THE NATIONAL Trust is gearing up to open its houses and properties when restrictions are lifted on Monday.

National Trust houses and other properties in England are set to start reopening their doors to visitors from May 17 following the Government’s easing of Covid restrictions.

In Sussex, Standen House near East Grinstead is set to reopen, as well as Nymans near Haywards Heath and Petworth House.

The Argus: The South Front and garden at Standen, West SussexThe South Front and garden at Standen, West Sussex

The medieval thatched Alfriston Clergy House is also set to open its doors again, alongside Monk’s House, Lewes and the towers of Bodiam Castle.

Staff and volunteers are said to have been working hard behind the scenes to get properties ready to reopen safely with social distancing in place.

Hilary McGrady, Director General, National Trust said: “This is a big moment that we have all looked forward to for months as we welcome people back safely, to spend time together at their favourite properties.

The Argus: Colourful poppies in the cottage garden at Alfriston Clergy House in East Sussex Colourful poppies in the cottage garden at Alfriston Clergy House in East Sussex

“Hundreds of our parks, gardens and countryside locations have already reopened, but we know how much our members and supporters have been looking forward to returning to see our houses and collections again."

Some small properties or rooms which can’t accommodate social distancing will reopen later once Covid restrictions are lifted or when repair or redisplay work is completed.

The reopening of houses also coincides with the Trust’s focus this year on its collections and the one million items it looks after, with many properties featuring in a new book celebrating 125 treasures in the charity’s care.

Hilary said: "Our places are nothing without our visitors there to enjoy them and our staff and volunteers have been working hard behind the scenes, cleaning chandeliers, polishing floors and dusting books, to get everything ready.

"It is a matter of huge relief, pride and gratitude that the places in our care can start to reopen following closure due to the pandemic. Not a single place will be lost to the public. The cultural treasures that are our shared inheritance are waiting – for everyone.”