Reopening: English Heritage, National Trust and Historic Houses

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a massive effect on access to UK heritage properties, but they are now reopening.

Beninbrough Hall - National Trust
Beninbrough Hall – National Trust

All staffed sites were closed in March; that included houses, cafés, shops and toilets.

A few free-to-enter coastal and countryside sites remained open, although parking was very  limited. But now other sites are reopening.

Here are reopening statements as of Aug 14th from English Heritage, National Trust, Historic Houses, National Trust for Scotland,  Historic Environment Scotland and CADW (Wales).

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

English Heritage

To help keep everyone safe, we’re introducing bookable arrival time slots and limiting visitor numbers by about a third. Because of this, you’ll need to book your visit in advance and show your booking confirmation when you arrive – either as a printout or on a mobile device. We’re expecting high demand for tickets, so we’d be grateful if you could only book if you’re sure you can make the date and time of your visit.

Around two hundred free-to-enter sites are already open, including places like Iron Bridge, Caister Roman Fort, and many parts of Hadrian’s Wall. There’s no need to book your visits to free-to-enter sites.”

Click here for more information.

National Trust

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

More than 135 gardens and parks are now open through advance booking, as well as hundreds of coast and countryside places. We’ve opened many of our cafés and shops to help you enjoy your visit. Nine houses are also open as part of a test pilot.​

To ensure everyone’s safety, please continue to book your visit in advance. Every Friday we release new tickets for the following week, around 700,000 tickets are available weekly.​

More than 80 of our cafés and food outlets are taking part in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. ​

Follow the links below to find out what’s open, how to book, and what to expect from your visit. Please always check before you travel.”

Click here for more information.

Historic Houses

Historic Houses Logo SmallThe coronavirus outbreak is affecting people and businesses everywhere, including our member houses. While the situation unfolds, we’re trying to keep on top of developments among our houses and keep you aware of any changes to their opening arrangements.

With our member places facing one of the worst crises in living memory, our work supporting independent heritage has never been more essential. We are grateful for the support of all our members. We understand that many will be disappointed by the reduction in free-entry benefits but we’re working hard to ensure that we can still offer a great value membership when brighter times return.”

Click here for more information.

National Trust for Scotland

“We’re delighted to start welcoming visitors again at dozens of Trust places across the country, as lockdown continues to ease.

From 1 August, we’re opening up some of our historic buildings and visitor centres, including Glencoe visitor centre and Culloden visitor centre. A little later in the month will see the reopening of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayrshire and the Hill House in Argyll.

We have already reopened around 30 estates and gardens, including Culzean Country Park in Ayrshire, Threave Garden in Dumfries & Galloway, Brodie Castle’s garden and grounds, Arduaine Garden in Argyll and Crathes Castle’s garden and estate in Aberdeenshire.

Our countryside places such as St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve, Ben Lomond and Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve are also open.

We are really looking forward to welcoming our visitors back and we hope that this helps us all emerge back into the light, after being confined for so long.

We advise people to avoid visiting at traditional peak times, as much as possible, and to double-check opening times online, in advance of travel. Please also check individual property pages to find out if toilet facilities are available.”

Click here for more information.

Historic Environment Scotland

“We’re thrilled to be welcoming visitors back to Scotland’s historic sites in phase three of the Scottish Government’s route map out of current lockdown.

Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle will be open from Saturday 1 August with safety precautions in place. Some interior spaces will not be accessible at this time and booking in advance is essential.

Visitors can also travel to over 200 free sites where physical distancing can be readily maintained.

The grounds and green spaces at three of our paid for sites, which would normally be staffed, will also be open for free: Doune Castle, Caerlaverock Castle and Dundonald Castle.

Be sure to check a site has reopened before you travel.”

Click here for more information.

CADW (Wales)

“With guidance from Welsh Government, we began to reopen our unstaffed, outdoor monuments at the beginning of July.

Since then, we have been working hard to reopen our collection of staffed sites and we’re pleased to confirm that this will begin, in a phased approach, from August onwards.

To do so safely, we’ve introduced a number of essential social distancing and hygiene measures including the creation of a compulsory online booking system, which will go live when our staffed sites begin to reopen. For a list of which sites are planning to reopen please visit our staffed site reopenings page.”

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.