11 changes you need to know at National Trust sites before they reopen

PUBLISHED: 14:41 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:41 29 May 2020

Visitors walk in front of the Rotunda at Ickworth, Suffolk. Picture: National Trust

Visitors walk in front of the Rotunda at Ickworth, Suffolk. Picture: National Trust

©NTPL/Arnhel de Serra

Some National Trust sites in the region are getting ready to reopen June 3, but new rules have been brought into place to keep visitors safe.

The National Trust's Blickling Hall.  Picture: MARK BULLIMOREThe National Trust's Blickling Hall. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

The charity is beginning a phased reopening from Wednesday, June 3 with visitors needing to book in advance.

The announcement comes after the UK government updated its advice on ticketed garden venues on May 23, confirming that people in England can now visit gardens and land maintained for public use.

Sites reopening in the East of England include Anglesey Abbey gardens and Lode Mill in Cambridgeshire, and Ickworth and Sutton Hoo, both in Suffolk.

Blickling Hall and Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk are both closed, including their gardens, but the car parks are available to people who pre-book, enabling use of the wider grounds.

Visitors can expect to see a number of changes when visiting one of the reopened sites, from booking tickets to food and drink.

Heathland at Dunwich Heath Credit: National Trust/Justin MinnsHeathland at Dunwich Heath Credit: National Trust/Justin Minns

1. Advanced bookings

People hoping to visit will have to book tickets in advance online instead of walking straight in.

Each individual property will have its own online booking portal and people unable to book online can call 0344 249 1895.

Built in 1910, the house at Sutton Hoo has been restored by the National Trust.
Photo: Bill Smith
Copy: David MacaulayBuilt in 1910, the house at Sutton Hoo has been restored by the National Trust. Photo: Bill Smith Copy: David Macaulay

2. Not everything will be open

All locations in Wales remain closed following Welsh government advice and houses remain closed in the UK.

All the trust’s shops, holiday cottages and campsites will also remain closed in line with government guidelines.

Most of the cafés remain closed for now.

3. Car window

Tickets and membership cards will be checked through your car window to help maintain social distancing.

Visitors should show their tickets on their phone, and at some places they may be asked to share their name and booking number.

Those arriving on foot will be checked by a small team of staff who will also adhere to social distancing.

4. Car parks

Visitors will need to book a car parking ticket in advance even if you are a trust member (it will still be free for members).

5. Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer will be provided at each site.

6. Children’s play areas

Natural play trails which encourage people to explore and allow for social distancing will be open, however formal playgrounds and play areas will remain closed.

7. Picnics

These are allowed as long as government guidelines on social distancing is followed.

Benches and picnic tables will be available where they are dispersed.

There will be a limited range of take-away refreshments available at some sites.

8. Visitor cap

The trust is initially capping its visitor numbers at 30pc of it’s usual capacity.

This will be reviewed on a place by place basis going forward.

9. Time slots

Half-hour arrival time slots will be available to book online with the last slot one hour before usual closing.

Properties can choose their own opening hours, which will be advertised on their web page.

One week of booking will be opened at a time and booking closes at 3pm the day before the visit.

10. Time limit

You may also want to watch:

Some busier properties and those with limited space may introduce a two-hour stay limit.

This information will be on the booking system before you book a ticket as well as on your ticket itself.

11. Walking routes

You may be asked to follow arrows, a one-way system, or slow your pace.

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