Following the updated government advice on 23rd May (“Coronavirus – guidance on accessing green spaces safely”), The Bishop’s Palace Gardens will open to the public for the first time in over two months at 12pm on Sunday 24th May.
The first day, Sunday 24th May, will be reserved for Members only, in order to limit numbers, say thank you to loyal members, and to debut the new safety measures that have been put in place.
The new guidance states “In England you may now visit gardens and land maintained for public use as an alternative open space to spend time outdoors [… ] access may be limited to members or those with tickets to ensure social distancing”.
The Gardens will open to the general public from 10am on Monday 25th May and the Palace has decided to introduce a new type of ticket, designed to encourage local people to visit the site regularly throughout the year. The new Adult ticket, which is to be known as “The People’s Ticket” will be an annual return ticket costing £15 and will allow the user to return as many times as they wish for a period of 12 months. The Child ticket (5-17 yrs) will cost £7.50.
Chief Executive Rosie Martin says “We are delighted to be able to open the famous Drawbridge gates once again, as the Gardens are looking absolutely spectacular right now, thanks to the hard work of James Cross and his much reduced team during lockdown. We know that many local people are looking for new outdoor spaces to explore at this time and we wanted to make it easier and more affordable for them to be able to enjoy the health benefits of the beauty, peace and tranquillity of this special place all year round. With over 56,500m2 of gardens here, we know that we can easily follow the guidelines for social distancing and keep people safe.”
Staff at the Palace have spent the last two weeks preparing the site for a possible re-opening, and a new one-way system has been put in place to enable social distancing in the Gardens and upon entry. Visitors will be asked to follow the white markings on the floor and to read the signs as they make their way around the site. The new People’s ticket can be purchased online or at a distance on site, using contactless payment through a screen. Palace Staff will be actively enforcing the social distancing measures throughout the site and visitors will be politely reminded to comply at all times.