English Heritage will keep grounds of 19 sites open during lockdown

The drawbridge is still down: English Heritage will keep the grounds of 19 castles, stately homes and places of interest open for walkers during lockdown

  • English Heritage reveals what sites will stay open during third national lockdown
  • Kenilworth Castle, and Walmer Castle and Longtown Castle will welcome visitors
  • Londoners can visit trio of Eltham Palace, Kenwood House and Marble Hill House
  • Audley End, Osborne House and Wrest Park will also still be open to the public

English Heritage today revealed 19 castles, houses and monuments it will be keeping open during the country’s third national lockdown for people to use for exercise.

The grounds of sites such as Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, Walmer Castle in Kent and Longtown Castle in Herefordshire will be remaining open to the public.

Londoners will be allowed to stroll through the grounds of Eltham Palace near Greenwich, Kenwood House in Hampstead and Marble Hill House in Twickenham.

Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire has existed for 900 years and went from medieval fortress to Elizabethan palace. The site features a mighty Norman keep and a majestic Great Hall

Osborne House on the Isle of Wight is the palatial former holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, which features a colourful walled garden and a shaded woodland walk

Those living in other parts of South East England can go to the gardens at Audley End in Essex, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. 

The announcement comes as the Government revealed people will still be able to visit public gardens and the grounds of a heritage site during the new lockdown.

They will be allowed to visit with members of their household or support bubble, and can attend with one person from another household if they are on their own.  

Other sites remaining open include Arbor Low Stone Circle and Gib Hill Barrow in the Peak District, Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire and Iron Bridge in Shropshire.

Marble Hill House in Twickenham, South West London, is set in 66 acres of riverside parkland. It was built for Henrietta Howard, mistress of King George II when he was Prince of Wales

Walmer Castle in Kent features eight acres of award-winning gardens and was once a Tudor artillery fortress. It became a stately-home for the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports

Eltham Palace near Greenwich in South East London features 19 acres of gardens and a striking Art Deco mansion. It was once a favoured medieval palace and then a Tudor royal residence

Also on the list are Mattersey Priory in Nottinghamshire, Byland Abbey in North Yorkshire and Castlerigg Stone Circle in Shropshire.

Which English Heritage sites are staying open? 

  • Arbor Low Stone Circle and Gib Hill Barrow, Derbyshire
  • Audley End House and Gardens, Essex
  • Bolingbroke Castle, Lincolnshire
  • Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, South Yorkshire
  • Byland Abbey, North Yorkshire
  • Castlerigg Stone Circle, Shropshire
  • Egglestone Abbey, County Durham
  • Eltham Palace and Gardens, London
  • Furness Abbey, Cumbria
  • Iron Bridge, Shropshire
  • Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire
  • Kenwood House, London
  • Longtown Castle, Herefordshire
  • Marble Hill House, London
  • Mattersey Priory, Nottinghamshire
  • Osborne House, Isle of Wight
  • Tynemouth Priory and Castle, Tyne and Wear
  • Walmer Castle and Gardens, Kent
  • Wrest Park, Bedfordshire

Further sites include Egglestone Abbey in County Durham, Furness Abbey in Cumbria, the grounds of Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire and Tynemouth Priory and Castle in Tyne and Wear.

All members and other visitors must book tickets in advance to staffed sites with limitations placed on numbers.

English Heritage has also reminded people that Government rules state they should not travel outside their ‘local area’ when visiting any of their sites. 

An English Heritage spokesman said today: ‘We are keeping a selection of sites open for local people to use for exercise during the lockdown period.

‘All these sites have plenty of outdoor space for safe social distancing. As before, visits to staffed sites must be booked in advance and numbers will be limited. 

‘Please stay local, bear in mind the government’s latest advice, and be aware that you should not travel outside of your local area.’

Staff urged people to avoid visiting if they or anyone in their household are displaying symptoms of Covid-19.

They also asked visitors to follow government and site guidelines on social distancing and hygiene, queue alone if they can and keep an eye on children.  

Heritage organisations have seen their income plummet during the pandemic with the Government giving them a financial boost last October to help.

The £103million funding supported 445 organisations to carry out repair and maintenance work on cherished heritage sites to keep the venues running.

Twelve organisations, including English Heritage and Historic Royal Palaces, received £34million to restart construction and maintenance projects.

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