Some of the country's top gardens are to be slowly opened to the public from early June following an update in government advice over lockdown measures.


The RHS and the National Trust have both announced that they will begin to re-open their gardens and parks using a staggered pre-booking system. Booking opens from today, 29 May for both the National Trust and the RHS.

Irises at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent
©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Safety measures will be in place for both organisations in each of the areas they begin to open. RHS gardens will open from 1 June, while the National Trust will begin to open gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland from 3 June.

Limited numbers of tickets will be available for RHS gardens, which will open from 10am to 4pm daily, although areas that are difficult to uphold social distancing - such as glasshouses - will remain closed. RHS members will still be able to visit gardens for free, but must book a ticket in advance.

Safety measures at RHS gardens include

  • 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
  • Separate entry and exit points to the Gardens and Garden Centres where possible
  • Floor markings to indicate appropriate distances while queueing in the Garden Centres and the Garden entrances
  • Screens at the welcome desks and checkouts to protect staff
  • Hand sanitiser available to staff and visitors at strategic points
  • Card transactions only – no cash payments

For each organisation, only people who have booked tickets in advance will be able to gain entry.

The National Trust will not be opening all its gardens and parklands, only ones in which social distancing can be properly enforced. The gardens and parklands will be open to around a third of their normal capacity at any one time

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National Trust car parks and properties will remain closed in Wales, in accordance with government guidelines. Visitors arriving at reopening National Trust 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. Members will need to book tickets, but they will still be free of charge.

All the Trust’s houses, shops, holiday cottages and campsites remain closed in line with government guidelines.

The changes come following updates to government guidance of ticketed green spaces.


To book tickets head to the RHS website and the National Trust website.


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London