Newby Hall in North Yorkshire, has opened to visitors for the first time this year. The famous horticultural landmark, the current holder of the Historic Houses Garden of the Year title, should have opened in April for the 2020 season but lockdown started before the gates could open.
Owners Richard and Lucinda Compton, aided by the head Gardener Phil Cormie, have worked through the enforced two-month closure, mowing grass, planting and watering the 25 acres of gardens to make sure they are looking at their early summer best. Gates were finally opened to members of the public on Saturday (6 June).
Strict measures have been put in place to ensure visitor and staff safety. Online ticket booking only has been introduced to manage the number of visitors each day, with a limit on numbers arriving in three different arrival periods. Safety information is given to visitors at the start of their visit to ensure social distancing and staff at the visitor entrance are protected by plastic screens, as are the team at the onsite café providing take-away refreshments. Additional toilets have been opened in the gardens and a rigorous hygiene regime implemented for all outdoor areas.
“It is an overwhelming feeling of relief to see visitors back enjoying the gardens,” said Richard Compton “Visitors, and the essential income they bring, allow us to maintain the house and gardens for future generations of visitors to enjoy. It is wonderful to see people coming through the gates at Newby again.”
Stuart Gill, Commercial Director, said “The lockdown period frustratingly coincided with the sunniest ever May but we’re delighted that the easing of the lockdown measures has allowed us finally to open the gardens. We hope that the playground, railway, restaurant, exhibitions and house tours can open soon too.”