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How to book and what to expect

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Preparing for your visit

Welcome back! Tickets are available to pre-book in advance, but are not essential as we can usually accommodate visitors without bookings.

Opening Hours

  • The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum is open Tuesdays – Sundays 10am – 5pm
  • The Outdoor Terrace Café is open Tuesdays – Sundays 11am – 4pm.


  • Garden: Open from Tuesday 13 April
  • Historic House: Open from Tuesday 18 May
  • Exhibition: Hidden Highlights – Life in Lockdown – open
  • Shop: Open from Tuesday 13 April
  • Toilets: Open from Tuesday 13 April
  • Cloakroom: Reduced facilities – Please do not bring large bags (over 45cm) or backpacks to the museum
  • Café: The Museum café is open 10am – 4:30pm. The outdoor Terrace Café is open – 11am – 4pm, Tuesday – Sunday.

Pre-Booking, Pre-Paid Tickets

We have recently changed our ticket provider and are aware there have been some problems with online bookings. If you do not receive an email confirmation with your ticket, please do not worry, we will be able to assist and find your booking on our system at the Welcome Desk upon arrival.

While we encourage you to pre-book to avoid disappointment, we can usually accommodate you on the day without a booking. Please note this will be dependent on the number of visitors we already have in the building and the number of tickets already allocated to those that have booked.

Pre-book tickets online here
For those unable to book online but wishing to book in advance you can call the museum on 01202 128000.

If you are a Friends Member, Annual Ticket Holder or have an Art Pass your booking is free but please remember to bring your membership card with you on the day. 

We’ll send your booking confirmation by email. Please have your ticket ready to show staff (printed or on your phone).

Before your visit

If you have pre-booked a ticket please have your booking confirmation either printed out or on your mobile device.

If you have booked a free Friends Member, Annual ticket holder or Art Pass ticket, you will need to bring your membership card with you. If you do not, you may have to pay the full ticket price on arrival.

Please note that cloakroom facilities are reduced, please do not bring large bags (over 45cm) or backpacks with you.

We encourage and welcome face coverings at the Russell-Cotes.

The latest Government guidance around Coronavirus safety can be found here.

Please don’t visit if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

What to expect on the day of your visit

Visitor numbers
Last year we reduced visitor number capacity from 250 to 60 people. From 19 July 2021, we have increased this to a maximum capacity of 80.

Entrance and Exit
A separate entrance and exit remain in place.

Please enter through the garden as usual.

The temporary visitor exit does lead to a short set of stairs. However, wheelchair users and those unable to manage the stairs will exit via our normal garden exit.

When you arrive at the museum
There may be a queue, but a friendly colleague will be managing the flow of visitors into the building.

If you have not booked in advance, you can purchase a ticket at the Welcome Desk. Entry will be at the discretion of the staff, based on visitor numbers.

Entering the Building
Please show your booking confirmation, either a printed version or on your phone, to the member of staff at the Welcome Desk. 

Friends Members, Art Pass and Annual Ticket holders will also need to show a valid Membership Card as well as a booking confirmation.

You’ll notice that we’ve installed a protective screen at the front desk between you and our team members.

Hand sanitiser will also be available at the door if you don’t have any with you.

Our Staff and Volunteers are here to help
Don’t hesitate to talk to a member of staff if you have any questions or feedback. They might be wearing PPE – each member of staff and volunteer has the option to wear this if they wish to.

Social Distancing
Please keep socially distanced from other visitors.

We also ask families to keep children with you, throughout your visit.

One-way system
Last year we introduced a one-way route around the building. This has been reduced further to the latest government guidelines of 19 July 2021. We will be reviewing this continually.

Interpretation and Activities
To reduce risks, all room books, and label books have been temporarily removed and instead we will be providing information on the rooms, paintings and sculptures on our website. This can be viewed online or downloaded here www.russellcotes.com/digital-guide.

Please be aware that we have also temporarily removed our dressing up and children’s activities.

The gift shop reopened on April 13.

The shop will take card payments only, we encourage you to use contactless payment wherever possible.

For those visitors that would like to donate to the Russell-Cotes you can do so in the following ways;
Cash Donations: We have donation boxes at the Welcome Desk, Conservatory and Main Hall.
Card Payments: We are able to take donations by card at the Welcome Desk Till.

Exiting the Museum
As part of our one-way route, we are asking those that can to exit via a short staircase from the café gallery, taking you out onto Russell-Cotes Road.
Wheelchair users and those unable to manage the stairs will exit via our normal garden exit.

Please refer to our Reopening FAQ’s section for further information