All visits to Hestercombe must be pre-booked ~ Book your gardens admission

Hestercombe House reopens following the Covid-19 pandemic

Having been closed from late March 2020 due to Covid-19, we are delighted to share the news that Hestercombe House is now open.

On Friday 4th and Saturday 5th September, the House trialled the Covid-safe measures that were put into place, and is now open from Wednesday to Sunday each week, 11am – 3pm.

To visit Hestercombe House and Gallery, you will need to book a gardens admission ticket, which will also give you entry to Open-Up, a new series of outdoor artworks commissioned by Hestercombe Gallery in response to Covid-19 pandemic, including work by celebrated sculptor Richard Long.

There will be some changes to your visit to Hestercombe House, 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 will be creating a ‘pop-up’ shop in the Column Room, selling a wide variety of gifts and other items.

Dogs will be allowed into the Pop-up Shop in the Column Room.

The magnificent equestrian self-portrait by Coplestone Warre Bampfylde and Richard Phelps, 1747 - part of the Bampfylde 300 celebrations at HestercombeHestercombe Gallery

We are 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 will be open until late September (when artworks need to be returned to their owners), and the latter will continue until February 2021.

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.

Second-hand bookshop

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 will be allowed into the Bookshop.

Book donations

If you would like to make a donation of books, please email Linda Sandford or phone 01823 413923 before your visit so that we can make the necessary preparations.

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.

Treat yourself to an afternoon tea for 2 from the Stables CafeThe 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, Afternoon Teas, Savoury Teas, Cream Teas and a range of hot and cold food from the Garden, from the Farm, from the Field and from the Sea are all available from the Stables Kitchen on the day of your visit.

Hestercombe House with the East Rill of the formal gardensReopening Hestercombe

Visitors now do not need to book a gardens admission ticket to visit the Stables Cafe and Plant Sales area. However visits to the gardens and Hestercombe House & Gallery will still need to be pre-booked online 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.

Book your visit

You can book your visit via the button below.

Book your tickets now