From 3rd June the National Trust will begin a phased reopening of some of their 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 23rd 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.

Visitors will be able to book their tickets in advance on property web pages from today (29th 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.

The Trust will 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 NT 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.

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.