Washington Old Hall to open for the first time in over a year - with a spooky new attraction
Washington Old Hall is to finally reopen more than a year after it last received visitors - and it has a new attraction.
The ancestral home of first US president George Washington opens again on Friday, May 21. The venue, which dates back to the 12th Century, has not opened since the first lockdown was announced in March 2020.
Unlike other visitor attractions the National Trust property has not been able to partially reopen. Its only guest in the last 14 months was local architect and broadcaster George Clarke, who was filming for a Channel 4 documentary.
There have been some changes, but after being closed for so long staff are looking forward to welcoming people back. Both staff and volunteers have been working behind the scenes to get the place ready. The garden is as beautiful as ever.
For safety reasons the number of visitors allowed at any one time is limited and pre-booking is recommended.
There is no longer a cafe, but plenty of places to eat nearby. The Friends of Washington Old Hall group will continue to open their gift shop.
A new art installation brings together historical and mythical characters connected to the building including George Washington himself. Visitors will see a grand banquet table laden with food.
Seated there are a group of notable characters associated with Washington Old Hall over its centuries of history.
Alongside George Washington is the White Lady whose ghost is said to haunt the building, the Lady of Hertbern who may have lived on the site as early as the 13th Century and the Green Man, a mythological character usually associated with springtime and rebirth.
Operations manager at Washington Old Hall, Sarah Murray, said: “This really will be a vibrant, sensory experience for people who visit here. It’s theatrical, playful and a little bit dark in places.
“We wanted to make a shift in the way we tell the story of Washington Old Hall and the people who are associated with it, and this artwork is not like anything people will have seen here before.”
Opening hours are 10am to 5pm, Friday to Monday, closed Tuesday to Thursday. Admission is £5 for adults, £2.50 for children, although cheaper deals are possible. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/washington-old-hall.