Visitors vote for dogs to be welcomed at Ham House and Garden all year round from Autumn 2018 

Walking dogs in the Cherry Garden

Dogs and their well-behaved owners will be welcomed all year round at Ham House and Garden from 29th October 2018 thanks to overwhelmingly positive feedback from visitors, staff and volunteers. 

Aiming to be more inclusive to local people, a winter trial took place from Boxing Day 2017 until 9 February 2018. Dogs on short leads visited the property for the first time with access to the garden, café and shop. 

Rosie Fyles, Head Gardener, who led the trial, says, “We are opening our gates for more local people to enjoy this space. People who visited Ham with their dogs told us how much they valued the opportunity. The impact on the property was very limited and the garden team particularly are happy to undertake small changes to enable these members of the family to visit too. We talked to our visitors enjoying their time here and everybody could feel a greater sense of community developing.”

82% of all respondents during the trial asked that dogs were given access in the future. There were 695 canine visitors, nearly 250 feedback cards were handed in and there were many positive posts on social media. The overwhelming feedback from visitors – non-dog owners and owners – was that dogs should be welcome: 60% of respondents asked for this change all year round, 22% voted for winter access only. As a result dogs are welcome at Ham House and Garden from Monday 29 October 2018 except for spring and summer bank holidays and Easter weekend.

The trial also gave us the opportunity to understand what it takes to make sure that the access for dogs doesn’t impact other visitors – there will be dog-free spaces in the garden and café for those who prefer and measures are in place to ensure we continue to maintain our high horticultural standards.

If you would like to get in touch about dogs at Ham House and Garden, please do so via email helping.ham@nationaltrust.org.uk.