Restrictions are Relaxed at NT Properties

National Trust Logo
National Trust Logo

Below is a message that SoFA has received from Danielle Albracht, Supporter Group Development Manager, National Trust that restrictions are relaxed at their properties. Here is a link to the list of our local properties.

Dear Supporter Group

I hope this email finds you well. We have tried to keep you updated and informed throughout the pandemic, and in that spirit, I have compiled what I hope will be useful information about changes that came into effect from 19 July 2021, including a note on group size for NTV groups.

Please continue to refer to the National Trust website as further changes to Covid restrictions are announced in each of the nations. There you can read our latest Covid statement and find more information on our coronavirus FAQs page.

General visiting information:

Our gardens, parks, cafés, shops, countryside locations and many houses are open. Please check our website for visiting and booking information and visit the property webpage to see which facilities will be open for your visit.

Restrictions vary in England, Wales and Northern Ireland so please follow the latest government guidance for the country you’re visiting.

If you’re showing any of the symptoms of coronavirus, or if you’ve been in contact with anyone that has the virus in the last 10 days, please don’t visit.


From 19 July 2021, you’ll no longer need to pre-book your visit to many places in England. For smaller properties where booking has been introduced for guided tours, or to manage visitor numbers for other reasons, booking is still required. Pre-booking is also still required for some places in Wales and Northern Ireland so please check our website before you travel.

During your visit:

Following government guidance, we’ve lifted social distancing rules and other Covid restrictions in England. The safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff remains our top priority. We’ll continue to provide hand sanitiser and stick to our high standards of cleanliness, and face coverings are recommended in enclosed and crowded areas.

For NTV groups:

The previous limit of 30 people for volunteer parties has been lifted in England but remains for the moment in Wales and Northern Ireland. Please be mindful that it is the property’s decision as to when they will bring group volunteers back based on a number of factors including where there have been changes caused by the Reset programme and risk assessments which will be in line with covid-safe working. There may be places where teams are not in a position to restart group volunteering at this time, or they aren’t able to accommodate a larger volunteer party. If this is the case for any of your local properties, we ask for your continued patience. Please get in touch with your local property ranger teams to explore possible volunteering dates.

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve stuck closely to government and devolved assemblies’ guidelines, and the safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers remains our top priority. Thank you for showing others kindness and respect as we move forward into this next phase together.

Best regards,


SoFA Holiday in Norfolk

Members memories of a SoFA holiday in Norfolk

Write-up by Jean Higson – Part one

Ian and I have been on several holidays now with SoFA. We’ve visited The Severn Valley, Thursford, Cardiff, The Cotswolds, Kent, Norfolk, Durham and Devon. Now we have been asked to write about our favourite holiday. This was not an easy task as we have enjoyed them all. We finally narrowed it down to the two holidays in 2018.

The first SoFA holiday was in June to Norfolk and we stayed at the lovely Dunstan Hall Hotel. It was an interesting itinerary and we began with a full day at the Queens Estate in Sandringham where the Royal Family spend Christmas. We looked round the church where the Royal Family worship on Christmas morning. Then we had a tour of the house and the museum. We were then free to explore the wonderful gardens. The weather was glorious, and the temperature reached 27°C that day!

Sandringham, Norfolk, Southport and Formby Association

Next day we went to the Bure Valley Railway and travelled by narrow gauge steam train from Aylsham to Wroxham. After a light lunch we had a relaxing two hour cruise on the Norfolk Broads with an entertaining live commentary. We then had some free time to explore the pretty village of Wroxham, or to sit and enjoy a drink (or two?) watching the swans on the meandering River Bure.

That evening we met for pre-dinner drinks in the bar and then the hotel served a delicious carvery for dinner.

On our final full day, we visited Oxburgh Hall, a National Trust property. It is an attractive moated country house built for Edmund Bedingfeld. We then had free time in the city of Norwich. Some people looked round the cathedral, others enjoyed the open top bus tour.

All the holidays have had the most interesting itineraries, with lots of variety. These have been planned and organised by Michael Rofe, his wife Jean and Airedale Travel. We would like to thank Michael, Jean and Airedale Travel for arranging all these excellent holidays. They don’t just happen, they take a lot of planning and we appreciate it.

As a Member of the Southport and Formby Association you are able to go on these holidays. If you are interested in joining, please complete the SoFA contact form.

Jean & Ian Higson