Tag: covid-19

Re-opening! Dates and plans

The Gardens are re-opening!

Starting with 2 special weekends for Members Only:  6th/7th and 13th/14th June.

Opening to the general public will start on Wednesday 17th June (Wednesdays to Sundays).

We are really pleased to be able to welcome people back into the Gardens again.

We know spirits will be lifted by a wander – or a run- in the Gardens, but we will naturally be monitoring how we can manage safety.  Numbers will be limited and there are no activities planned at present. Family picnics will be welcome – please take home your rubbish – we cannot dispose of it at present.

Most of the Gardens’ staff are on furlough and we are managing a limited volunteer return. So, preparing for opening and stewarding is a big job- please bear with us.

Tickets, for the Members weekends and general opening from 17th , will be released on Wednesday 3 June.

Full details will be released next week.

More details

In order to open the Gardens safely, we have had to make some changes to how we welcome visitors.

Everyone MUST book in advance, including Members.  New booking time slots will become available each Friday at midday for the following week.

When you come, you will notice some differences to your usual visit:

  • The entrance courtyard will have separate ‘in’ and ‘out’ lanes.
  • The Visitor Centre will be closed.
  • Your pre-booked ticket and/or membership card will be checked in – contactless – from the wooden steps.
  • The Orangery will be selling limited takeaway refreshments.
  • Cards, gifts, jams and pickles will also be sold from here (1 person at a time in shop only)
  • All payments will be by contactless card only, or cash into a donation box (no change given).
  • For the time-being the mud kitchen will shut in line with Government guidance.
  • To maintain health standards there will be limited access to the Toilets.
  • All areas of the Gardens are open, but there are reminders to keep a minimum of 2m apart. Please Pause and make way for someone to pass on a narrow paths. Please respect this for the safety of  everyone.
  • Picnics are welcome – within the government guidelines. Please take your rubbish home – we cannot dispose of it, at present.

All arrangements have been risk assessed but will be constantly reviewed and may change without notice.

How to book

All visitors, including Members will need to book a ticket in advance.

We are sorry but there will be no ticket sales/bookings on the day.

We will post the link for booking the first week on Wednesday 3 June on our website, Facebook page and in our email newsletter.

A limited telephone booking system will be in place for those unable to book online. Telephone booking can be made on Thursday and Friday mornings 11am – 1pm. We can take credit card numbers over the phone.

The process will be as follows:

  • Please book one ticket per person, except for children aged five or under as they don’t need a ticket.
  • Currently the tickets will be for the whole day – but a limited number of tickets will be sold for the day.
  • New opening times 10.30 -4.30pm. We plan to introduce regular early evening openings later.
  • Dogs on leads are welcome.
  • Please note: we are not currently accepting two for one cards or other cards at present, we will keep this under review. RHS members need to book in advance.




Update on opening and covid-19

Thank you for all your kind messages  expressing your support – in varying ways – for the Gardens. 

We are all anxious to know when people will be able to see and explore the Gardens again. As you know there has been a recent change in government approach to dealing with the pandemic. The Gardens continues to take advice, and keep in contact with the authorities as well as our colleagues across the Gardens and Heritage world.

Here is our position and thoughts at present

Protecting the personal health of our staff, volunteers and visitors still comes first.

  • We are nevertheless making plans for how we might open in some kind of phased manner.
  • We need to consider how we can balance good social distancing within the Gardens with the desire of individuals and families to be able to stretch their legs, feel relaxed and generally have a good time.
  • Things may change over time and different approaches may be needed at different times.
  • We know it is unlikely that we will be able to offer exactly the same programme of events and activities as we have done for some time … but we are enjoying the creative thinking we need to prepare for doing lots of good things, differently.
  • Staff and volunteer capacity cannot and will not return quickly to what it was in March – so things inevitably  will move more slowly.

Many organisations like ours – gardens, open spaces, heritage and cultural sites – big and small, are in similar positions and too many already, have had to close permanently.

Although, as an independent charitable business, we have recently been becoming much more self-reliant than previously, without the current financial support from emergency government programmes (and other places), we would probably not survive.

So, not only do we want (dreadfully) to welcome people back to this great space, but we need to earn our income too.

The current Government rules state that although open spaces and public parks are open we, as a ‘gated’ site which normally provides tickets for entry, are not currently in the ‘permitted’  band.

When we are able to admit people

  • Likely to be initially limited to Members only.    This will enable us to keep a contactless entry system in place.
  • When it is possible, we will relax this rule to admit non-members, probably on a pre-booked basis.   So we can manage the number of people entering and leaving the Gardens at any one time.
  • Plans for properly socially distanced, pre-booked events, workshops and activities are still in discussion.  Although we ‘are gutted’ that some of our favourite events this year can’t happen, we are excited by some of the inventive ways we are finding to keep interesting things happening.   

We know we can help people have fun, enjoy the Gardens, stay healthy and help us keep the Gardens afloat. … Please bear with us.