Here's when National Trust for Scotland parks, properties and car parks will reopen as UK lockdown rules ease

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 11:30 am
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 11:30 am

With lockdown restrictions lifting slowly but steadily in the UK, the rules on exercise and getting outside have changed.

The cap on daily exercise has now been scrapped in Scotland, to allow people to exercise outdoors more than once per day.

The properties of the National Trust for Scotland serve as great places to get outdoors for some fresh air, but in Scotland residents are advised to stay local and make use of open spaces close to their homes where possible to exercise, avoiding all unnecessary travel.

In terms of being able to travel to exercise, the Scottish government states: “Unnecessary travel should be avoided, so exercise should be done in your local area.

“You should not drive to beauty spots, parks or benches.”

But are National Trust for Scotland locations even open?

Here's everything you need to know:

When will National Trust for Scotland locations be reopened?

In a statement issued on 23 March, the National Trust for Scotland said they were taking some drastic measures in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Those measures were:

- Closing all gardens and car parks, along with Culzean Country Park and Brodick Country Park, as well as the grounds of properties such as Crathes and Brodie castles

- Closing all holiday let properties and cancelling bookings

- Asking people not to travel to our island properties in order to protect communities

The Trust are not accepting any new holiday bookings for stays before 4 June at the earlier, with this date subject to review.

Commercial bookings, such as weddings and some holiday lets, as well as Thistle Camp working holidays, are suspended at least until the end of May, subject to ongoing review.

The Trust is also asking people not to travel to its island properties, albeit this is difficult due to ferry restrictions.

“We were aware of the serious concerns of residents in places like Canna and Fair Isle,” said Chief Executive Simon Skinner, “which are remote from healthcare provision and especially vulnerable. For their sakes, no-one should travel to island communities unless it is on essential business.”

Will there be social distancing when they do reopen?

“With some level of restrictions likely to apply post lockdown,” said Skinner, “I see little prospect of us being able to return to more normal levels of membership [and] visitation.”

“Post-lockdown, we plan to scale back our current offering to match the anticipated restrictions that will remain.

“We propose to initially focus on the safe, phased re-opening of a core of 27 built heritage properties around Scotland, primarily those best able to accommodate social distancing.

“The remainder will be placed on a care and maintenance basis, with the aim of opening a further 18 sometime next year, and the rest once there is a general upturn in the economy and the Trust’s fortunes. Our countryside properties will open to welcome people when restrictions are lifted.”

What’s happening with memberships?

It appears as if there are no plans to freeze all memberships, but the Trust note that although you can’t visit their places, members can “connect with the places, properties and collections that make Scotland so special through our website and social media platforms.”

“You can sign up for member-exclusive digital content and activities to do in your house and garden on our stay in touch page or by going to your My Trust account and choosing to receive news and updates to your inbox.”

Are National Trust properties closed in other areas of the UK?

England has been the most lenient of the four devolved nations when it comes to lifting lockdown restrictions. There from 13 May "some" National Trust car parks in England were opened, "so people can access fresh air, open space and nature."

Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have essentially kept their guidance as is, reinforcing their 'Stay at Home' messages.

That means that all National Trust properties - including car parks - in Wales and Northern Ireland remain closed.