Staying indoors for most of the day during lockdown has made many of us realise just how much we value nature. Being able to buy plants online affordably has been a source of comfort, but if you're not lucky enough to have a private garden, even a tiny one, the pull of public parks, commons and botanical gardens is very real.
So it's exciting to hear that some of the UK's most beautiful gardens are preparing to reopen following coronavirus closures. The world-famous Kew Gardens in London has confirmed that visitors will be welcome again from Monday 1st June – albeit with social distancing restrictions in place.
To prevent overcrowding, visitors will have to pre-book a time slot before arriving at Kew, otherwise they'll be turned away at the gates. Kew Gardens adds: "You must only come to our gardens if you can walk, cycle or drive here safely, and don’t forget that you should only bring people who live with you as your guests."
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is also reopening its four public gardens on Monday 1st June. Visitors will be able to explore Wisley Garden in Surrey, Rosemoor Garden in Devon, Hyde Hall in Essex and Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire once more, but only if they pre-book a time slot.
The National Trust, which owns more than 500 historic houses and gardens in the UK, is also beginning a "phased reopening of its gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland" from Wednesday 3rd June. Once again, pre-booking will be essential to ensure visitors can maintain social distancing while exploring the gardens.
The National Trust's director general Helen McGrady said in a statement: "Reopening is the first phase of our recovery, and we need our members and supporters to help us make this gradual transition a success so we can get back to offering nature, beauty and history for everyone."