It’s nearly 15 years since my husband and I got our National Trust membership. We joined when my eldest was a couple of months old and haven’t looked back, renewing every year.
National Trust’s work, land and properties
The National Trust (NT) is Europe’s largest conservation charity whose ethos is to protect and care for places so that people and nature can thrive. The charity is responsible for the care of over 780 miles of coastline, more than 250,000 hectares of land, in excess of 500 historic houses, castles, parks and gardens, and almost a million works of art spanning the length and breadth of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (there is a separate and independent National Trust for Scotland). A National Trust membership provides access to all of these treasures.
Exploring your local area and beyond
As soon as we became members, we discovered just how many interesting places there are to explore in our local area. Many of the venues also have great natural play areas. Over the years, it has really helped with planning easy days out. As we are members these days are free as our entry and parking are both covered. Often we head to some of our favourite places such as Claremont, Polesden Lacey, Morden Hall Park or Box Hill. We regularly head further afield, and when we visit friends and family in different parts of the country we explore National Trust venues near them.
The National Trust was a godsend during lockdown. Whilst houses and cafes were shut, the NT provided free local access to parks, gardens, countryside and other outdoor sites for everyone.
The benefits of National Trust membership
- Free entry to more than 500 historic houses, castles, parks and gardens
- Free parking at most National Trust car parks
- National Trust Handbook, which provides lots of information about all the places the NT looks after
- You receive the National Trust Magazine three times a year, which has loads of inspiration for family days out
- You’ll make your money back really quickly
The National Trust always has extra activities at Christmas, Easter, half-term and during the summer holidays. These range from outdoor family trails and nature-inspired activities to indoor arts and crafts, so there’s something for all weathers. There’s also the ongoing 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4. Whilst these activities aren’t restricted to members, as a member you hear about what’s happening first. Similarly, the Trust holds lots of events throughout the year.
The cost of National Trust membership
I find the National Trust membership really good value. To put the following costs into perspective, Attingham Park, Cliveden and Dunham Massey – the Trust’s three most visited venues in the 2021–2022 season – cost £37.50, £42.50 and £36.25 respectively for a family ticket for a one time visit.
Family National Trust membership
A membership for a family of two adults (aged 18+) living at the same address and their children or grandchildren (17 or under) costs £146.40 a year or £12.20 a month.
A membership for one adult and their children or grandchildren is £91.20 a year or £7.60 a month.
Joint or Individual National Trust membership
Children under five are free so in this case, you only need to get a joint or single membership; a joint being £139.20 a year (£11.60 a month) and an individual £84.00 a year (£7.00 a month).
You’re not penalised for paying monthly, so this is a great option for spreading the cost.
Further membership details can be found here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/membership
Currently, if you pay for a new joint, family, individual or young person membership by annual Direct Debit online you get a £15 National Trust gift card. This can be spent in any National Trust shop or café.
There’s also the option to buy membership as a gift. This would make an excellent Christmas present for someone. You could even put it on your own Christmas list (if you’ve been good!).
For more details about the National Trust go to: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/