Busy days at Lyme

Cycling at Lyme Park, Cheshire

In 2017, we welcomed over half a million visitors to the estate. Lyme has become increasingly more popular and this means our busy days are becoming more frequent, particularly at weekends and during school holidays.

Our car park

We have 900 parking spaces when weather is at its best and ground conditions are good and this is usually more than enough to accommodate our visitors. However, 500 of these parking spaces are on grassed surfaces and their use is weather dependant. Lyme experiences a lot of rainfall which makes these overflow spaces unusable especially when there’s been a prolonged period of heavy rain. This impacts the number of vehicles we can welcome in to the estate on busy days and we often have to close.

In the last five years alone, the number of vehicles we have welcomed in to the park has increased by over 55,000 a year. This means we have to rely more heavily on our overflow parking spaces.

What happens when it’s busy

We know how frustrating it can be queuing to get into the park and staff and volunteers in the car park work hard to closely monitor the spaces we have available. Closing the park is always a last resort and something we try to avoid.

When we near capacity, we share this on social media and then close the park to vehicles for a minimum of half an hour. This allows us to find spaces for vehicles already in the park and waiting for a parking space to become available. Once a sufficient amount of spaces have become available, we will re-open the park. We communicate when we close and reopen on our social media channels and on the website too.

When the park is closed, a member of staff will be positioned on the A6 waving cars by to prevent a gridlock. It is not safe for vehicles to wait on the A6 until the park re-opens. It also causes major traffic disruption in the local area.

When are we busy?

Whilst we cannot predict which days we are busy, weekends and sunny days are always popular. We peak between 12pm and 2pm which is when our car park car reach capacity.

If you want a quieter visitor, why not visit mid-week? If you are coming at the weekend, coming earlier in the day or after 2pm can help avoid queues. You can find out the opening times of the house, garden, estate, shops and catering outlets here.

Alternative ways to travel to Lyme

To avoid queuing on busy days we’d recommend using local transportation links that take the stress out of driving. Our driveway is 1 mile long, but we don’t expect those arriving by foot to walk. Our shuttlebus runs from the admissions kiosk at the entrance to the house, Information Centre and facilities from 10.30am until 5pm daily.

Disley train station is half a mile from the entrance and there is a bus stop with regular buses by the entrance gates. Find out more here about transport links to Lyme

What we’re doing to fix the problem

We appreciate Lyme’s infrastructure has not kept up with the demands of the growing visitor numbers and we recognise the need to address this. We’ve been planning and researching potential solutions which will make our parking spaces suitable for use all year round and improve the visitor experience at Lyme.

The National Trust is conservation charity and we need to ensure any changes we make to the estate to improve visitor experience doesn’t negatively impact our special places in the short and longer term. The solution to our car parking problems is not straight forward but it is something we hope to address soon.