AS TOURIST attractions are closing across the nation, Newby Hall Gardens is still hoping to open on April 1.

The open air attraction hopes to allow visitors to enjoy its gardens and miniature railway, and has taken extra precautions to protect people from the coronavirus.

For safety reasons, the house is closed to visitors and tours, along with the Dollshouse Exhibition, Teddy Bear House and Tarantella water play area.

A spokeswoman for Newby Hall said: "At present, we are trying to adapt and react to help limit the spread of the virus. We have had to take some difficult decisions in order to protect the health and wellbeing of our visitors and staff. The gardens, adventure playground, miniature train and railway shop will remain open.

Matt Gray, who looks after every aspect of the trains and miniature railway at Newby Hall & Gardens oversees an extensive programme of refurbishment of all the trains, but particularly the Royal Scot, Newby's 10 1/4 gauge miniature steam locomotive.

Over the winter Matt takes the boiler off, which is cleaned and tested, refurbishes the wheel bearings ad motion bearings, fixes all the pipe work puts it back and tests before giving everything a clean and polish ready for visitors, over 40,000 of whom take a ride on the train every season.

This year, despite everything, the railway will be running, but with added social distancing measures, so that our visitors do not have to miss out on one of the highlights of a visit to Newby!

The Railway first opened in 1971 by Lord Mountbatten of Burma, originally an end to end line, built by Cromar White. The line, now extended runs parallel to the river in the shape of a dumb-bell loop and operates every day of the season. Locomotives used on the railway are two Severn Lamb Western gas locomotives as well as the Royal Scot steam locomotive seen here.

For up to date details about the opening visit