

If you're visiting one of our places and have a question, you may find the answer here.

Where can I take photographs?

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

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 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.

Our people: permission should be sought at the time if you wish to intentionally film or photograph National Trust staff members or volunteers.

Why is it dark inside some houses?

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.

Where can I picnic?

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.

Where can I sit down?

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.

Is there somewhere to leave large or bulky bags?

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).

What types of footwear are restricted?

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 remember 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.

May I use my mobile telephone?

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.

What about smoking?

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.

Children opening a door at Allan Bank, Cumbria

What are the opening times for my local properties?  

Search for a property and then head to the Opening times tab to see when you can visit.

Where can I go for a walk?

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

Why don’t you allow drones to fly at National Trust sites?

Few non-commercial users have the correct training or permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to operate drones and should a drone cause damage or harm, pilots generally do not have the correct insurances to compensate those affected. Drones should not be flown over people and as much of our land is open access we cannot guarantee an area is ever completely empty. Drones should not be flown near property and the special nature of our properties makes the risk of damage more severe. Some sites may have wildlife or agricultural animals which could be affected by the presence of drones. Many drones have cameras attached and these could infringe data protection laws (filming people without permission) and potentially could contravene National Trust rules on commercial photography and filming. We therefore do not allow drone flying from or over National Trust land except by contractors commissioned by the Trust for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct  insurances and are operating under controlled conditions.

Hot drinks loyalty card scheme

The hot drinks loyalty card scheme ended on 28 February 2021 and has been replaced with our re-useable cup discount scheme.

How does the reusable cup offer work?

For any customer bringing their own reusable cup we will deduct 25p, each time, from the advertised price of the drink. This discount has been introduced to help visitors make a choice between disposable or reusable cups, with the aim of reducing the number of disposable cups used.

Aren’t your takeaway cups good for the environment anyway, so why should I use a reusable cup?

Our takeaway cups are made from plant-based materials, so are compostable, where local facilities are available. While this is a better option than non-compostable cups, they still generate waste. Using a reusable cup reduces unnecessary waste.

Can I use any reusable cup for the 25p discount to be applied?

Reusable cups are accepted provided they are clean and in good condition.

Visitors at Sheffield Park and Garden

Access for disabled people 

We welcome disabled visitors and their carers at our places, and assistance dogs too. Find out everything we do to give you a great day out and details of the Essential Companion card or group Links Pass.