THE joys of late spring/early summer can be enjoyed in the delightful surrounds of a medieval manor house and its themed gardens once again, from Monday.

Following a ten-week forced closure due to coronavirus, Crook Hall and Gardens in Durham has been given the go ahead to re-open.

Owners Maggie and Keith Bell have, however, warned they are taking “tentative steps” to emerge from lockdown and welcome the first visitors since late-March.

But Mrs Bell said she is thrilled to be opening the Grade I-listed hall and gardens to the public, once more.

“I feel quite emotional. I think I might cry when the first visitor steps in!

“We’ve been busy implementing changes to safeguard the safety of our staff and customers, so things will look a little different.

“Guests will be being required to follow social distancing guidelines, but with over ten acres to explore that should not be a problem.

“The maze won’t be open until more restrictions are lifted, and the house will remain closed in accordance with Government advice.”

Mrs Bell, who lives at the hall, said the gardens look, “absolutely beautfiful”.

“The last few months have been very difficult, and strange, as we are used to sharing the gardens with our visitors.

“We miss them and we can’t wait to welcome them back.”

She said when the closure was forced in line with guidance on Friday March 20, a wedding was being planned on the Saturday and a busy Mother’s Day, with afternoon teas, the following day.

“It seemed surreal. Looking back, I think I was in a state of shock but at that point there was no time for panic.

“Our fabulous staff swung straight into action.

“The priority was to contact the couple who were due to be married the next day and make a new plan, then we got in touch with all our afternoon tea guests to offer them vouchers or takeaways.

“In the end the wedding was fabulous and Mother’s Day was a great success, but boy was it stressful!”

The attraction has since remained closed, with staff furloughed and weddings and other events postponed.

Re-opening details are available by email to info@crookhallgardens.co.uk, or by ringing 0191-384 8028.