Just as we began to celebrate ten years since the house and garden fully opened to the public, we find ourselves closing our doors.
We know you have questions for us. Hopefully, this will help to inform and reassure you.
Last updated: 20th May 2020
Why is Winterbourne House and Garden closed?
The University of Birmingham has followed government advice, and moved the whole of its campus to ‘restricted operations’ since 23 March 2020. This means only essential services are remaining open – like research laboratories working on a vaccine against Covid-19, or staff supporting the small number of students who are still in residence.
Of course, we think what Winterbourne does is essential. Initially, we hoped to keep the garden open as a sanctuary for key workers who remain on campus or who are working at the nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and of course our members. However, ultimately we felt this was not a responsible way to uphold the safe levels of social distancing recommended by government.
We have a duty of care to all our visitors and staff: you will always be our priority. In the best interests of everyone who cares for Winterbourne House and Garden, we are now closed until further notice.
When will Winterbourne House and Garden be open again?
The University Campus is currently closed in line with Government guidelines. We await instruction for when we are able to open again under the Governments plan in easing the lock down.
We look forward to opening the house and garden again, whilst ensuring it is safe for our staff and visitors to enjoy and we’ll update this page with new opening information as soon as we have it.
I was booked on an event, talk or workshop. Are events cancelled? Can I get a refund?
Regrettably, all events, talks and workshops taking place before 1 September 2020 are now cancelled.
If you have pre-booked, you will be refunded.
Unfortunately we are unable to process refunds remotely but rest assured they will be issued as soon as we are able to return to the office.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
I have a Travelzoo voucher for Winterbourne House and Garden. Can I still use it?
The redemption period for Travelzoo vouchers has been extended to 22 December 2020.
How can I stay updated about Winterbourne House and Garden?
As a team of gardeners and curators, we love to share everyday stories from our daily routine here. Although that routine is now very different, we’d still like to share news and expertise with you.
If you’re already subscribed to our emails, these will now become more regular. If you’d like a weekly update, subscribe to emails now.
We’ll also be doing more on our social media channels, which means you can talk to us. Look out for our weekly ‘Ask a Gardener’ posts, where the gardening team will be able to give you expert advice on how to care for your outdoor space, however large or small. You don’t need a Facebook or Twitter account to see what we’re posting: just follow the links.
What will happen to the garden? Who will maintain the plants?
A member of the gardening team will be on site daily to ensure the house and garden are secure and to keep the collection alive.
This is obviously far less care than we would normally expend on the garden. However, we are a passionate, professional team who nurture this important, historic botanic garden and its collection all year round. We will do the very best we can, for as long as we need to.
What about my Winterbourne membership?
During these challenging times, your support is more important to us than ever. As you may imagine, much of our annual income is from admissions. This income all goes back into Winterbourne – to maintaining the garden and the plant collection; and maintaining the estate and the museum collection. With no admissions, this becomes much harder.
While we can’t promise ‘usual service’, we’ll be keeping in touch with all our members with more regular emails, and lots of news from the garden team on our digital channels.
We hope you will wish to continue supporting us, and will wish renew your annual membership as usual.
A letter will be sent out to all Members in June with details on how they can extend their Membership in lieu of the lock down closure.
How can I continue to support you?
Thank you for thinking of us. Being closed during our busiest months of the year means that we need your support more than ever in fundraising to continue the essential maintenance and upkeep of Winterbourne House and Garden, plus make headway with our projects, such as restoration of our important nursery glasshouses.
You can make a donation online via our Just Giving page or our website . You might like to dedicate a tree to a special person, or to mark an event.
We are, as ever, truly appreciative of your support.