Visitors at Corfe Castle, Dorset

Visiting National Trust and RHS gardens: everything you need to know

Here's a breakdown of the key information you need to know if you plan on visiting any RHS and National Trust gardens from early June

The National Trust and RHS have today announced that some of their gardens and parklands will be reopening to the public from 3 and 1 June respectively. But what do you need to know if you’re planning on heading for your first garden visit since lockdown began? Here’s the information broken down.

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Exbury Gardens
© Cathryn Baldock

When?

The National Trust will begin a phased reopening of parklands and gardens from 3 June. The RHS will open gardens from 1 June.

Can I just turn up?

No. Each of the organisations are running a ticketing scheme, so you will only be able to access the gardens if you have pre-booked a ticket. RHS members must book tickets, but members tickets will be free. National Trust members can turn up with their card.

When can I book?

From today, 29 May.

How do I book a ticket?

Go to the National Trust website and the RHS website.

Are they limiting the number of visitors?

Both organisations are controlling the number of people visiting, with the National Trust saying they will be working at one third capacity.

Which National Trust gardens are opening?

A small number of gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland. Welsh properties remain closed in accordance with government guidance. More will open in the coming weeks. Head to the NT website for specifics on what is open. They are hoping that 29 of the properties will open, but they will reduce that number if local managers believe social distancing is not possible.

And National Trust car parks?

Certain car parks are reopening but also need to be booked. Head here to check which ones.

Are National Trust houses open?

No, these remain closed for the time being.

Which RHS gardens are opening?

The RHS is opening all its gardens.

What else should I do ahead of visiting?

Head to the National Trust and RHS websites for all the up-to-date information before you leave.

How long can we stay?

For National Trust properties, the length of time you can stay depends on the place you visit. The booking form will specify how long that is. The National Trust is asking that you only book one visit per week, to give other people a chance to visit. At the time of writing, the RHS hadn’t specified a length of time for staying.

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What else is the RHS doing?

The RHS is placing restrictions on the number of customers allowed to shop at any one time, and a maximum of two people per household allowed into the Garden Centre together. It will ensure separate entry and exit points to the Gardens and Garden Centres where possible. There will be floor markings to indicate appropriate distances while queueing in the Garden Centres and the Garden entrances. Screens will be at the welcome desks and checkouts to protect staff. Hand sanitiser will be available to staff and visitors at strategic points. Card transactions only – no cash payments