National Trust set to reopen its houses, including Claydon
Stately homes will gradually reopen, following the easing of Covid restrictions
National Trust houses and other properties in England will start to reopen their doors to visitors from May 17 following the government’s easing of Covid restrictions.
Staff and volunteers have been working hard behind the scenes to get properties ready to reopen safely with social distancing in place.
Some small properties or rooms which can’t accommodate social distancing will reopen later once restrictions are lifted or when repair or redisplay work is completed.
Director general of the National Trust, Hilary McGrady, said: “This is a big moment that we have all looked forward to for months as we welcome people back safely, to spend time together at their favourite properties.
“Hundreds of our parks, gardens and countryside locations have already reopened, but we know how much our members and supporters have been looking forward to returning to see our houses and collections again.
“Our places are nothing without our visitors there to enjoy them, and our staff and volunteers have been working hard behind the scenes, cleaning chandeliers, polishing floors and dusting books, to get everything ready.
"It is a matter of huge relief, pride and gratitude that the places in our care can start to reopen following closure due to the pandemic.
"Not a single place will be lost to the public. The cultural treasures that are our shared inheritance are waiting – for everyone.
“We could not reopen so many of our places or carry out essential conservation without the patience and support of our members, visitors, donors and government schemes throughout this pandemic. And we are enormously grateful to our volunteers for the roles they have played, and will be playing again, as they return to our properties.
“All the support we have received has made the difference to the National Trust being able to continue its work and ensure that our places remain here for everyone to enjoy.”
In the local area, Claydon House, at Middle Claydon, will open on Friday May 21, Fridays and Saturdays, 11am to 3pm. There will be a new visitor route including an additional family room and new interpretation about Florence Nightingale and the Verney family. When the house is open, the South Terrace and lawns with views over the parkland will be available for picnics.
Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury, opens on Wednesday May 19, Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm, last entry 3pm. There will be a gradual reopening of the rooms in the house, with the ground floor opening initially. Then from May 29, the first floor will reopen including a free exhibition - Collecting Stories: Private Worlds to Public Spaces. A separate photography exhibition, Nick Knight: Roses from my Garden, opens in the Coach House gallery on May 19, free with pre-booked grounds admission.
Ascott House, at Wing, near Leighton Buzzard, reopens on May 25, Tuesday to Sunday, 2pm to 5pm, last entry 4pm. There will be a new display about objects in the house and ‘conservation in action’ every Tuesday afternoon.
Canons Ashby, just over the border in Northamptonshire, opens on May 17, every day 11.30am to 4pm, last entry 3.30pm. The main historic showrooms will be open, including the Drawing Room, new staircase carpet with a design inspired by one of Clara Dryden’s watercolours, made on a 120-loom similar to that which made the original. Designated route around the house.
Hughenden Manor, near High Wycombe, opens from Monday May 17, every day, 11am to 5pm, last entry 4.15pm. Entrance to the house is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and a valid visit ticket or membership card does not guarantee entry to the house. Numbers are limited for safety and only the ground-floor rooms will open initially. There is a one-way route around the five Disraeli rooms and Hillside exhibition rooms.
West Wycombe Park reopens on June 28, Sunday to Thursday, 2pm to 5pm.
Mask wearing is mandatory (unless exempt) in all houses and Track & Trace details will be requested.
Entry arrangements for houses will vary so check before visiting via nationaltrust.org.uk