The National Trust has begun a phased reopening of the 200 houses in its care with seven properties due to be open by 17 July. They are: Lyme in Cheshire, Petworth House in West Sussex, Kingston Lacy in Dorset, Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, Barrington Court in Somerset, The Argory in Co Armagh and Packwood House in Warwickshire. July also saw the opening of gardens and parklands in Wales, although houses remain closed. As before, visitors will need to book tickets in advance with a time slot.

John Orna-Ornstein, the National Trust’s Director of Culture and Engagement says: “Our houses are remarkable places, full of hidden corners and many packed with treasures – but that in itself can create the challenges for us to reopen and meet the guidance safely. It isn’t as simple as just taking the dust sheets off the furniture and opening the doors, our plans have involved working out how many people can be in a room safely,  how long they might spend there, while trying to ensure as much as possible they can still enjoy their time with us.

“But it is right that we take a cautious approach, so we ask visitors to remain patient a little longer while we work through how best to make sure everyone who wants to visit is safe and enjoys themselves.”