AN historic country house opens its doors again after the coronavirus crisis.

After five months, Hestercombe House is set to open to the public this Friday (September 4).

Hestercombe Gallery indoor exhibitions and the second-hand bookshop will also be reopening.

To help maintain social distancing, Hestercombe will be opening a ‘pop-up’ gift shop in the Column Room.

Both Hestercombe Gallery exhibitions will reopen - Most Admirably Improved by Art, which will run until late September and Coplestone Warre Bampfylde: A Gentleman of Taste, which will be on show until February 2021.

The bookshop will now open, but there will be a limited number of visitors allowed in and the front of house volunteers will manage all the visits.

Hestercombe are also accepting book donations again, between 11am and 3pm from Wednesday until Saturday.

A spokesperson for Hestercombe said: “The process of reopening Hestercombe following the national lockdown due to Covid-19 has been a slow, steady one, aimed at protecting the safety of our visitors and staff.

“The gardens reopened in mid-June with a range of Covid-safe measures in place, such as one way systems around the gardens, timed entry slots with limited capacity, food pre-ordering and socially distanced tables, and hourly toilet sanitation.

“Hestercombe House, as an indoor venue, has been subject to more stringent government limitations on health and safety. Our volunteers – who are crucial to the successful operation of the House – have been consulted and a reopening strategy developed in conjunction with them.”

Somerset County Gazette: The gardens re-opened mid-June after lockdown restrictions lifted The gardens re-opened mid-June after lockdown restrictions lifted

The Column Room Restaurant remains closed due to Hestercombe still operating with just a fraction of its usual staff members.

Afternoon tea, picnic and ploughmans boxes for two are still available from the Stables Cafe.

Visitors will not need to book a gardens admission ticket to visit the Stables Cafe and Plant Sales area, as Visitor Reception staff are moving back into the Ticket Office.

However visits to the gardens and Hestercombe House & Gallery will still need to be pre-booked online by 5pm on the day before you wish to visit.

To find out more or to book tickets visit or call 01823 413923.