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Historic gardens reopen to compete for coveted award

Hindringham Hall in Norkfolk is welcoming visitors back to its grounds to bolster its chances of winning a prestigious award.

The Tudor manor house is one of eight historic gardens to have been shortlisted for the 2020 Historic Houses Garden of the Year Award. The winner will be decided on by the votes of members of Historic Houses and the general public.

Hindringham’s gardens have been accessible since 27 May, though a strict one-way system has been imposed to ensure social distancing and the tearoom must remain shut.

The prestigious annual garden prize has been awarded since 1984. Past winners include Blenheim Palace, which reopened its park and gardens to the general public from 6 June, and Newby Hall in Yorkshire – previously home to Lord Grantham and the model for ‘Downton Abbey’ – which is the current title holder and which also reopened to the general public on 6 June.

Painshill Park in Surrey, another nominee for the prize, opened on 28 May, and is now allowing any holder of a pre-booked ticket to enjoy its restored eighteenth-century pleasure grounds.

To ensure the public are safe at these reopened gardens, Historic Houses has issued guidance for its member gardens. Measures being taken across newly opened gardens include, as appropriate, limits on numbers, requirements to book timed tickets in advance of visiting, one way routes, expansions of carparking and picnicking areas to allow for social distancing, and the opening up of previously blocked paths or routes to avoid bottlenecks.

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