Seven National Trust Houses Reopen For Summer

National Trust Lyme House behind a large lake
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A number of National Trust properties are finally reopening their doors to families.

As of Monday 13th July, seven iconic houses across the UK are again open for business as part of a National Trust test pilot. The plan to reopen just a few select properties allows for the Trust to pay close attention to the unique set of challenges each house poses when it comes to social distancing and public safety - something we can all appreciate.

After many months of being forced to stay close to home, it is exciting news. These wonderful sites, rich in historic interest and natural beauty, provide a wonderful opportunity for a fun and informative day out with the family. Read on to discover how and when you can enjoy them in safety.

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What To Know Before You Go

  • It is now mandatory to book your place in advance, even if you’re a National Trust member. Don’t forget, as you won’t be permitted entry if you turn up without having done so. Tickets for the following week are released on Fridays. They tend to get booked up pretty fast, so be sure to snap them up quickly!
  • Limitations are in place to restrict the number of people on-site, so you and your family can visit safe in the knowledge that it will be easy to uphold social distancing.
  • You will need to book one ticket per person over five-years-old; younger children do not need a ticket.
  • You will select a time slot of thirty minutes on your preferred day in which to arrive at the park; you can then stay until the park closes if you wish. You can book up to 18 hours before your chosen time slot. Make sure to arrive at your allotted time; if you’re more than ten minutes late you may not be permitted entry.
  • Tickets permit your entry to the parks and/or gardens but sadly do not guarantee entry to the house. Indoor tours will be limited to ensure safety of visitors and staff. If you are lucky enough to view the house then there will be a number of safety measures in place, the most obvious being the introduction of one-way routes and signs reminding people to keep their distance. Children should, of course, be heavily supervised to ensure distancing.
  • Remember to bring hand sanitiser, masks and your contactless card - most of the shops and cafes will be cashless.

Which Houses Are Opening?

The following houses and grounds are now open: ​

Barrington Court, Somerset

barrington court house in a green field
Image: nationaltrust.org

A lovely Tudor manor house with extensive gardens and parkland great for playing with the kids. Explore the beautiful walled Rose and Iris Garden or look for wildlife in the moat; there’s tons to see at this gorgeous spot.

  • Barrington Court is located at Barrington, near Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0NQ.
  • The garden, parkland and car park are open 10:00-17:00.
  • The shop, restaurant, tea-room, farm buildings, mansion houses and book barn are sadly still closed, though there will be a kiosk (open 11:00-15:00) selling limited drinks and snacks. Remember to bring your card, as the shop is cashless. Though the house is provisionally open as part of the pilot scheme, entry is not guaranteed.
  • Tickets are released each Friday and cost £10 for adults and £5 for children (under 5s are free). Family tickets are £25 for two adults and three children and £15 for one adult and three children. Members will not need to pay when booking.
  • Toilets with baby changing facilities will be open and regularly cleaned.
  • There is step-free access to the formal gardens if you’re bringing the buggy, and in general, the pathways around the estate are of tarmac, brick and some grass.
  • Dogs can be walked on the lead around the estate but are not permitted in the formal gardens (except guide dogs).
  • You are welcome to bring picnics and picnic rugs, though other picnic furniture is not allowed.

Lyme House, Cheshire

A magnificent stately home located at the edge of The Peak District, Lyme is a beautiful insight into Regency-era living. With everything from refined rose gardens to an extensive deer park to explore on this vast 1,400-acre estate, there's no shortage of things to do.

  • Lyme House is located at Disley, Stockport, Cheshire, SK12 2NR.
  • The park and car park are open 9:30-16:30. The garden is open 10:30-16:30. A kiosk (located in the car park) serving light drinks and snacks will be open 10:00-16:00. The shop will be open 11:00-16:00. Last entry to the Garden is at 3:45pm and the main car park gates will be locked at 4:45pm.
  • Unfortunately, the tea-room, Timber Yard Cafe and shop remain closed.
  • The house is open for people who have booked but entry is not guaranteed - keep a lookout for information on arrival.
  • Tickets cost £8 for adults and £4 for children (under 5s go free). Family tickets are £20 for two adults and three children and £12 for one adult and three children. Members will not need to pay when booking.
  • Toilets are open in the Timber Yard and will be closed periodically for cleaning.
  • Phone signal is limited on-site and there is no WiFi.

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Kingston Lacy house sitting in field of flowers
Image: nationaltrust.org

An opulent Venetian-style home nestled in the scenic Dorset landscape - there’s something at Kingston Lacy for all ages. The ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ activities list will have kids finding fun all over the park, whilst adults enjoy the lush vegetation and gorgeous surroundings.

