Which National Trust sites are re-opening in East Anglia?
- Credit: Archant
The National Trust, English Heritage and Historic Houses have all announced plans to carefully re-open their sites over the coming weeks as lockdown continues to be relaxed. Here’s a guide to what’s reopening in June.
All the National Trust’s houses, shops, holiday cottages and campsites remain closed in line with government guidelines but most of the Trust’s countryside and coastal car parks are now open, but car parks with a risk of high demand may need to be closed, and some may need to be booked in advance. Visitors are asked to check property web pages before travelling to see what is open and what needs to be booked.
Suffolk landmarks like Ickworth House and Sutton Hoo have been re-opened their estates and are being managed with an online booking system to control visitor numbers. All visitors have to book in advance and will be given time slots. Social distancing measures will also be in place at all sites and access to the indoor attractions is not permitted.
Only members and visitors who have booked tickets beforehand will gain entry, and opening decisions will be made with safety and local conditions in mind.
The first venues to open in East Anglia are: Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire (Fully booked), Ickworth, Suffolk (Fully booked), Sutton Hoo, Suffolk (Fully booked) and Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire (Fully booked). Car parks at Blickling Estate, Norfolk; Dunwich Heath and Beach, Suffolk; Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate, Norfolk and Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire will also need to be booked in advance.
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Over the coming weeks more places will begin reopening. People will be able to book their tickets in advance on the property’s dedicated web pages. They will be free for Trust members, and other visitors will pay an admission fee.
Visitors arriving at reopening properties by car will be asked to show pre-booked tickets through their vehicle window before parking. Those arriving on foot will have bookings checked by a small team of staff who will adhere to social distancing.
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Director General Hilary McGrady said: “We want to provide safe, local, welcoming spaces for people, and wherever possible we will open our gardens and parks, and coast and countryside car parks.
“The fresh air, bird song, big skies and open spaces people have missed will be there, but things will be very different, particularly at first. We want to thank people for their patience and support while we gradually begin reopening and welcoming our visitors.”
The charity is also urging visitors to limit how many visits they book, to stay local if they can and to avoid busy hot-spots.
Signs at properties and information ahead of visits will advise visitors how to stay safe during their visit and routes will be marked out.
The booking system will be available on the individual property’s web pages.
English Heritage have announced that it is planning to reopen some of its outdoor spaces and historic sites during June. Kate Mavor, chief executive, said: “On June 13 we will reopen the first phase of our sites, with a significant number of further sites reopening in early July. We hope to have all sites open again by August.
“Importantly, visitor numbers will be limited to help keep everyone safe and stick to social distancing measures. So, whether you are a member or not, you will need to book in advance and arrive during a time slot. You won’t be able to get in without having pre-booked, so please do so before you visit.
“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.”
English Heritage owns Framlingham and Orford Castles, Landguard Fort in Felixstowe, Leiston Abbey, Bury St Edmunds Abbey, St Olaves Priory, Burgh Castle and Thetford Priory.
Historic Houses are also beginning a phased reopening starting with Hindringham Hall, Norfolk and the car park of Holkham Hall, on the north Norfolk coast. More properties may be added to the list as the summer goes on.