Update: The National Trust has confirmed that all of their sites will be closed from 21st March including all parks and gardens.
The National Trust is working hard to keep open spaces accessible to people while it closes houses, shops and cafes to restrict the spread of coronavirus and they are offering FREE access to anyone who fancies stretching their legs during the social distancing period.
Many factors have been considered when continuing to open, including whether the garden or park allows enough space for adequate social distancing. With this in mind, we have put this blog post together based on the current information from each of our favourite family friendly National Trust properties in Kent and East Sussex!
We’ll update this post over the coming days too and if you do decide to visit any of the places mentioned below, please do double check on each of the property’s websites first!
♥ Chartwell: The house is now closed due to staff shortages until further notice. The café and shop will be closed from 21 March. From 23 March, the gardens, toilets and carpark will remain open Monday to Friday, while observing social distancing measures.
♥ Knole: The house, courtyards, Brewhouse Café, shops, car park & toilets are now closed. However, the parkland remains open for pedestrians to enjoy, while observing social distancing measures
♥ Polesden Lacey: The house, cafés and shops at Polesden Lacey are closed. The car park is open and free of charge however our toilets are not open at this time. The gardens and wider estate remain open for you to enjoy, while observing social distancing measures. (note – this one is a bit further afield but has a great outdoor playground and the grounds in general are lovely).
♥ Ightham Mote: The house, garden, café and shop are now closed. However, the estate will remain open for you to enjoy, while observing social distancing measures.
♥ Standen: Standen House is closed. From Sat 21 Mar the café, shop and visitor reception are also closed. However, the garden and estate remain open from 10am-5pm for you to enjoy, while observing social distancing measures.
♥ Birling Gap and Seven Sisters: The shop, café and visitor centre will be closed from 20 March. However, the countryside, outside toilets and free car parking remain open for you to enjoy, while observing social distancing measures. The beach is still closed to public access. (In my opinion, this might be a bit far for not much return?).
♥ Wakehurst: Entry to Wakehurst, including car parking, will be free of charge until further notice so you can continue to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the wild botanic garden. The buildings will be closed. See here for full details about the closures & latest guidance.
Additional Properties which are partially accessible (in many cases the walks surrounding the properties are accessible):
♥ Emmetts Garden: Emmetts Garden will be closed from 21 March until further notice. The public footpath is still accessible from the Toys Hill carpark via the Red Route – extra signs are being put up which will make this clear. The Emmetts Garden Carpark will be closed. The gardens and play area won’t be accessible.
♥ Scotney Castle: Scotney Castle is closed until further notice. The estate is open so please access via public footpaths as the car park will be closed. At the moment the grounds that directly surround the house, castle and children’s playground aren’t accessible. Please double check the website as this may change.
♥ Sissinghurst Castle Garden: From Friday 20 March the garden will be closed and all of the indoor spaces, which includes the restaurant and shop. However, the estate walks (of which there are many) will remain open for you to enjoy, while observing social distancing measures.