The 1620s House and Gardens is now closed for the season. We hope to reopen in April 2021.
Coronavirus (covid-19) update
Focusing on the health and wellbeing of our staff and customers is our top priority. In line with national guidance and government recommendations we have suspended our winter activity programme until further notice. We hope to create some online events and activities instead.
Caring about your safety
To help you feel safer visiting us, we have:
- Undertaken full risk assessments against national Covid-19 guidance.
- Introduced admission only by pre-booked ticket; for now you can’t just turn up on the day.
- Introduced bookable time slots for entry so that your arrival is spaced out from others.
- Allowed one booking of up to 6 people or up to 8 people from the same social bubble for each time slot, meaning you are in control of who you book with from your social bubble and the number of people on site is managed and controlled. We encourage all our customers to place bookings in line with all Government regulation, advice and guidance in force.
- We are accepting contactless card payment only, creating a cashless environment.
- Put in Safety screens at till points to increase protection at key points.
- Installed public hand sanitising points and an increased cleaning regime.
- Created one-way systems operating where possible, as well as signage to guide you.
- Operating a one in / one out policy on all toilet facilities.
In return, we ask that you help us by:
- Wearing a face covering when inside any of our buildings
- Maintaining 2m social distancing from other visitors, staff and volunteers.
- Washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds or more and particularly after contacting surfaces in public areas.
- Using the hand sanitiser provided at every opportunity
- Following any one-way systems and respect new signage or verbal instructions.
- Taking personal responsibility for managing any children who are part of your booking, to ensure that they observe social distancing and good hygiene practice.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should I allow for my visit?
We anticipate you will need around 45 minutes to enjoy the House. Under the current circumstances, please make the most of your allocated time because we are not able to allow you to re-enter after your time slot, however, in order to manage social distancing and the flow of all customers who have booked, we also ask that you are mindful of maintaining your own progress through the House.
Once you have visited the house you are welcome to stay up to an hour in the gardens and tea room (once open), which can accommodate more people and will allow you to maintain social distance from other customers.
Can I turn up on the day and buy a ticket?
Entry to our site is currently only by pre-booked ticket. We have introduced bookable time slots in order to manage the arrival of groups of customers during opening times. Unfortunately, if you turn up without a pre-booked ticket, we cannot guarantee entry.
Can I go into the house at any time?
Unfortunately, due to current guidance and restrictions, it is not possible to allow you entry to the house at times other than your booked time slot. It is also not possible to allow you re-admission after your time slot, without you booking a new time slot. Once you have visited the house during your allocated time slot you may stay on site for another hour to visit the garden and tea room (once open). Your first admission ticket becomes an annual return pass for the next 12 months, so you are welcome to re-book a return visit at a later date, if you wish.
Do I have to book a time slot for under 3s and Carers?
Yes, as both tickets need to be counted for us to manage the number of people in each booking slot, up to a maximum of 8 people.
What if I have already bought a ticket in the past that is still valid for free admission?
You are welcome to visit us on your return ticket, but you will need to pre-book a time slot. You will see that return visit tickets are shown on our booking site, so you will need to select all those that apply to your visit. Please make sure that you bring your original proof of purchase with you on your visit date as you will be asked to show this to validate the return. The proof of purchase will be your souvenir ticket from your first visit. If you no longer have this, unfortunately, you will need to purchase a new ticket at the normal price. The return ticket will be valid for its original duration.
Can I cancel or change my time slot?
Unfortunately, once your time slot is booked, we are unable to change it, so please make sure that you check the date and time you have selected before you confirm your order.
Are group rates available?
If you are wanting to bring a group of 10 or more to the site please ring us to discuss requirements.
When should I arrive for my visit?
To ensure social distancing is managed, please do not arrive for your booked time slot early. You should aim to arrive at the admission point at the time of your booking, so please allow yourself time to walk from car parking to the admission point. Once you have entered the house, you will not be allowed to exit and return at a later time, so please also make sure that you leave time before your arrival time to use the toilet facilities, if required. Our toilets are situated a short distance from the main House, near The Barn Coffee Shop, or a disabled toilet is situated at the entry point to the House.
Are your customer toilet facilities open?
Yes, our customer toilet facilities are open for use. Once you have entered the house, you will not be allowed to exit and return at a later time, so please make sure you use the toilets, if you need to, before you start your house visit.
Our toilet facilities are currently operating on a one-in/one-out basis, so please also be aware that you will need to ‘call-out’ before entering the toilet to ensure no other customers are using the facility. The toilets remain in use as male / female, unless specifically designated as unisex.
Are you following 1m or 2m social distancing?
We have decided to work to 2m social distancing at the current time. We would ask you to try to maintain 2m social distance from other customers and staff at all times. We have one-way systems in operation to help with this, but please be considerate to others.
Will I meet other customers while in the House?
