Our latest statement on reopening and coronavirus (COVID-19)

Close up of an oak leaf
Published : 05 Mar 2020 Last update : 27 Nov 2020

Our latest statement on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Friday 27 November 2020

In England, gardens, parks and outdoor spaces have been open through the current lockdown. From 2 December, we're reopening some houses and seating areas in cafés. In tier 3, indoor areas will remain closed and cafés will be takeaway only. Please follow your area's tiering system and government guidance when planning a visit.

Following Welsh government guidance, all places in Wales are now open for Wales residents.

Following clarification on Northern Ireland Executive circuit break restrictions, our gardens and parks in Northern Ireland will open from 28 November. All houses, shops and visitors centres will stay closed during the circuit break until 11 December, and cafés will be takeaway only.

Thursday 26 November 2020

In line with Northern Ireland Executive legislation and the ‘circuit break’ lockdown, our houses, gardens and parks in Northern Ireland will temporarily close from Friday 27 November until 11 December to restrict the spread of coronavirus. Local walkers can continue to enjoy our open countryside and coastal sites.

The safety of our staff, volunteers, visitors and local communities remains our priority. We urge people to follow government guidance and stay local. We look forward to welcoming you back when we’re able to.

Thursday 5 November 2020

We're reopening our places in Wales from Monday 9 November in line with Welsh government guidelines following the firebreak lockdown. Under the new Welsh government legislation, our places are only open to Wales residents and to groups of four or less (excluding children under 11) unless they are from the same household.

Opening times vary as some of our places have moved to their winter opening schedules and are not open daily, so please check the website before visiting.

The safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers, visitors and local communities is our priority and we will continue to monitor the situation, following Welsh government advice.

Access to outdoor spaces has never been more important and we're looking forward to welcoming visitors from Wales back to enjoy nature, beauty and history.

Monday 2 November 2020

Following the government’s announcement of a four-week lockdown in England, we intend to keep our gardens, parks and countryside sites open but will close our houses, shops and holiday accommodation in England from Thursday 5 November.

Our coast and countryside sites and car parks will remain open. We intend to keep our gardens and parklands open with pre-booking to encourage local people to enjoy open space while adhering to the government’s guidance and maintaining social distancing.

Our Director-General Hilary McGrady said: 'We follow government advice and guidance at all times, in each of the nations we serve.

'We know how important access to green space, nature and fresh air are to people, and we’ll do everything we can to provide them during the next phase. Our priorities will remain the safety and wellbeing of visitors, staff and volunteers.'

Where possible visitors will still be able to get takeaway food and drink and outdoor play areas will remain open in line with government guidance.

Our online shop will continue to offer customers gifts, garden and homeware, books and clothing.

Hilary continued: 'We know this month is going to be tough for everyone and we want to give members and visitors as much pleasure, rest and enjoyment as we can.'

Wales is already a week into its fire break lockdown but will be reopening on 9 November and we look forward to welcoming visitors back to our places in Wales.

In Northern Ireland we've closed all historic houses, and cafés are only offering a takeaway service. The Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre has also had to close. Grounds, shops and holiday cottages however remain open.

We were forced to make spending cuts and redundancies last month after the crippling financial effect of the coronavirus and have said we're likely to use the government’s furlough scheme again to avoid further redundancies.

Wednesday 21 October 2020

In line with Welsh Government legislation and the ‘fire break’ lockdown, all of our places in Wales will temporarily close from Saturday 24 October to Monday 9 November to restrict the spread of coronavirus. 

The safety of our staff, volunteers, visitors and local communities remains our priority. We urge people to follow government legislation, stay at home and not to travel at this time. We look forward to welcoming you back when we’re able to. 

Monday 14 September 2020

Staff, volunteers and visitors at our houses, shops and indoor areas in Wales are required to wear a face covering, in line with updated Welsh Government guidance.

Visitors in England and Northern Ireland are also required to wear a face covering following updated government guidelines on 10 August.

Those who do not have one may be refused entry, although this will be at the manager's discretion. Those under 11 or with health conditions are exempt from the government guidelines and there may be mitigating factors where visitors and shoppers do not have to wear one.

We'll not be able to provide face coverings at our places and, while some may be available to buy in our shops, we would urge all visitors to bring something with them.

Monday 10 August 2020

From Monday 10 August visitors to National Trust houses and indoor areas in England and Northern Ireland are required to wear a face covering, in line with updated government guidelines.

Those who do not have one may be refused entry, although this will be at the manager’s discretion. Those under 11 or with disabilities are exempt from the government guidelines and there may be mitigating factors where visitors and shoppers do not have to wear one. ​

We will not be able to provide face coverings at our places and, while some may be available to buy in our shops, we would urge all visitors to bring something with them. 

