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

The Royal Pavilion & Museums has been closely following the latest government advice and guidance in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. We are currently preparing our buildings to reopen to the public, so here are some details of when you can revisit our museums and the 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 / visitor.services@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Before you Arrive

Which of your sites are opening?

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

The Royal Pavilion will open first on the 27 July followed by Brighton Museum and Preston Manor in September. 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 will be open everyday 10am-5pm (last admission at 4pm).

Opening times for Brighton Museum and Preston Manor will be published when tickets for these venues go on sale.

Do I need to book in advance?

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

Can I buy tickets on the day?

Yes. These are subject to availability and must be bought through our booking office or website. Tickets cannot be purchased in person at the Royal Pavilion. 

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 refund your ticket or 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?

Promotional offers for reduced or free admission to the Royal Pavilion are suspended until 1 September. This includes 2 for 1 rail offers and Art Fund membership, Buy a Gift and Red Letter Days.

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 / visitor.services@brighton-hove.gov.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 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.

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.

Brighton & Hove City Council is the data controller for this information, although it may be transferred to the new Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust from 1 October onwards.

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.

 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.

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. There are several cafes that are open and within easy reach of the Royal Pavilion. We also have beautiful gardens surrounding the palace that are a great place to sit and eat while staying a safe distance from others.

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 will be required to wear a face covering in the Royal Pavilion unless they have a legitimate reason for not doing so. Face coverings must currently be worn in the Royal Pavilion Shop. 

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 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 palace, 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.

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 at the Royal Pavilion 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.