  • Kingston Lacy is located at Wimborne Minster, Dorset, BH21 4EA.
  • The park, garden and car park are open 9:00-18:00.
  • The Stables Cafe is open for takeaway between 10:00 and 17:00 and will be serving drinks, sandwiches, snacks and ice cream. Seating areas are closed and the cafe will be card only. The shop will also be open Friday-Tuesday from 10:00-17:00.
  • Unfortunately, the Woodland Play Area, Fernary and Kitchen Garden (including the play area) are still closed, but the rest of the grounds are certainly reason enough for a visit.
  • The State and Ground Floors of the house will be open from 11am-4pm on weekdays, displaying a number of distinguished artworks and plush interiors. A one-way system has been introduced throughout the house and hand-cleaning stations will be provided at entry and exit points. Though the house is provisionally open as part of the pilot scheme, entry is not guaranteed (you will need to look out for information on arrival).
  • Tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 for children (under 5s go free). Family tickets are £25 for two adults and three children and £15 for one adult and three children. Members will not need to pay when booking.
  • Most of the pathway through the new garden is buggy-friendly, but there is one grassy stretch that may become muddy after rainfall.
  • Dogs can be walked on the lead around the estate and woodlands but are not allowed in the formal gardens (except guide dogs).
  • Picnics are welcome - picnic benches are located on Copper Beech field outside the rose garden.  

Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

A stately manor house enclosed within a moat, Oxburgh Hall has a fascinating history. Still home to the Bedingfeld family that built the house in 1482, it has survived war, religious persecution and impending demolition. The house now stands proudly within stunning grounds as a fine example of opulent architecture and historical intrigue. Great for educating older kids.

  • Oxburgh Hall is located at Oxborough, near Swaffham, Norfolk, PE33 9PS.
  • The garden is open 9:30-17:00 and the Pantry Cafe is open 9:30-16:00 for takeaway drinks and light snacks. Sadly, the tea-room, shop and bookshop remain closed. The house is open but opening times will vary and entry is not guaranteed (you will need to look out for information on arrival).
  • Tickets cost £8 for adults and £4 for children (under 5s go free). Family tickets are £20 for two adults and three children and £12 for one adult and three children. Members will not need to pay when booking.
  • Parking is free.
  • Bear in mind that some areas of the parkland have narrow paths and unsuitable surfaces that may make pushing a buggy difficult.
  • Toilets are open in the garden.
  • Dogs are allowed on a short lead in both the gardens and parkland.

Petworth House, West Sussex

open green space with a big lake and Petworth House in the background
Image: nationaltrust.org

Home to the National Trust's finest art collection, this Baroque-inspired palace is a real treat. Residing within the South Downs National Park, Petworth House also offers extensive grounds and breathtaking views to make the most of.

  • Petworth House and Park are located at Petworth, West Sussex, GU28 9LR.
  • The house is open 10:30-16:30. You may be able to visit the house but entry is not guaranteed, you will need to look out for information on arrival. The Deer Park and connected north car park are open 8:00-20:00. The Pleasure Ground and main car park are open 10:00-17:00. The kiosk is open 10:00-16:30. Unfortunately, the shop and cafe remain closed for now.
  • Tickets are released each Friday and cost £10 for adults and £5 for children (under 5s go free). Family tickets are £25 for two adults and three children and £15 for one adult and three children. Members will not need to pay when booking.
  • Toilets are open for pre-booked visitors only and there are no toilets in the north car park.
  • Dogs are allowed on a short lead in the Pleasure Ground and heavily supervised in the Deer Park.

The Argory, County Armagh

A feat of neo-classical architecture, The Argory is a lovely gentry house nestled within a beautiful estate. The wooded grounds make for a wonderful walk with the family.

  • The Argory is located at 144 Derrycaw Road, Moy, Dungannon, County Armagh, BT71 6NA.
  • The house and grounds will be open Wednesday - Sunday 11:00-17:00. The cafe will be open for takeaway drinks and light snacks from 11:00-16:00. Unfortunately, the shop remains closed.
  • Tickets for the grounds and garden cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for children (under 5s go free). Family tickets are £12.50 for two adults and three children and £7.50 for one adult and three children. Members will not need to pay when booking. You may be able to visit the house but entry is not guaranteed - look out for information on arrival.
  • Arrive within your chosen time slot; if you’re more than ten minutes late you may not be permitted entry. You can then stay until the park closes if you wish.

Packwood House, Warwickshire

A beautifully-restored Tudor home, Packwood House is an evocative mix of different eras with an extensive collection of 16th-century furnishings. Take the family on an excursion around the beautiful gardens, or stroll around the wooded grounds.

  • Packwood House is located at Packwood Lane, Lapworth, Warwickshire, B94 6AT.
  • The park is open 9:00-17:00, the grounds are open 10:00-17:00 and the kiosk is open 9:00-16:30. Seating areas will be closed and it will be card payments only.
  • The House will be open Friday - Tuesday with varying opening times. Though the house is provisionally open as part of the pilot scheme, entry is not guaranteed (you will need to look out for information on arrival).
  • Unfortunately, the shop, cafe, kitchen and Yew Garden are closed for the time being.
  • Tickets are released each Friday and cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for children (under 5s go free). Family tickets are £12.50 for two adults and three children and £7.50 for one adult and three children. Members will not need to pay when booking.
  • Dogs are welcome on public footpaths around the estate but not in the gardens.
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Disclaimer

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