Here's when National Trust parks, properties and car parks will reopen as UK lockdown rules ease

Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 3:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 3:47 pm

With lockdown restrictions lifting slowly but steadily in the UK, the rules on exercise and getting outside have changed.

The ban on leaving home more than once a day has been scrapped from 13 May, and "people may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish,” according to the official Government guidelines.

People are now allowed outdoors for unlimited amounts of time - as long as they continue to abide by social distancing restrictions - and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab even told BBC Breakfast: "You can drive as far as you want to drive to go and walk in a park or a particular area that you're fond of."

National Trust properties serve as great places to get outdoors for some fresh air, but in light of the most recent government guidance, will they be open?

Here's everything you need to know:

When will National Trust locations be reopened?

In a statement, the National Trust said they have been working on plans to open their locations "for several weeks".

The Trust are "closely following government guidance at all times", and the safety of staff, volunteers, visitors and local communities remains the priority.

From 13 May "some" National Trust car parks in England will be opened, "so people can access fresh air, open space and nature."

"Car parks which are staffed and have facilities, will take longer," note the Trust.

What about National Trust houses and gardens?

"Our pay-for-entry places including houses and gardens, remain closed," say the Trust.

When they do eventually reopen, it will need to be a "phased and gradual" process, and in order to maintain social distancing, the National Trust plan to introduce a pre-booking system.

"The latest government guidance about outdoor ticketed venues means they remain closed for now."

Are National Trust properties closed in other areas of the UK?

England has been the most lenient of the four devolved nations when it comes to lifting lockdown restrictions, and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have essentially kept their guidance as is, reinforcing their 'Stay at Home' messages.

That means that all National Trust properties - including car parks - in Wales and Northern Ireland will remain closed.

In Scotland, all properties run and maintained by the separate and independent National Trust for Scotland remain closed.

What's happening to memberships?

"We don't have plans to freeze all memberships," say the National Trust, "however we're very aware that in the current climate, some of you will be worried about your finances."

"There are ways that we can help, and you can find out more information on this here."

The statement from the National Trust in full:

"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 pay-for-entry places including houses and gardens, 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 pre-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. "