English Heritage castles, palaces and stately homes opening on Monday

Ready to lower the drawbridge! Castles, palaces and stately homes are among dozens of English Heritage sites being primed for Monday’s big reopening

  • Dozens of English Heritage sites will be among venues welcoming indoor visitors
  • Conservators at Osborne on the Isle of Wight have been polishing glassware 
  • Dust sheets have been pulled off furniture in the at Eltham Palace in London
  • Another English Heritage site reopening is Dartmouth Castle, built in 1380s

Historic buildings are being primped and preened ahead of reopening to the public on Monday.

Cinemas, museums, theatres and concert halls in England will be allowed to reopen from May 17 under step three on the road map out of lockdown.

Dozens of English Heritage sites will be among venues welcoming visitors indoors, with 23 properties opening for the first time in 2021.

English Heritage conservators have reset the dining table inside the Durbar room at Osborne on the Isle of Wight and ensured the glassware is sparkling.

Osborne offers an insight into the lives of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who created the palatial house as their family holiday home – complete with beach, grounds and gardens.

Historic buildings are being primped and preened ahead of reopening to the public on Monday. Dozens of English Heritage sites will be among venues welcoming visitors indoors, with 23 properties opening for the first time in 2021. Among them is Osborne (pictured) on the Isle of Wight

English Heritage conservators have reset the dining table inside the Durbar room at Osborne on the Isle of Wight and ensured the glassware is sparkling

The house also boasts the stately Durbar room, inspired by the Queen’s passion for India.

From next week, visitors can explore the ground floor state rooms, and see objects and artwork from the Royal Collection Trust.

Meanwhile, dust sheets have been pulled off the furniture in the Grand Entrance at Eltham Palace in London as it prepares to reopen to the public.

Which English Heritage sites will be reopening on Monday, May 17? 

Yorkshire and Humber

St Peter’s Church, Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire

North East

Aydon Castle, Northumberland 

Berwick-Upon-Tweed Barracks, Northumberland

Brinkburn Priory, Northumberland

Etal Castle, Northumberland

Prudhoe Castle, Northumberland 

North West

Carlisle Castle, Cumbria 

Stott Park Robin Mill  

London and South East 

Portchester Castle, Hampshire

Medieval Merchant’s House, Hampshire

Yarmouth Castle, Isle of Wight

Osborne, Isle of Wight 

Deal Castle, Kent

Lullingstone Roman Villa, Kent

Apsley House, London

Jewel Tower, London

Ranger’s House, London

Wellington Arch, London

Eltham Palace, London 

South West

Dartmouth Castle, Devon

Portland Castle, Dorset 

Midlands 

Kirby Muxloe Castle, Leicestershire

Lyddington Bede House, Rutland

East 

Orford Castle, Suffolk 

Once a favoured medieval palace and then a Tudor royal residence, Eltham Palace was transformed in the 1930s by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld into a stylish art-deco home incorporating original medieval features.

Another English Heritage site which is reopening is Dartmouth Castle, which was built in the 14th century to guard the narrow entrance to the Dart Estuary in Devon.

Construction began in 1388 and the well-preserved ‘gun tower’ was added a century later.  

Kate Logan, head of historic properties for English Heritage, said: ‘We are thrilled to finally be opening our doors up to the public again and once again bringing to life the fascinating stories inside all these amazing places.

‘We’re confident it’s the start of a great summer season.’

Elsewhere, Chatsworth House in Bakewell, Derbyshire, will reopen on Tuesday with two medieval masterpieces returning after more than 60 years and going on display to visitors for one season only.

Chatsworth is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. 

The National Trust will be re-opening its houses in England and Wales from May 17.

Tickets are set to become available from tomorrow, although visitor numbers will be restricted due to social distancing. 

Sculptors at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden have been preparing mannequins ahead of the site reopening on Monday.

 All tickets will have to be booked in advance within timed slots.

Access inside historical vehicles is limited because they would be damaged by cleaning products used elsewhere, while the book corner is also closed. 

Face masks are mandatory for visitors apart from those with exemptions.

Hand sanitisers and hand washing facilities will be available at multiple points throughout the museum, while social distancing will be maintained with the use of markings to indicate the required distance.

Some of its rooms are not open, in particular the smaller rooms, although key works from them will be visible to visitors. The gallery will be open seven days a week from 11am to 6pm, and closing at 9pm on Fridays.

The British Museum will also open in London next Monday, with most of its galleries set to be open, from the Egyptian mummies, to the treasures of Sutton Hoo and a collection about the Islamic World.

Entry is ticketed, both for free permanent collections and paid exhibitions. Face coverings are required, and there will be a one-way route signposted through the museum. Hand sanitiser stations are also in place.

A new ‘Thomas Becket: murder and the making of a saint’ exhibition at the museum will run from May 20 to August 22, featuing 800-year-old stained glass windows on loan from Canterbury Cathedral.

The house also boasts the stately Durbar room (pictured), inspired by the Queen’s passion for India

Elsewhere, Chatsworth House in Bakewell, Derbyshire, will reopen on Tuesday with two medieval masterpieces returning after more than 60 years and going on display to visitors for one season only

y. Chatsworth is home to the Duke (pictured) and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family

Supervisor Susie Stokoe checks the condition of the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries at Chatsworth House

Ms Stokoe is seen on a platform taking photographs of the tapestries on Thursday

The Imperial War Museum in London will reopen next Wednesday – May 19 – and will require visitors to pre-book timed tickets. IWM North and IWM Duxford will also be reopening on the same day.

It has extended its Refugees season of exhibitions, with London, Refugees: Forced to Flee, Life in a Camp, and A Face to Open Doors now running until June 13, and Ai Weiwei’s artwork, History of Bombs, until September 5.

The IWM shop is only accepting card payments, and there will be hand sanitiser points around the museum as well as an enhanced cleaning regime. Staff have also requested that people only visit if they are feeling well.

Meanwhile, dust sheets have been pulled off the furniture in the Grand Entrance at Eltham Palace in London as it prepares to reopen to the public

Once a favoured medieval palace and then a Tudor royal residence, Eltham Palace was transformed in the 1930s by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld into a stylish art-deco home incorporating original medieval features

Kate Logan, head of historic properties for English Heritage, said: ‘We are thrilled to finally be opening our doors up to the public again and once again bringing to life the fascinating stories inside all these amazing places’. Pictured: Employee Paul Fretwell cleans the silver in the dining room at Eltham Palace

Virginia’s Bedroom at Eltham Palace in London, as they prepare to reopen to the public following the further easing of lockdown restrictions in England

The Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands will both reopen on May 19 following five months closed, with policies including timed ticket slots for entry which must be pre-booked for free online.

Among the exhibitions at the Museum of London are ‘Dub London: Bassline of a City’, celebrating dub reggae music and culture in the capital including the role of sound systems at events like Notting Hill Carnival.

There is signage at the museum to remind visitors to socially distance and a one-way system in place, while capacity has been reduced to ensure there is enough space to keep apart from other people inside.

Other English Heritage sites which are set to reopen on Monday include Dartmouth Castle (pictured), in Devon

After 152 days with its doors closed, the National Gallery in London will also open again, and will keep in place the changes from in July 2020 when it was the first major UK national art museum to reopen after the initial lockdown.

These include all visits having to be booked online and in advance to manage the number of people inside and limit queuing. Entrance will be via the Sainsbury Wing Entrance and exit through the Getty Entrance.

The National Gallery is also maintaining three one-way art routes that guide people through different areas of the collection, but has adapted these – while there are also a number of new free exhibitions opening. 

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