For the last six years (2014/5, 2015/6, 2016/7 (either didn’t do it or forgot to write about it that year), 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20) we have always got out over the Christmas/New Year period to blow away some cobwebs and maximise our investment in our National Trust membership.
This year it was a bit different (yes that Covid thing again). This year you couldn’t just rock up, hand over your card and expect entrance. In the times of the great pandemic that would get your turned away at the door. No, this year you had to pre-book a timed slot with tickets going on “sale” on 18th December.
Say what you like about National Trust members but they are willing to get up early to get what they want. Ticket booking was being handled by Eventbrite and at 7am on the 18th I went to try and get tickets and was presented with the following:
Turns out that getting tickets to the National Trust this year was going to be more akin to scoring tickets for the men’s singles final at Wimbledon.
Eventually I managed to get a couple of places booked that we wanted to visit: Cliveden and The Vyne. At the point of booking we were “only” in tier-3 but by the time we went our area had been bumped up to tier-4. You can still go out to exercise but are not supposed to travel too far. Of course the government hasn’t actually said what “too far” means so is very much open to interpretation. However, both our journeys were about half an hour and we felt that if a scotch egg could be considered a “substantial meal” then this distance would be fine.
The numbers being allowed entry to each property seem to be restricted, although not as much as previously, and this meant that we had a very quiet walk around both places although The Vyne was a bit of a quagmire.
So that was our National Trust trips for the 2020/21 season – a pathetic two. Let’s hope for better things this time next year.