Coronavirus Updates: English Heritage, NT and Historic Houses

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a massive effect on access to UK heritage properties.

Coronavirus: Lyme Park House from across the garden lake
National Trust: Lyme House

All staffed sites have been closed for several weeks now. That includes houses, cafés, shops and toilets.

Some free-to-enter and coastal/countryside sites have remained open, although parking has been limited and organisations have advised against travelling far.

Other sites are now graduallyopening up.

Here are the Coronavirus statements as of June 1st, 2020, from English Heritage, National Trust, Historic Houses, National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.

If you decide that now is the time to join one of these organisations, then check out our special offers on annual membership. They will all be very keen to get new members or renew previous members to help with their much  depleted funding.

English Heritage

“We’ll be sharing more information on how you can book your visit as soon as we can, and will be announcing which sites are reopening in advance of this.

The first sites to reopen will be announced around 8 June, and we’ll let Members know by email ahead of this.

Right now, staff and volunteers across the country are working hard to adapt our sites for reopening, and around 200 of our free-to-enter sites are already open, including places like Iron Bridge, Caister Roman Fort, and many parts of Hadrian’s Wall.

Although things might be a little different when you visit, you’ll still be able to enjoy exploring the places where history really happened. And you’ll still be given a warm and safe welcome by our friendly – if socially distant – staff and volunteers.

Click here for more information.

National Trust

“We’re reopening the places you love, gradually, safely and in line with government advice.

We’re starting to open some gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland through advance bookings. ​We’re opening these places at a reduced capacity to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff, and places have sold out very quickly. New tickets are released every Friday and we’ll continue to add new places over the coming weeks.

More than 200 coast and countryside car parks are now open. For now, houses remain closed and all places in Wales remain closed following Welsh Government advice.​

Click here for more information.

Historic Houses

Historic Houses Logo Small“With recent changes in government advice, individual Historic Houses parks and gardens in England are beginning to find ways to safely open to the public.

Remember, we are a cooperative association – that means we represent and support our member places but we don’t own or operate them. We don’t, and can’t, make decisions for them.

Any access must be carefully managed to avoid spreading the disease, and significant preparation must be done to ensure places can open in accordance with government and industry guidelines.

That means that, however much they want to, not all our parks and gardens will be able to open right away. Please bear with owners and managers as they each overcome their own unique challeges and ensure that they’ve done the right thing by the public and their own staff and volunteers.

Finally, if you pay a visit to a member place, please make sure your own actions are socially responsible and in accordance with the latest official guidance.

If you want to visit a particular park or garden please check their own website to find the latest information on their opening status and arrangements.

Click here for more information.

National Trust for Scotland

“In light of the recent Scottish Government announcements, we are reviewing the phased reopening of our countryside places but there is no change yet – at the moment, all our places remain closed.”

Click here for more information.

Historic Environment Scotland

“We are working on plans to gradually reopen the historic places we care for. Our priority remains the safety of our staff, visitors and partners. Any reopening will be phased and there will be some changes to the visitor experience for the safety of you and our staff, including pre-booked ticketing at more sites and different opening hours. Unstaffed sites and green spaces that have remained partially accessible can be visited locally, ensuring that you follow physical distancing guidelines.”

Click here for more information.

CADW (Wales)

“In line with Government guidance on social distancing and to support efforts to control the spread of coronavirus, Cadw has closed all of its staffed and unstaffed monuments and carparks until further notice. We apologise to visitors and members for this inconvenience and look forward to welcoming you back to our outstanding monuments as soon as we are able.”

Click here for more information.

We will update this article as we receive more information from heritage organisations about their respones to the coronavirus pandemic.


POSTED 29th MAY 2020 by STEVE HANSON.