We have introduced bookable time slots that allow only one booking of up to 6 people or up to 8 people from a household or support bubble at each time. We hope this will help with the flow of customers around our site. We would also ask you to follow the flow around the House and not to make u-turns that could mean you meet the following customer group. However, if you meet other customers while you visit, we would ask that you respect the 2m social distancing rule and be considerate to others.
As well as re-opening to bookings by the public, we are also now working to accommodate school and pre-booked, larger groups. Please be assured that in these cases, House admission time slots will be in place to manage their flow in the same way. However, please be mindful that on the day of your visit you may see some larger groups in outdoor spaces, as well as managed groups, including school children in the House.
Will I be able to touch the objects in the House?
All non-essential hands-on objects, such as the dressing up clothes, have been removed from the house to prevent spread of infection, but the House is still laid out in the manner that the inhabitants of the 1620s might have been familiar with. We would encourage visitors not to touch objects or furniture during their visit. Regular use of hand sanitiser and hand washing for at least 20 seconds is encouraged where possible. Sanitisation stations are available at key locations in the house, including the stair cases, should you not have your own hand sanitiser. Our volunteers will be able to show you certain objects that you may want to see closer.
Will the gardens be as I remember them?
No gardening could be done during the lockdown period and the weather encouraged energetic growth of garden plants and weeds alike, while other areas were not planted up. The garden volunteer team has been working extremely hard since mid July to reclaim the gardens from nature.
I cannot get up the steep stairs, what facilities are there to show me what is on the first floor?
Visitors who cannot climb the stairs to the first floor will make their way from the dairy to the scullery and kitchen and then in the buttery, which is not otherwise publicly accessible, will be shown how to use a sanitised digital tablet, which contains a series of short films about each upstairs room and also shows photos of the house before redevelopment. This will be sanitised again after use. Visitors will be issued a sanitised stylus for this.
Will there be catering facilities available?
We are working on The Old Barn Coffee Shop opening with a limited menu on the 17th September. Food and drink must be consumed at the tables outside. Please check the website for any specific messages relating to The Barn Coffee Shop, or contact us on 01455 290 429
Do I need to wear a face covering?
Following current Government guidance, you will be required to wear a face covering while inside any of our buildings, unless there is a reason why this should not be the case, or in the case of children under 11, who are not required to wear a face covering. Circumstances when a face covering may not be required include:
- If a customer cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.
- If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause the customer severe discomfort
- If a customer is speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate.
- To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others.
Due to other measures in place, such as Perspex screens at till points, in line with current Government guidance, staff and people acting on our behalf, for example, volunteers and performers, who are working inside, will not be wearing face coverings unless they have made a personal choice to do so. In some instances, a visor may be used by volunteers / performers based on personal circumstance or choice.
If you see a customer who is not wearing a face covering, please respect that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.
Will you be undertaking additional cleaning of the public spaces?
As well as our normal programme of keeping the exhibition clean, additional sanitisation of key areas such as interactive elements, handrails and seats will be undertaken before opening, at intervals throughout the day and after closing.
What if I need first aid, or there is an emergency?
In these uncommon circumstances, we have revised our procedures and are following guidance on the use of Personal Protective Equipment. Our Front of House staff are aware of these new procedures and will issue appropriate instructions to visitors if required.
Can I visit if I have been in contact with someone with suspected symptoms of Covid-19, or have the symptoms myself?
In line with Government advice you should not visit if you believe you may have come into contact with someone with suspected symptoms of Covid-19, or you believe you have the symptoms yourself. You should stay at home and isolate yourself, seeking advice from the NHS 111 service.
What should I do if I develop symptoms within 14 days of my visit?
Please contact us to let us know so that we can manage this with the national track & trace process.
As part of the booking process, you will be asked to provide your contact details, including name, address, telephone number and e-mail. We will hold these details in our electronic booking system in order that they can be provided to the track & trace process, if required.
For Booking T&Cs click here
About the 1620s site
The 1620s House and Garden at Donington le Heath, formerly Donington le Heath Manor House, has undergone a stunning refurbishment in order to tell the story of its former owners and residents.
This rare and beautiful house is a surviving example of a family home built in the 13th century and then modernised in 1618. The house has been home to many families over its 700 year history, but the Digby family, which included the Gunpowder Plotter Sir Everard Digby, lived in the house for over two hundred years. It is towards the end of the Digby ownership that the newly refurbished house is focused, showing how people lived in late Elizabethan and early Jacobean times.
Visitors can now see the beautifully restored period rooms and talk to our volunteers about the history of the house, the families that lived here and about life in the 1620s. The house is set in beautiful 17th century style gardens with labelled plants and flowers, an orchard, herb gardens and a maze.
Visitors can also enjoy light refreshments in the tea room, where a range of merchandise is also available.
The site will continue its lively series of events that use re-enactment, crafts, hands-on activities, drama and specialist demonstrations to interpret the history of the site and life at the time.
To read a brief summary of each room Click HERE.
Please note that the last admission to the House & Garden is currently 2.30 pm