Friday 24 July 2020

From Friday 24 July all visitors at National Trust shops and indoor cafés offering counter service in England will be required to wear a face covering, in line with current government guidelines. Where possible, staff and volunteers will be on hand to politely request that visitors wear a face covering and those refusing to do so may be refused entry at the manager’s discretion. ​

It is not currently compulsory under the guidelines for staff to wear one, although they may do so at their own discretion. ​

Those under 11 or with disabilities are exempt from the government guidelines and there may be mitigating factors where visitors and shoppers do not have to wear one. ​

Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide face coverings to visitors. There may be a limited supply available to buy in our shops, but we would encourage everyone to bring one for their visit. ​

Visitors in Northern Ireland and Wales do not currently have to wear a face covering, although we will review this in line with government policy. ​

We will also continue to employ a range of safety measures including social distancing, hand sanitising stations, Perspex screens at tills and, where possible, one-way systems. ​
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From Monday 3 August more than 80 National Trust cafés will be taking part in the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. This entitles visitors to our cafés to 50 per cent off their bill, up to a maximum of £10 per head on food consumed in the café/food outlet. The scheme applies from Monday to Wednesdays only, until 31 August.

Monday 13 July 2020 ​

From Monday 13 July we’re opening seven of our houses for the first time since the lockdown as part of a phased approach to welcome back visitors. ​

The safety of visitors, staff and volunteers is central to the reopening, with one-way systems and measures to ensure social distancing is in place. Hand sanitising gel will be made available and doors left open, while comment cards and other interactive elements of displays have been removed. ​

We’ve carefully selected the seven sites across England and Northern Ireland to reflect the challenges of opening a range of different types of properties in the coming weeks and months. Five will open on Monday 13, another two later in the week. ​

The pilot will ensure that measures put in place enable people to explore and enjoy the properties safely. Advance bookings are necessary to maintain safety while reopening gradually. The same booking system will be used to allow access to the house and gardens on the same ticket. Visitors will need to book a ticket in advance that is valid for entry to the house and gardens but, due to limits on capacity, it may not be possible for everyone to access the house during their visit. ​

Although every effort is being made to enable access to places, some houses may not be able to open all of their rooms due to the measures being put in place. ​

The houses which will be reopening from Monday 13 July are: ​

Opening on Monday 13 July: ​

Lyme, Cheshire

Petworth House, West Sussex  

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk ​

Barrington Court, Somerset ​

Opening on Wednesday 15 July: ​

The Argory. County Armagh ​

Open on Friday 17 July: ​

Packwood House, Warwickshire ​

John Orna-Ornstein, National Trust Director of Culture and Engagement says, ‘It is just over 16 weeks since we closed all our houses back in March because of coronavirus and we know people have been really keen to get back inside and see their favourite properties and collections once more. The lockdown has taught us how important it is for people to engage with our cultural heritage and connecting with cultural activities. ​

‘Our houses are remarkable places, full of hidden corners and many packed with treasures – but that in itself can create the challenges for us to re-open and meet the guidance safely. It isn’t as simple as just taking the dust sheets off the furniture and opening the doors, our plans have involved working out how many people can be in a room safely,  how long they might spend there, while trying to ensure as much as possible they can still enjoy their time with us. ​

‘But it is right that we take a cautious approach, so we ask visitors to remain patient a little longer while we work through how best to make sure everyone who wants to visit is safe and enjoys themselves.” ​

We aim to reopen further properties in the coming weeks, building on the experience of those in the pilot. However, it is expected to be a slow and steady process which may take some time. ​

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Since starting to reopen our gardens and parklands on 3 June, we've also been working on plans to reopen our houses.

We're continuing to closely follow government guidance, and we're now considering the updated easing of restrictions in England announced on Tuesday 23 June, and how this affects the opening of our houses.

As with our gardens and parklands, any reopening of our houses will need to be phased and gradual, and visitors will need to book. We're also exploring a number of ways to maintain social distancing within our houses.

We will be piloting plans at a small number of properties first before extending opening further. Details about our houses reopening will be published as soon as possible.

The safety of our staff, volunteers, visitors and local communities remains our priority, and we are very grateful to our members and supporters for helping us work through these plans, and for their continued loyal support.

Friday 19 June 2020

This week we welcome the updated guidance from the Welsh government and Northern Ireland executive.

From Monday 22 June we'll begin to reopen all our coast and countryside car parks in Wales for local use only, in line with Welsh government guidance. We will need the support of everyone to enable us to keep places open safely and we urge people to stay local.

We're also preparing to reopen some of our gardens and parklands in Wales via a booking system. When we reopen gardens and parklands in Wales, it will be phased, gradual and controlled, as was the case when we started reopening our places in England and Northern Ireland.

