National Trust introduces mandatory online booking as gradual reopening begins

Image: A 140 year old laburnum arch at Bodnant Garden © National Trust/Twitter

To make it “as easy as possible” for the public to return to its gardens and parklands, the National Trust will require visitors to book in advance when certain sites begin to reopen in June.

Having now reopened more than 200 coastal and countryside car parks, the gradual return to some version of normality will begin for the National Trust from 3rd June. This, due to government guidance, is only the case in England and Northern Ireland, and will not apply to sites in Wales.

“Sadly, we can’t open everywhere at once, but we’re working hard to open more places as soon as possible,” a statement from the organisation explains.

Advanced booking has been introduced, the Trust says, to “help manage visitor numbers and maintain safe, social distancing”. This applies to members and non-members alike, and anyone attempting to visit a site that requires pre-booking without having done so will be turned away.

Demonstrating the huge public appetite to reacquaint themselves with natural beauty spots, ten locations have already reached full booking capacity.

Fully booked

Since the introduction of the new National Trust booking system, the following sites have already reached full capacity:

Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
Mottisfont, Hampshire
Polesden Lacey, Surrey
Stowe, Buckinghamshire
Beningbrough Hall, North Yorkshire
Gibside, Tyne & Wear
Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire
Rowallane Garden, County Down

Anyone wishing to visit a National Trust site which now requires prior booking must purchase a ticket online (except for children aged 5 or under) and select a 30-minute arrival time slot on a specified day. This can be done up to 18 hours before a visit.

The Trust is appealing for people to book only one slot per week, in order to allow others a chance to visit its sites. New locations will be added to list of those open for booking every Friday, but all houses owned by the Trust will remain closed for the time being.