Side view of the cottage and garden at Alfriston Clergy House, East Sussex

National Trust closes its cafes and houses, but keeps gardens open for free

In a statement, the organisation has said it will keep as many of its parks and gardens open for free

UPDATE 21 March 2020: the National Trust has announced it will be closing all its gardens until further notice. 

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On 21 March 2020 the National Trust announced that it would be closing all its parks and gardens, in addition to its homes, shops and cafes, to help restrict the spread of Coronavirus.

The countryside and coastal locations remain open, with parking charges waived. But the Trust is encouraging people to stay local and observe social distancing measures.

Read the National Trust’s FAQs on the coronavirus. 

A larva of cydalima perspectalis (or box tree moth)
© FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI/AFP/Getty Images

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17 March 2020:

The National Trust has responded to new Government guidelines surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a statement, the Trust said that its pay for sites, including cafes, houses and shops, would be closing, but that the organisation would endeavour to keep gardens and parklands open to people for free.

Director General Hilary McGrady announced that the pay-for-entry sites would close by this Friday (March 20).

The aim is to keep as many of the Trust’s gardens and parklands open free of charge, as well as coast and countryside, in order to encourage the nation to enjoy open space, while adhering to the government’s social distancing guidance.

McGrady said: “The National Trust was founded 125 years ago for the benefit of the entire nation. We want to honour our mission – to enable people and nature to thrive. Over the coming weeks we will do all that we can to keep on providing public benefit through caring for places and giving people access wherever possible.

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“While we will close our indoor areas to help fight the spread of coronavirus, we recognise that people are likely to need access to open space and to nature, beauty and history.”