We also welcome the news from the Northern Ireland executive to allow caravan parks, camping sites and self-catering accommodation to open from 26 June, and for restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and visitor attractions to open from 3 July.

We are now developing our plans to effectively manage social distancing and begin reopening more of our places. We will be publishing details on our website as soon as possible.

Most of our car parks in England and Northern Ireland are now open, and many of our gardens and parklands in both are also opened. Visits to gardens and parklands must be booked via our website.

The safety of our staff, visitors, volunteers and local communities remains our top priority. We know people have been missing open space, nature and fresh air and we want to thank our members and supporters for their patience and support.

Friday 29 May 2020 - updated 7pm

We knew that once we started a gradual opening of our gardens and parklands, tickets for our places would be very popular; particularly with such fine weather. With 5.8million members and about 70,000 tickets available in this first week, some of the initial 29 gardens and parklands have reached capacity very quickly, but more will be available next Friday for the following week and we'll also be reopening more of our places.

We've made careful decisions about which gardens and parklands can open, and we have limited their capacity to ensure everyone can adhere to social distancing to maintain the safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers, which remains our top priority.

On Thursday, a day before our booking system opened, we emailed the two million members for whom we had email addresses to make them aware the booking system was opening, and we're delighted that well over 90 per cent of our tickets have been booked by our members. Unfortunately, charity tax law does not allow us to give exclusive access to members. We're sorry if some have been unable to book in this first phase, but more slots will be available every Friday, and over the coming weeks more places will gradually start to reopen.

We are so thankful that our members and supporters have stood by us as we work through these unprecedented times, and we ask for their continued support as we make this gradual transition a success so we can get back to offering nature, beauty and history for everyone.

Friday 29 May 2020

From 3 June we'll begin a phased reopening of some of our gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland, with advance bookings needed to limit visitor numbers and maintain public safety.

This announcement comes after the UK government updated its advice on ticketed garden venues on 23 May, confirming that people in England can now visit gardens and land maintained for public use. And in Northern Ireland, the Executive permitted the reopening of outdoor spaces as part of step one in its Pathway to Recovery Plan.

Over the coming weeks more places will begin reopening. Visitors will be able to book their tickets in advance on property web pages from today (29 May). They'll be free for National Trust members, and other visitors will pay an admission fee.

All National Trust houses, shops, holiday cottages and campsites remain closed in line with government guidelines. All car parks and properties in Wales remain closed in line with Welsh Government guidance. 

We'll begin to reopen gardens and open spaces in England and Northern Ireland where social distancing can be observed, and will open to around a third of their normal capacity at any one time. Visitors arriving at reopening properties by car will be asked to show pre-booked tickets through their vehicle window before parking. Those arriving on foot will have bookings checked by a small team of staff who will adhere to social distancing.

Most of our countryside and coastal car parks are now open, but car parks with a risk of high demand may need to be closed, and some may need to be booked in advance. Visitors are asked to check property web pages before travelling to see what is open and what needs to be booked. All admission to gardens and parklands will be by pre-booked ticket only.

Our Director-General, Hilary McGrady said: 'We want to provide safe, local, welcoming spaces for people, and wherever possible we will open our gardens and parks, and coast and countryside car parks.

'The fresh air, birdsong, big skies and open spaces people have missed will be there, but things will be very different, particularly at first. We want to thank people for their patience and support while we gradually begin reopening and welcoming our visitors.'

The booking system will be available on individual property web pages.

We're also urging visitors to limit how many visits they book, to stay local if they can and to avoid busy hot-spots. Signs at properties and information ahead of visits will advise visitors how to stay safe during their visit and routes will be marked out.

Hilary McGrady said: 'I am so thankful that our members and supporters have stood by us as we work through these unprecedented times. We know they desperately want to return to our places, and we need their support to do our vital conservation work to look after the coastline, countryside, rivers and properties in our care.

'Like so many other organisations, the Trust has been badly affected by the coronavirus lockdown, not least our vital conservation work and our finances. Reopening is the first phase of our recovery, and we need our members and supporters to help us make this gradual transition a success so we can get back to offering nature, beauty and history for everyone.'

The latest information and updates on which places and facilities are opened can be found on individual property web pages, and all visitors are urged to check online before planning a visit. The ticket booking system is also available on our website from today (29 May).

Friday 15 May 2020

On Monday 18 May a booking system will open on our website for some of our larger car parks so you can once again get access to more open green spaces and nature. 

The opening of larger car parks in England will come days after we start opening some of our smaller car parks in line with government advice. We will be opening up some of our larger car parks in England from Thursday 21 May to visitors who’ve booked their spaces.

Property web pages will contain the details about which car parks are bookable. We're urging visitors to check online for the latest details and booking instructions before travelling. Members will be able to book a space for free, while non-members will need to pay in advance for their space.

