Coronavirus: National Trust to open parks for free to offer access to nature

Ruth Doherty
Photo credit: David Clapp/Getty

From Prima

The National Trust has announced it will open its parks and gardens for free during the coronavirus outbreak so that everyone can have access to the benefits of being outdoors.

While the indoor sites will be closed, the gardens, where possible, will be left open so that the public has "access to open space and to nature, beauty and history".

The government has advised that the nation stays at home and self-isolates, avoiding non-essential contact with others.

Getting outside can be very beneficial for our wellbeing and mental health, and the National Trust wants to keep providing the benefits of keeping parks open for the public.

Hilary McGrady, the director general of the National Trust, said: "The National Trust will, where possible, open as many of its gardens and parks for free, but close its houses, cafes and shops to help the nation fight the spread of the coronavirus.

"Following the Prime Minister’s briefing, the National Trust’s pay-for-entry sites including houses, cafes and shops, will close by this Friday (March 20)."

McGrady said the charity would work hard to keep as many of the Trust’s gardens and parklands open, free of charge, alongside coast and countryside, to encourage the nation to enjoy open space, if appropriate, during the pandemic, while adhering to the government’s social distancing guidance.

Photo credit: asmithers

Hilary McGrady added: “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.

“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."

The Trust added: "The National Trust is continuing to work hard to keep open spaces accessible to people while it closes houses, shops and cafes to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

"This will take time and we hope by this Friday (March 20) all properties will have a plan in place as to what will be available to the public. Many factors have to be considered when continuing to open, including whether the garden or park allows enough space for adequate social distancing.

"We will try to keep as many open spaces available as possible but this is a changing situation and we are strictly following Government advice so please keep checking our website for updated information and always check the site before you visit any of our places."

Need a little bit if inspiration? Try the Ashridge Estate in Berkhamsted (top), famous for its stunning bluebell display in spring, the Ightham Mote Estate in Kent (above) has amazing gardens and a gorgeous example of medieval architecture, and Powis Castle Gardens boasts the best terraced gardens in Britain.

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit theWorld Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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