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Reopening FAQs

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Here are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions regarding coronavirus and our reopening

What Guidelines are you following on reopening?
We have used the following information to plan our reopening;
Government GuidelinesGuidance for people who work or volunteer in heritage locations https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/heritage-locations

Government GuidelinesGuidance for people who work in the visitor economy https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy

National Museum Director’s Council (NMDC) – Good Practice Guidelines
https://www.nationalmuseums.org.uk/coronavirus-update/nmdc-good-practice-guidelines-opening-museums/

AIM and the Museum Development Network – Reopening guidance
https://www.aim-museums.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/AIM-MDN-Reopening-Guidance-June-2020V2.pdf

What days are you open?
The museum is open Tuesdays – Sundays, 10am – 5pm from Tuesday 18 May.

The Outdoor Terrace Café is open Tuesdays – Sundays, 11am – 4pm.

What is open?
Garden: Open
Historic House: Open
Exhibition: Closed – A Century of British Art, Bournemouth Arts Club 1920-2020 Opens 1 October 2021
Shop: Open
Toilets: Open
Cloakroom: Reduced facilities – Please do not bring large bags (over 45cm) or backpacks to the museum.
Café: The Museum Café is open between 10am -4.30pm. The outdoor Terrace Café is open 11am – 4pm.

Is the exhibition open?
No, we are currently changing exhibitions and Galleries III & IV are currently closed. A Century of British Art, Bournemouth Arts Club 1920-2020 Opens 1 October 2021

I only want to visit the exhibition do I still need to book?
Pre-booking tickets in advance is not essential, but if you would like to plan ahead you can still pre-book tickets for the date of your visit. Admission applies to those that want to visit the entire historic house and galleries or those that only want to visit the exhibition.

Why am I being asked to pre-book a ticket?
We are still limiting the number of visitors in the house and museum. Pre-booked tickets ensured that visits were spread out throughout the day. We have now removed time slots, but you can pre-book a ticket for the date of your visit.

How do I book a ticket?
To book a ticket please visit our online booking pages where you will be asked to select a date.

Can I turn up on the day?
Walk-in tickets can be purchased on the day from the Welcome Desk. There may be a short wait if it is a particularly busy time.

Why are the ticket prices different?
The ticket prices on the online booking system are our standard prices. The system will give you the option to add an extra small donation which means that we can claim additional money back from the government (Gift Aid). If you buy your ticket for £6.82 and pay an extra 68p donation (total of £7.50) we are able to top that up using the Gift Aid scheme and turn it into £9.38 for the charity.

As a small charity we rely on Gift Aid as a significant element of our income. Gift Aid is a government scheme that allows charities to claim 25% extra back from the government on your donation. You must be a UK taxpayer to be able to do Gift Aid. Your support ensures that we can continue to look after this special and unique place.

Can I book over the phone?
Yes, if you wish to book in advance and are unable to book online you can call the museum on 01202 128000 to book a ticket.

What will you do with my booking details?
In line with guidance issued by the government, we will keep all visitor contact details for 21 days. We will only share them with NHS Test and Trace, if asked, in the event of a fellow visitor testing positive for coronavirus.
When you book your ticket through our ticket system it holds a record of your data that we can access to meet this 21 day requirement. This data will not be used for marketing or other purposes.
If you would like to keep up to date with museum news, please join our mailing list, you can sign up on our website homepage russellcotes.com

Will the café be open?
Yes, its operating times are 10am – 4.30pm Tuesdays – Sundays. Takeaway, or sit in. Serving hot drinks, cakes, ice creams, beer, wine and light lunches.

Can I bring my own food and drinks into the Historic house?
No, food and drinks are not permitted into the historic house. The only exception to this is water. Visitors are permitted to bring a resealable (not glass) bottle of water with them.

I have a Friends Membership, should I still book?
To guarantee admission, all visitors including Annual ticket holders, Art Pass holders and Friends Members can pre-book. Booking is free, please bring your membership card with you when you visit.

We encourage you to pre-book to avoid disappointment, however, we can usually accommodate you on the day without a booking. 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.

Is there a booking fee?
No, the price is for the admission ticket only.