 For now, while the First Minister in Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive reiterate the 'stay at home' message, all cark parks in Wales and Northern Ireland will unfortunately remain closed.

Sadly, for the time being our houses, gardens and parklands will need to remain closed, due to the latest government guidance restricting the public’s use of outdoor ticketed venues.

When we get the chance to reopen our houses, gardens and parklands it will be phased and gradual to ensure that we protect any local communities from being overwhelmed. In order to maintain social distancing when they reopen, we plan to introduce a booking system. 

Tuesday 12 May 2020

For several weeks we have been working on plans to reopen our places. We're really looking forward to welcoming visitors back.

We’re closely following government guidance at all times and are now considering the detailed plan published yesterday afternoon to further inform our own plans. The safety of our staff, volunteers, visitors and local communities remains our priority. 

From tomorrow (Wednesday 13 May) we will start opening some car parks in England, in line with government advice, so people can access fresh air, open space and nature. Car parks which are staffed and have facilities, will take longer.

However, all car parks in Wales and Northern Ireland will remain closed after the First Minister in Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive reiterated the 'stay at home' message.

All opening decisions will be guided by local judgement. It’s important that we avoid hotspots developing for the safety of visitors and local communities, and we may not open places where this is too great a risk.

For the moment our houses, gardens and parkland remain closed. Any reopening will need to be phased and gradual. In order to maintain social distancing when they reopen, we plan to introduce a booking system. The latest government guidance about outdoor ticketed venues means they remain closed for now. 

We are very grateful to our members and supporters for helping us work through these plans, and for their continued loyal support.  

Thursday 7 May 2020

For several weeks, while our places remain closed, we have been working on plans to gradually reopen them.

The safety of our staff, volunteers and public is our priority. We are following government guidance and will respond to any changes in this as quickly as we can.

Any reopening will need to be gradual and phased and visitors’ experience is likely to be different from usual, including the need to manage volume at our houses, gardens and parklands.

Countryside and coastal car park opening will also be phased.

We will need the support of everyone to enable us to keep places open safely. We will be updating the website with details of how and when things might change. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Monday 23 March 2020

National Trust car parks will be closed by the end of Tuesday 24 March in a further attempt to help restrict the spread of coronavirus and to encourage the public to stay local and observe social distancing. 

The move comes as the Trust ramps up its efforts to help the nation fight the spread of the virus, which has already seen it temporarily close its houses, shops, cafes, parks and gardens.  

Director General Hilary McGrady said:

'Following the scenes we saw at the weekend, where visitors travelled to coast and countryside, it is really important that we do all we can to discourage travel, and ask people instead to stay local and observe social distancing as guided by the government. It is so important that people stay at home. We must all work together and not see a repeat of those weekend scenes.

'There is so much the public can do at home, and over the coming weeks our website, social media feeds, podcasts and video will become even more important, ensuring the places of nature, beauty and history that we care for on behalf of the nation can remain open for business virtually while we are temporarily closed.

'We will also be ramping up our efforts to help people connect with nature wherever they are and to find moments of joy in the world around them. We will be providing rich content and staying in touch with our members and followers throughout this time.'

Sunday 22 March 2020

We've sadly taken the decision to close all our gated parks and gardens, in addition to our houses, shops and cafés, to help restrict the spread of coronavirus.

Many of our car parks for countryside and coastal locations will also have to close due to high demand. We urge people to stay local and observe social distancing. Please do not travel.

The move follows the closure of pubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms and leisure centres announced by the government, and tightening travel restrictions and public health advice.

National Trust Director-General Hilary McGrady said:

'We know that people are likely to need space and fresh air in the coming weeks and months and we will do all we can to provide access wherever possible.

'Our countryside and coastal locations remain open with parking charges waived, but we encourage people to stay local and observe social distancing measures.

'Over the coming weeks our digital platforms - our website, social media feeds, podcasts and video - will become even more important, ensuring the places of nature, beauty and history that we care for on behalf of the nation can remain open for business virtually while we are temporarily closed.

'We will also be ramping up our efforts to help people connect with nature wherever they are and to find moments of joy in the world around them. We will be providing rich content and staying in touch with our members and followers throughout this time.'

The latest government information on coronavirus can be found on the Department for Health and Social Care’s website. Follow the link below:

Department for Health and Social Care

Reopening and coronavirus FAQs 

Find answers to some of the coronavirus-related questions we’re hearing the most in light of the current situation at our places.

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

How to book your visit and what to expect 

Many of your local gardens, parks, coast and countryside places are open in England, and all places in Wales are open for visitors who live in Wales. To avoid disappointment please book in advance, especially at weekends and school holidays.

In line with Northern Ireland Executive legislation, houses, gardens and parks in Northern Ireland will close from 27 November to 11 December. Please always check the property webpage of the place you wish to visit before you travel.