Visitor FAQs – reopening our museums and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last update: 22 October 2020.

The Royal Pavilion & Museums has been closely following the latest government advice and regulations in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Here you can find out which of our museums you can currently visit and what measures we are taking to protect the safety of our visitors and staff.

For further information you can contact our Visitor Services team between 9am and 5pm, Mondays to Fridays: 03000 290900 / info@rpmt.org.uk

Before you Arrive

Which of your sites are open?

We will only open sites when we are confident that they are safe for staff and visitors. 

The Royal Pavilion, Preston Manor  and Brighton Museum have reopened. Hove Museum and the Booth Museum of Natural History remain closed while we prepare our other museums to welcome back visitors and will reopen in 2021.

What are the planned opening times?

The Royal Pavilion is open everyday 10am-5.15pm (last admission at 4.30pm).

Preston Manor is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays 10am-5pm (last admission at 4.15pm); and on Sunday afternoons 12.45pm-3.30pm (last admission at 2.45pm).

Brighton Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays 10am-5pm.

Do I need to book in advance?

Yes. We have introduced timed ticket entry to ensure the safe distancing of visitors.

Tickets for the Royal Pavilion, Preston Manor and Brighton Museum are currently available for purchase.

Tickets can only be purchased up to two or three weeks in advance of your visit. This is so that we can be flexible in managing visitor numbers and respond to any changes in government advice.

Can I buy tickets on the day?

Yes. These are subject to availability and must be bought through our website or booking office.

We advise you to book at least 24 hours in advance.

Can I change the time and date of my booking?

Please contact the Visitor Services team before your booked time slot and we will rearrange your booking time.

What should I do if I become unwell before my visit? Can I receive a refund?

Please do not visit us if you become unwell with any symptoms of COVID-19 or have come into contact with anyone who may have symptoms.

Please contact the Visitor Services team before your booked time slot and we will refund your ticket or reschedule your booking.

I have a promotional voucher for the Royal Pavilion. Can I still use this?

From 1 September visitors with promotional vouchers/discounts can only book over the phone 03000 290900, with the exception of Art Fund members who can book online.  

I have a disability. How can I get help with planning my visit?

Please contact the Visitor Services team and they will be happy to answer any further questions you may have: 03000 290 900 / info@rpmt.org.uk

You can also find access statements for our museums on our website.

How will my personal data be used for the NHS Test and Trace scheme?

Should a visitor or member of staff become diagnosed with COVID-19, or one of our museums is identified as the possible source of a local outbreak, the NHS Test & Trace service may request your contact details. We are legally required to pass this information to the Test & Trace team, but only in response to a direct request and once we have verified that we have been approached by an NHS staff member.

From 24 September we will provide QR codes that can be scanned with the NHS Test & Trace app. The contact details you supply when you book may also be used for this purpose. If we admit visitors who have not booked in advance, we will keep a secure paper record of their contact details.

Our standard practice is to collect contact details from those booking tickets so that we may get in touch with them in the event of cancellation or respond to any complaints after the visit. We will hold this data for up to a year after your visit, so this practice will continue as usual. Paper records of visitors who have not pre-booked will be kept for 21 days in line with government guidance.

For group visits we will just record the details of the lead person in the group.

The Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust is the data controller for the contact information we collect. See our privacy pages for more information on how we process personal data and your rights over your data.

Are you still taking group bookings?

We are not taking bookings for any groups larger than six. We ask that you only attend with people that are already in your social bubble. Our new groups newsletter will keep you up with all the latest news about when we will be reopening for group bookings.

Can you accommodate school visits?

We are currently only taking provisional bookings for school visits from 1 November onwards. We will update this FAQ and our website with the latest information as soon as we have it.

Are any rooms closed?

In order to maintain social distancing some of our smaller rooms are closed.

In Brighton Museum the Egyptology and Archaeology galleries are currently closed. We are aware that these are family friendly galleries, so if you have children to entertain why not try Preston Manor instead? You can explore the most haunted house in Sussex and try our new family animal trail.

In the Royal Pavilion the tearoom and the Adelaide corridor that leads to it are closed.

