Re-opening plans include timed ticket entry for the Gardens, a takeaway service from the Old Kitchen Tearoom, two new parkland trails, and the Plant Fairs Roadshow, taking place on July 19.
For the first time since its closure in March, Chawton House will once again welcome visitors to the Gardens. Entry is by pre-booked advance ticket only, with numbers restricted to ensure the Gardens are safe for both staff and visitors. To aid with social distancing, entry will be split into two time slots: morning (11am – 2:00pm) & afternoon (2:00 – 4:30pm).
The gardens will be open from 11am to 4.30pm every day but all entry must be booked in advance online. Tickets will be released every fortnight and can be booked through the Chawton House website.
The cost to visit the gardens on for the day is £6, valid for the day of booking. Alternatively, a very reasonable annual ticket at £10 for adults is available, valid for one year from the date of the first visit. The annual ticket includes entry to the house, which can be used once Chawton House fully re-opens.
The Old Kitchen Tearoom will be open for takeaways, serving a homemade menu, tea, coffee, cool drinks and ice cream. Visitors will be able to pre-order food and drink so that it is ready upon their arrival. The gift shop will also be opening as a stall into the Courtyard for visitors to browse a range of gifts, garden goodies and books.
In the meantime, visitors are encouraged to walk Chawton House’s parkland. Chawton House sits within 275 acres of parkland, almost as rich in history as the House itself. The parkland consists of fields with ancient and evocative names like Carter’s Lea, Hopkilns, and Knickerknocker, some recorded in documents from when the House was built. These were farmed by tenant farmers, paying rent to the owners of the manor of Chawton. Visitors are encouraged to follow the newly marked out walk, free of charge. A map is available to download on the Chawton House website.
On July 19, Chawton House will host the Plant Fairs Roadshow. Visitors will be able to view a collection of leading nurseries offering a wide range of bulbs, perennials, herbs shrubs and trees. With specialist nurseries attending, there’s something for everyone. The roadshow this year will be located on Church Meadow (the field just south of St Nicholas Church), rather than inside the Chawton House gardens. This is to allow more space around the stalls and separate entry and exit points. Tickets to the Fair must be booked in advance, costing £4 entry. A joint Fair and Garden entry ticket is available at £9.
Of the re-opening plans, Chief Executive Katie Childs says: “We are carefully monitoring the latest government guidelines, so that we can continue to ensure the safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers. Nevertheless, we are so excited to welcome people back after all this time. It is only due to the kindness and generosity of our supporters that we have been able to start the long process of re-opening Chawton House to visitors.”
Chawton House gardens will reopen to the public from 4 July, seven days a week. All entries must be booked in advance.