Lockdown roadmap: Which English Heritage sites are open in the Midlands?

Witley Court in Worcestershire is among 10 sites that have now reopened. Credit: PA

As some lockdown restrictions begin to ease across the country and the weather starts to warm up, outdoor heritage sites are starting to reopen.

English Heritage was forced to close all of its sites for the third time due to the third national lockdown but over 50 of the charity's sites will begin welcoming visitors back from March 29.

While people must still remain in their local area due to government rules, the charity says it cannot wait to welcome local visitors back.

The sites that are now open include:

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

The grounds of Bolsover Castle are open and takeaway catering is available but all indoor areas remain closed. Credit: English Heritage

The castle grounds and gardens remain open but all interior spaces at Bolsover Castle will be closed, including the Little Castle and the Riding House. The play area and toilets are also open.

Peveril Castle, Derbyshire

The grounds of Peveril Castle are open. Credit: English Heritage

Mentioned in the Domesday survey, Peveril Castle is one of England's earliest Norman fortresses. The keep was built by Henry II in 1176. From today, visitors can, once again, climb to the castle at the top of the hill to enjoy the views over the Hope Valley. All indoor areas, however, including toilet facilities remain closed so you'll definitely need to plan the logistics of your trip!

Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire

Founded in 1246 by the Earl of Cornwall, Hailes Abbey is set amid Cotswold countryside Credit: English Heritage

Advanced booking is essential at all English Heritage sites, including Hailes Abbey in Gloucestershire. The charity has introduced limits on visitor numbers to help keep everyone safe, and you won’t be able to visit without your booking confirmation. If you’re a Member, your ticket will be free, but you still need to book in advance. 

Ashby De La Zouch Castle, Leicestershire

The property began as a manor house in the 12th century and reached castle status in the 15th century. Credit: English Heritage

The grounds of Ashby de la Zouch are open but indoor spaces, including the tower, tunnels and shop are closed. Toilet facilities will be open.

Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire

Goodrich Castle boasts spectacular views from the battlements. Credit: English Heritage

Standing in open countryside above the River Wye, Goodrich Castle is one of the best preserved of all English medieval castles. All interior spaces at Goodrich Castle are currently closed, including the keep and chapel. The toilets will be open as usual and the cafe will be open for takeaway. 

Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire

Kirby Hall is closed but its grounds are open to visitors Credit: English Heritage

Kirby Hall is one of England’s greatest Elizabethan and 17th-century houses, once owned by Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth I. Sadly the hall itself remains closed by visitors can still explore the grounds.

Wenlock Priory, Shropshire

The ruins of Wenlock Priory stand on the fringe of Much Wenlock in Shropshire. Credit: English Heritage

The grounds of Wenlock Priory are open. All indoor areas remain closed, and safety measures are in place to keep everyone safe. The toilets will be open and cleaned throughout the day. 

Wroxeter Roman City, Shropshire

Wroxeter was once the fourth largest city in Roman Britain. Credit: English Heritage

Visitors can explore the outdoor ruins but all interior spaces at Wroexter are currently closed, including the townhouse and museum.

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

The grounds of Kenilworth Castle are open. Takeaway catering is available but all indoor areas remain closed. Credit: English Heritage

All of Kenilworth Castle's indoor areas are currently closed, including the shop, Towers, Gatehouse and Stables. The toilet facilities remain open. English Heritage says it will continue to review what parts of the site can open in line with reviews to government guidelines.

Witley Court & Gardens, Worcestershire

Witley Court has extensive grounds and woodland that are now open to visitors Credit: English Heritage

Witley Court boasts elaborate parterre gardens, monumental fountains and enchanting woodland. The extensive grounds are also home to beautiful birds, including the great crested grebe, which make up Witley’s varied wildlife. All outdoor areas are open but indoor areas remain closed.

National Trust also has many open sites. Some of its parks remained open to locals for outdoor exercise throughout. Following the announcement about the further easing of resrictions in England, the organisation says it is planning to offer visitors the opportunity to sit down outdoors again from April 12, so they will be able to enjoy the refreshments from the on-site cafes which are currently offering takeaway only. It will also reopen some of its shops from this date.

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