The opening of the house at Coleton Fishacre from Saturday 31 October and Arlington Court from Friday 6 November marks the latest in a series of phased steps. Arlington Court and Coleton Fishacre join the list of National Trust houses now open once again including Killerton, Kingston Lacy, Dunster Castle, Greenway, Snowshill Manor, Tyntesfield and Knightshayes. Barrington Court in Somerset and Kingston Lacy in Dorset took part in the successful pilot in July along with five other houses nationwide.
In July the National Trust reopened seven properties in England and Northern Ireland as part of a phased reopening of its 200 houses, which were closed as part of the national lockdown in March. The houses at Coleton Fishacre and Arlington Court are part of the latest round of properties to reopen, specifically selected to operate within current government guidelines following the pilot scheme launched on July 13.
From Saturday 31 October, the National Trust in the South West will see the house at Coleton Fishacre open the doors on Saturdays and Sundays in November and December. Arlington Court will be throwing open the doors of the house shortly afterwards; from Friday 6 November every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in November and December (until Sun 20 Dec). This will be the first time these houses will be open in more than seven months – with several new safety measures in place.
One-way systems and limited numbers inside houses will ensure that social distancing is possible, while enhanced cleaning and hand sanitising stations will be made available. Visits are limited to ensure social distancing and entry to the house is not guaranteed on the day you visit. In line with government guidance, visitors are required to wear a face covering in the houses, unless exempt.
Regular visitors will also notice some changes to exhibitions, including the removal of interactive displays and comment cards.
Since the National Trust began to reopen the houses it cares for in July, hundreds of people have visited National Trust houses nationwide with more than 4 million visiting its parks and gardens, which were reopened from June 3 in England and Northern Ireland and from July 6 in Wales.
John Orna-Ornstein, the National Trust’s Director of Culture and Engagement says: “We have received some fantastic feedback since we started to reopen our places in July and are incredibly grateful for the patience and understanding that visitors and members have demonstrated as we start to welcome people back to our houses.
“This latest reopening is part of a process to open all of our properties safely and we will announce more in the coming weeks and months. Being able to share these beautiful places and their histories is what the National Trust is here for and we are truly excited to be able to open these houses and welcome people back.”
The house is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 4pm with last admission at 3.30pm. The garden, café and shop are also open. Visitors will need to book their visit in advance through the online booking system.
The house is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10.30am to 3pm with last admission at 2.30pm. The garden, wider estate and second-hand bookshop is open 10am-4pm. Visitors will need to book their visit in advance through the online booking system.
Full details of the houses that have reopened in the South West can be seen at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/south-west.
(Coleton Fishacre image courtesy of Chris Lacey, image of Arlington Court courtesy of Matthew Antrobus).