On Arrival

What extra safety measures will be taken at your sites to ensure visitors and staff are protected?

The safety of our visitors and staff is our priority and we have implemented the following measures. 

  • We have put into place a system for advance booking only so we can ensure safe and socially distanced visits for everyone in individual time slots.
  • We will provide clear signage to facilitate social distancing for staff and visitors.
  • Screens will protect visitors and staff at key till points. Where appropriate, our staff will also be provided with PPE.
  • We will provide hand sanitiser dispensers for visitors across our sites.
  • We will implement an enhanced cleaning regime. We will regularly sanitise touch points, including handrails, door handles and high traffic areas.
  • Contactless transactions will be carried out across all of our sites.

 Will I have to queue?

You may be asked to queue for a short period before entering the building. Our staff will be on hand to help everyone to follow social distancing guidelines while in the queue.

What happens if I am running late and miss my slot?

We will do our best to accommodate you in our next available time slot subject to availability. During busy periods we cannot guarantee entry if you miss your arrival time

Will staff be wearing masks or PPE?

PPE will be made available to staff to wear if they work in a role that has closer contact with our visitors. Staff will also be working from behind screens for their protection and to protect our visitors.

How will the toilets be managed?

Toilets will be frequently cleaned and monitored by staff. In the Royal Pavilion there will be toilets available at the beginning of your visit and then further public toilets available in the Royal Pavilion grounds as you exit the building.

Will the Royal Pavilion Tearoom be open?

The Tearoom will be closed until we can be sure it can be operated safely. We will update our website with the opening dates as soon as have them.

Can I bring my own picnic?

Please do not bring food or drink with you into the Royal Pavilion, Preston Manor or Brighton Museum. There are several cafes that are open and within easy reach of the Royal Pavilion estate. We also have beautiful gardens surrounding the palace that are a great place to sit and eat while staying a safe distance from others.

For visitors to Preston Manor, the gardens around the house offer another perfect place to sit, eat and relax, with plenty of space to maintain a safe distance from other visitors. Nearby, Preston Park and the Rock Garden provide even more space, as well as cafes and public toilets.

What do I do if I feel unwell during my visit?

Please notify a uniformed member of staff whilst maintaining a safe distance from them. 

Do I need to wear gloves or a face mask?

From 8 August visitors must wear a face covering in all our venues unless they have a legitimate reason for not doing so.

Visitors are not required to wear gloves.

Will audio guides be available?

We are suspending the use of the audio guides in the Royal Pavilion and have replaced it with a free tour you can use on your mobile phone.

Will there be fewer visitors than usual?

Yes. The introduction of timed tickets means that we are reducing our visitor capacity in order to maintain strict social distancing in the building.

Can I still take photographs in the building?

We want to ensure that everyone can still photograph our amazing museums, so there is enough time for this during your visit. Only hand-held cameras should be used. We do not allow tripods.

Is the Royal Pavilion Shop open?

Yes. The shop has been re-merchandised and a new layout put in place for customer and staff safety. 

You can also shop online through our website. 

Are you accepting cash payments in the shop?

Payments should be made by card only.

Can I leave a buggy or luggage?

We have a buggy park in the Royal Pavilion but luggage and other items must not be left in this room. Large luggage and suitcases are not permitted inside the palace for conservation reasons.

At Preston Manor, there is a small outside area where buggies can be parked, but this is not patrolled and owners leave items in this space at their own risk. We cannot store any luggage in the house.

After your visit

What happens if I develop symptoms of COVID19 after my visit ?

 We are supporting NHS Test and Trace and will ask for your contact details when you book your ticket.

Following current government guidelines, if you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS Test and Trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited. Please fill in the details of which one of our sites you visited and the date.

NHS Test and Trace will then get in touch with us and notify us if there is anything further we need to do.

What happens if someone else becomes ill and my group was in the building at the same time?

Should a visitor or member of staff become diagnosed with COVID-19, or one of our museums is identified as the possible source of a local outbreak, the NHS Test & Trace service may request your contact details. We will pass this information to the Test & Trace team, but only in response to a direct request and once we have verified that we have been approached by an NHS staff member.