To visit Hestercombe House and Gallery (when reopen), you will need to book a gardens admission ticket, which also gives you entry to Open-Up, a new series of outdoor artworks commissioned by Hestercombe Gallery in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including work by celebrated sculptor Richard Long.
When it has reopened, there will be some changes to your visit to Hestercombe House and Gallery, and these will be explained by our front of house volunteer staff when you arrive. Here’s a summary of what you can expect.
Hestercombe Pop-Up Gift Shop in the Column Room
Owing to the size of the current Gift Shop located in the Visitor Centre (making successful social distancing impossible), we have created a ‘pop-up’ shop in the Column Room, selling a wide variety of gifts and other items.
Dogs are allowed into the Pop-up Shop in the Column Room.
In September, we were thrilled to be able to reopen both Hestercombe Gallery exhibitions, Most Admirably Improved by Art, and Coplestone Warre Bampfylde: A Gentleman of Taste. The former was open until late September 2020 (when artworks needed to be returned to their owners), and the latter continues into 2021 (date TBA).
Upon entering the House, access to the galleries will be up the main staircase; you will climb left to enter, descending right to exit. Signage will be provided. On reaching the landing a volunteer will help direct you around the galleries.
Access to galleries 6, 7 and 8 (The Control Room end) will be two-way with a maximum capacity of 8 people at one time. The remainder of the galleries will be a one-way route, entering through Gallery 5, to Gallery 2, 4 then 3 (overlooking the gardens). Your exit will be via a newly opened corridor from Gallery 3 to the landing and then down the main staircase – all doors will be open. If this sounds complicated, don’t worry – there will be signage to help you!
The toilets located in the galleries will be for staff and volunteers only, so visitors will need to use the toilets on the ground floor, which will be sanitised regularly.
The much-loved bookshop will be returning with Covid-safe procedures in place, including limited capacity, and the front of house volunteers will be managing all visits.
Dogs are allowed into the Bookshop.
If you would like to make a donation of books, these can now be delivered between 11am – 3pm, Wednesday to Sunday.
When making a donation, please bring your books in bags which you are happy to not be returned, as we are unable to handle the books for 72 hours following your donation.
The Column Room Restaurant
Hestercombe is currently operating with a fraction of its usual staffing level, which means that we are still unable to open the Column Room Restaurant. We know that some visitors have unused Afternoon Tea vouchers, and we are more than happy to extend them – please contact our Visitor Reception team with your enquiry via email or phone 01823 413923.
In the meantime, the Stables Cafe is serving a limited range of homemade hot and cold food to take away only. All our food is available to order on the day of your visit.
Reopening Hestercombe throughout the pandemic
During the current lockdown, visitors must pre-book a gardens admission ticket online to visit the gardens, Stables Cafe and Plant Sales areas. When reopen, visits to Hestercombe House & Gallery will also need to be pre-booked before you arrive (same day bookings are now accepted). Find out more information about your visit.
The process of reopening Hestercombe following the national lockdown due to Covid-19 has been a slow, steady one, aimed at protecting the safety of our visitors and staff. The gardens reopened in mid-June with a range of Covid-safe measures in place, such as one way systems around the gardens, timed entry slots with limited capacity, food pre-ordering and socially distanced tables, and hourly toilet sanitation.
Hestercombe House, as an indoor venue, has been subject to more stringent government limitations on health and safety. Our volunteers – who are crucial to the successful operation of the House – have been consulted and a reopening strategy developed in conjunction with them.
Please help us keep Hestercombe open
Over the last 30 years Hestercombe’s historic landscape and its unique, world famous gardens have been lovingly restored.
However, Hestercombe’s closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Hestercombe Gardens Trust’s finances. We’re an independent charity without the safety net of larger organisations, and we must now raise substantial funds to ensure Hestercombe continues to thrive and to help secure its magnificent heritage for future generations.
We would be incredibly grateful for any donation that you are able to give. Thank you.
If you are a UK taxpayer and you select ‘Please Gift Aid this donation’, the UK Government will give Hestercombe Gardens Trust an additional contribution of 25% at no extra cost to you.
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