Can I book a ticket on the day I want to visit?
Yes, you can book on the day.

I don’t have a printer, so can’t print my ticket
You can show your ticket on your phone.

I’ve forgotten my booking confirmation – can I still visit?
You can show us your booking confirmation either printed out or on your mobile device, or we can find your booking on our system at the Welcome Desk.

I’ve booked a ticket but forgotten to bring my memberships card, will you let me in?
If you are an Annual Ticket holder or a Friends Member, we will try our best to locate you on our membership database so that we can admit you.

If you forgot to bring your Art Pass or Museums Association card you will be charged the full price for your visit at the Welcome Desk.

I haven’t received my confirmation email
Please check that it hasn’t gone into your junk folder. If you still can’t find it we can usually assist to find your booking on our system at the Welcome Desk.

Can you post me my booking confirmation?
No, booking confirmations are sent by email only.

I can no longer make my booking; how do I cancel?
Tickets can be cancelled and refunded only when more than 24 hours’ notice is given. Refunds are not available if you do not cancel your ticket. General admission tickets cannot be upgraded to Friends Memberships or Annual Passes at this time.

Why do I have to queue outside?
We are controlling the flow of visitors into the building. You may be required to wait outside until the entrance is clear.

What if it’s raining?
If it is raining you will still be required to wait outside until the entrance is clear. Please come prepared for the weather.

Why am I being told not to bring a large bag or backpack?
The Russell-Cotes has an open display policy and small room sizes. To reduce risks, we do not permit large bags (over 45cm) or backpacks into the historic house. When we reopen, cloakroom facilities will be reduced, so we will be unable to store items securely.  

Do Friends get priority booking?
We are grateful for the support our Friends Members have given during the Lockdown period. As a way of saying thank you, the first day of our reopening in 2020 was for Friends Members only. 
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer this permanently due to charity tax laws. However, each time slot will have a set number of Friends tickets available for you to book.

I am disabled, can I bring a helper?
Yes, you can bring a carer or helper for free. Please select ‘Essential Carer or Companion’ when you book.

What social distancing measures have you introduced?
Last year we introduced the following measures to help with social distancing;
We limited our capacity and introduced pre-booking.
Timed tickets ensured that visitor numbers were spread out throughout the day.
We are operating a separate entrance and exit.
We introduced a one-way route throughout the building.

Will there be hand sanitiser on site?
We have hand sanitiser stations, but you are invited to bring your own.

How are you cleaning the museum?
During our closure period the museum was thoroughly cleaned. We have implemented enhanced cleaning regimes in line with government guidance.

Our staff have also been trained in hygiene and social distancing.

Why aren’t all staff wearing face masks and PPE?
Each member of staff has PPE available to them and the option to wear it if they wish to.

Do visitors have wear a face mask?
From 19 July 2021, we are encouraging and welcome face coverings at the Russell-Cotes.

The latest Government Coronavirus safety guidance can be found here

How do I exit the building if I can’t climb the stairs?
The temporary visitor exit leads to a short set of stairs. However, wheelchair users and those unable to manage stairs will exit via our normal garden exit.

Is the shop open?
Yes, the gift shop will be open, however, for the time being it will be taking card payments only.

How can I get to the museum?
Bournemouth is the perfect place for walking and cycling.
The Russell-Cotes in on the East Cliff Promenade just two minutes’ walk from Bournemouth Pier and five minutes’ walk from the town centre.

If you cycle, please don’t bring your bike into the garden, a bike rack is conveniently located outside the garden gate.

Information on car parking can be found here https://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/Parking/Parking.aspx .

Are there any guided tours?
We are beginning to reintroduce guided tours of the historic house. Please ask at the Welcome Desk on the day of your visit to find out more.

You can also find out information about the family and building in our guidebook, orientation video and in the digital guide.

Can I come to sketch?
No, at present we cannot accommodate activities such as sketching and drawing.
If you are looking for some artistic inspiration you can find some of our collection online here https://russellcotes.com/online-collection

The question I have isn’t in the FAQ
If you have a question that has not been answered please contact the museum and we will try and help.
russellcotes@bcpcouncil.gov.uk
01202 128000

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