Historic buildings primped and preened ahead of grand reopenings

Historic buildings are being primped and preened ahead of reopening to the public on Monday.

Cinemas, museums, theatres and concert halls in England will be allowed to reopen from May 17 under step three on the road map out of lockdown.

Dozens of English Heritage sites will be among venues welcoming visitors indoors, with 23 properties opening for the first time in 2021.

Coronavirus – Thu May 13, 2021
An English Heritage conservator cleans a glass from the dining table inside the Durbar room at Osborne on the Isle of Wight (Andrew Matthews/PA)

English Heritage conservators have reset the dining table inside the Durbar room at Osborne on the Isle of Wight and ensured the glassware is sparkling.

Osborne offers an insight into the lives of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who created the palatial house as their family holiday home – complete with beach, grounds and gardens, and the stately Durbar room, inspired by the Queen’s passion for India.

From next week, visitors can explore the ground floor state rooms, and see objects and artwork from the Royal Collection Trust.

Coronavirus – Thu May 13, 2021
Paul Fretwell cleans the silver in the Dining Room at Eltham Palace in London (Ian West/PA)

Meanwhile, dust sheets have been pulled off the furniture in the Grand Entrance at Eltham Palace in London as it prepares to reopen to the public.

Once a favoured medieval palace and then a Tudor royal residence, Eltham Palace was transformed in the 1930s by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld into a stylish art-deco home incorporating original medieval features.

Kate Logan, head of historic properties for English Heritage, said: “We are thrilled to finally be opening our doors up to the public again and once again bringing to life the fascinating stories inside all these amazing places.

“We’re confident it’s the start of a great summer season.”

Coronavirus – Thu May 13, 2021
The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire open the gates to Chatsworth House in Bakewell, Derbyshire (Danny Lawson/PA)

Elsewhere, Chatsworth House in Bakewell, Derbyshire, will reopen on Tuesday with two medieval masterpieces returning after more than 60 years and going on display to visitors for one season only.

Chatsworth is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family.