We have always loved a visit to Newby Hall every Summer, and we had hoped that this Summer would be no exception. When Covid-19 hit, we realised that Summer would look very very different, but we were still hopeful that we would be able to get out and about in the grounds of all of the beautiful places that we are so lucky to have in around Ripon, Harrogate and York.
When Newby Hall announced that the gardens would be open from 6th June and that there would be a discounted ticket price we knew that it was somewhere we needed to check out to see how our experience would be affected by the new health and safety measures that are required in the new 'normal'.
Our experience was overwhelmingly positive, and the worry that somehow it would wouldn't be the same, was dispelled from our minds once we saw the gentle and subtle changes that had been made. A friendly member of staff met us at the entrance to give us the low down and to ask us to queue with 2 metre distancing to get in through the entrance. Newby Hall has always had separate entrance and exit routes, so the only change here was that the shop was closed, so exit was through the gate next to it.
A board next to the entrance gave us the heads up on all the lovely things to look for, and we also had a map to find our way around. Staff in visors are around to help out and provide hand wash and there is a clear perspex sheet at the food kiosk keeping everyone safe both inside and out with cakes, ice cream and hot and cold drinks.
The gardens are looking absolutely beautiful and an area I had not seen before has been cleared to the left of the house as you are looking up at it. It's almost a fairy garden, with rocks, plants, trees and different levels for the children to explore. We found some beautiful shell mosaics that we had never seen before (I won't tell you where they are, it would take the fun out of it!) and it was a throughly chilled experience just taking in the beautiful gardens and scenery.
We were able to bring a picnic in and sit in the area in front of the restaurant, which worked really well. Once again staff were on hand cleaning and clearing the benches between people using them. The toilets also had an effective queueing system to ensure social distancing, and staff and volunteers throughout the gardens made us feel safe and welcome.
I would highly recommend a visit, particularly as the adventure playground and the train are now back open, so there's so much for kids to do. There's so much space here that you can find your own little area if you are anxious about being around people and you can take the gardens in at your own pace.
For more information and pre-book tickets visit www.newbyhall.com.