Car park update
We've enjoyed record visitor numbers since we increased our opening times in 2012. This year, a brand-new car park will help us to welcome visitors whatever the weather.
Gunby Estate Hall and Gardens was gifted to National Trust in 1944 by the Massingberd family who lived at Gunby until 1967. From 1967 until 2012 it was tenanted, and visitors could visit at limited times. In 2012 it was decided to take the property ‘back in hand’ and increase the opening times for visitors. Since 2012 visitor numbers have grown more than three-fold, from around 12k to 42k in 2019. The staff team increased from around 6 to 14 people and the volunteer team increased from around 20 to nearly 200 regular helpers.
This increase in visitors, staff and volunteers has had an impact on the visitor facilities. Especially the grass car park area near the house, which was adequate until 2012, became too small for the new volumes. On many days the verges along the drive were used for parking, impacting on the condition of the historic lime tree avenue.
We often had to close in the past years when wet weather meant the parking area was saturated and unsuitable for cars. The local heavy clay soil means that water doesn’t freely drain away very quickly, so it takes that bit longer for the car parking area to recover.
The National Trust has developed an all-weather car park for Gunby to avoid these issues in future. The project team have identified an appropriate location, and have worked closely with conservation advisors, architects, engineers and the local planning authority, to develop a car park that best meets the needs of Gunby and our visitors.
The new car park will be sited near the entrance off the Gunby roundabout. Building work will start in early 2020. Sole use of the new car park will be gradually introduced during the 2020 season.
As part of the car park project an on-call buggy will be operating to transfer you from the car park to the entrance near the courtyard. The lime tree drive is 500 metres long and will offer a pleasant walk if you're able to do so.
The drive will be resurfaced too as part of the car park works and there will be bike racks for cyclists.
To make sure we can accommodate our ever-increasing visitor numbers, a new online booking system will be gradually introduced so you can pre-book your space in the car park.
" We're confident that this investment in Gunby's future will allow many people to enjoy this special place for years to come, and we are committed to progressing a car park at Gunby to a successful conclusion as swiftly as possible."
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer buggy driver, contact Astrid.Gatenby@nationaltrust.org.uk for an application form.