The director general of the National Trust, Hilary McGrady, has called for people across the UK to stay at home this Easter.
She’s urging people to continue adhering to measures in the collective national effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
The hundreds of houses, gardens and outdoor beauty spots in the National Trust’s care are traditionally a magnet for tourists over Easter weekend.
While the charities properties remain closed, the charity hopes people will still celebrate Easter and spring traditions.
The trust recently launched a year of action to tackle ‘nature deficiency’, building on research in collaboration with Derby University which showed that children and adults who mark natural events and observe the daily and seasonal rhythms of nature are more likely to take action to protect nature – as well as reporting higher levels of wellbeing.
Hilary McGrady commented: “We know how sad our members and visitors are that they can’t travel to their favourite places to mark Easter and celebrate the arrival of spring this year.
“Our biggest priority has to be staying at home to help our NHS and keep ourselves and one another safe.
“During the closure we are still looking after the places people love, and we’re really looking forward to welcoming them back when it’s time.
“In the meantime, we’ve put together a new Easter experience with our members on our website so that people can stay connected to their favourite places and each other and create Easter memories in their own homes and gardens.”
Starting from this week, the charity will launch a new rolling programme of online content which will include an intergenerational ‘Great Easter Scavenger Hunt’.
Families – even those who are apart – can join in, find objects around their homes and gardens and share their photos and activities via the charity’s social media channels.
The trust’s website will feature free-to-access articles, podcasts, videos, tips and activities each week for all age groups.
These will include:
- showcases of historic treasures in the National Trust’s collection, from papier-mâché Easter eggs to 18th-century porcelain shepherds and shepherdesses
- exploring Easter traditions of the past and present such as egg rolling
- ideas for families – craft and activities to do in the garden
- expert gardening Q&A articles – spring flowers and house plants
- a weekend challenge bringing elements of a National Trust visit into family homes (including the chance to turn your hallway into a World Heritage Site!)
The National Trust is also calling on people to hold on to rainbow signs, letters and other pieces of ephemera from this extraordinary time.
McGrady said: “When this period in our lives is over, future generations will want to know about this time, and we may all need help to remember.
“Many people are creating time-capsules and writing letters to the future.
“We’d encourage people to hold onto the wonderful rainbow window signs that are appearing around the country, the messages people are sending one another, the pictures of neighbours sharing their appreciation for critical workers.”
The National Trust’s head of experiences and programming, Jessica Monaghan said: “During these extraordinary times, while people can’t visit us, we want to take National Trust experiences to them.
“We’ll be working hard to share the best of the trust with everyone, so that people can stay connected to nature and to their favourite places and have fun together.
“We have something for everyone – whether it’s our collections and houses you love and you want to enjoy them at home, or you’re looking for fun ways to connect with friends and family of all age groups.
“We hope we can help everyone stay close to the nature, beauty and history that the trust is here to look after.
“Our new activities are ones that everybody can do – whether that’s in their own front rooms or gardens – while sticking to the government guidelines.”