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Are you looking for National Trust membership reviews to help you decide whether to take it or not?

You’ve come to the right place!

The first time I become a member was actually for my birthday. A friend of mine decided to get it as a gift for me. Since then, I have kept my membership and have been visiting dozens of National Trust sites around the UK.

That having been said, what is good for one person isn’t necessarily good for another. This is why I put together this detailed review.

The goal here is not to share my opinion and convince you of anything but to present the membership exactly how it is so you can determine whether the National Trust Membership is worth it or not.

It all depends on how often you will use it and what sites you are more inclined to visit.

So, are you ready to dive into this review of the National Trust Membership? Let’s get started!

What is the National Trust?

The National Trust is an independent charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Founded in 1895, it preserves and protects places of historic interest or natural beauty.

Most properties have been given to the National Trust over the years.

It now owns over 500 heritage sites including castles, gardens, parks and houses.

The National Trust renovates and looks after every property they take on board. But the beautiful thing about it is that they don’t just keep it in a good state.

They open all of them to the public and make sure the story of the place is told. As an individual, you can visit all the National Trust properties.

Many volunteers and employees work on-site to give you as much information as possible.

The National Trust really makes sure that the history of all these places is being carried out and known.

It takes to heart to protect a lot of sites throughout the UK and make sure that the British heritage is kept in the best condition. If you want to learn more about their work, you can check out this page for more information.

What is the National Trust Membership?

Though some National Trust properties can be visited for free, most of them require an entrance fee. It usually is between £5 and £25.

You usually also have to pay for the carpark.

The National Trust also offer annual memberships that will give you free access to the 500 sites across the UK.

Click here for more information about the membership

Benefits of the National Trust Membership

Are you wondering what you get with a National Trust membership? Here is everything you need to know.

All National Trust Memberships will give you access to:

Free Entry to 500 National Trust sites

The National Trust looks after 500 sites across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Being a member means that you will get free entry to all these sites.

You can see all the National Trust properties and natural sites on their official website. The only thing you need to do is to search for you preferred location.

PRO TIP: Search for the place where you live as it will show you all the National Trust sites near you. You’ll be surprised by how many there are!

When you become a member (and each year when you renew), you will receive a membership card. This card (made of paper which is eco-friendly!) is the one that will give you access to all the sites. Make sure you always take it with you when you go for a visit.

Even though the National Trust looks after properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, they also have agreements with the National Trust of Scotland meaning that you will get free entry to most NT properties in Scotland.

This is a huge plus as that means that you can use your card in the whole of the UK, saving loads of money on your holidays!

Free parking

If you are a member, National Trust car parks will be free. This is a huge advantage since all these pay-and-display can quickly add up.

Also, it’s important to note that this will also give you access to a lot of carparks near natural sites such as Mam Tor in the Peak District for example.

There is no entry fee to go up to Mam Tor however if you want to park you will have to stay at the National Trust car park which is a pay-and-display. Having a NT membership will mean that you don’t have to pay for this.

Your National Trust Membership card will come in handy for free carpark too as you need to scan it at the machine to get your ticket.

Again, you can also use your card to get free car park for National Trust of Scotland sites such as Glencoe visitor centre or in Glenfinnan.

National Trust Magazine

Three times a year, you will receive a magazine from the National Trust. Usually, they try to make it coincide with a change of season and highlight some properties as well as some seasonal activities.

It’s the case of this Autumn edition for example which features the pumpkin patch in Tatton Park, near Manchester.

National Trust Handbook

Once you’ve joined and became a National Trust member, you will receive a handbook featuring all the National Trust sites in the UK.

This is a great book to look through when you are looking for a day out nearby.

You can also easily search for NT places near you on the website.

Discounts on seasonal events

Most National Trust properties organise seasonal events.

This can be setting up a pumpkin patch, family adventure trails and of course, loads of Christmas activities (illuminations, Christmas lights, Santa Grotto…)!

While a lot of these events are free, some require you to book a ticket. That’s the case for Christmas at Gibside for example.

These special events are not free for National Trust members however, you will get a very nice discount (sometimes even £10 or £15).

The best way to see which events are on is to go on the search page, add your location and click on the “What’s on” button.

National trust search for events

How much is the National Trust Membership?

The National Trust offers 3 types of memberships: individual, family and joint. Here are the prices:

Individual: 

  • Adult (over 26): £72 per year or £6 per month
  • Young adult (18 to 25): £36 per year
  • Junior (5 to 17): £10 per year
  • Under 5: free

Joint:

  • 2 adults: £120 per year or £10 per month

Family:

  • Family 2 adults & up to 10 children or grandchildren: £126 per year or £10.50 per month
  • Family 1 adult & up to 10 children or grandchildren: £78 per year or £6.50 per month

Is a National Trust Membership worth it?

As general thing, the answer is: Yes! Absolutely!

Or at least for most people.

Ultimately, the NT membership is great value for money and for most people, it will come in very handy however, the best way to know whether the National Trust membership is worth the money is to calculate it!

For the sake of simplicity, let’s calculate this with the individual adult membership. It’s the most expensive anyway so if it turns out that this will one will save you money, all the others will.

Example: let’s say you live in Manchester and go on 6 days out per year (that’s one every 2 months which is not a lot at all!)

  • COST FOR NON-NT MEMBER
  • Lyme Park: £8
  • Little Moreton Hall: £12
  • Quarry Mill Banks: £18
  • Tatton Park Gardens & Mansion: £16
  • Beatles Childhood Homes: £36
  • Speke Hall: £14
  • TOTAL: £104 + car park fees
  • COST FOR NT MEMBER
  • Lyme Park: Free
  • Little Moreton Hall: Free
  • Quarry Mill Banks: Free
  • Tatton Park Gardens & Mansion: Free
  • Beatles Childhood Homes: £12
  • Speke Hall: Free
  • TOTAL: £84 (All included)

As a general thing, the National Trust membership start saving you money after 5 or 5 visits (that includes the money saved on parking as well)

So, to answer the question clearly. The National Trust Membership is:

  • Worth it financially if you are visiting at least 5 times per year (once every couple of months). It will save you loads of money if you go once a month!
  • Not worth it if you won’t go more than twice or three times a year to a National Trust place. You won’t get your money back but you will still be supporting the charity which might be enough for you.

That having been said, the individual membership is the most expensive which means that the others will require less visits to be paid back.

As a general thing, only 2 to 4 visits are enough to make your money on all other NT memberships.

For example, if you are under 25 (or if the person you are getting it as a gift is), the membership only cost £36 which means that you can make your money back by only using it 2 or 3 times.

If you are over 60, you will get a 25% discount on your membership which means that 4 visits will be enough to make your money back.

Why should you get a National Trust Membership?

National Trust Memberships are great for several reasons. Here is why you should get a National Trust Membership.

  • Supporting Good cause: National Trust is an amazing charity. They look after properties that deserve to be conserved. It wouldn’t be for them, the UK would be losing so many heritage sites. More importantly, they do it so well. All National Trust properties are extremely well preserved. They are in an incredible good state. Every single penny earned is put back into these properties and that’s exactly what we want from a charity.
  • Value for money: All National Trust properties are extremely well looked after. No matter which one you choose, if it’s National Trust you can be sure to make a good decision. You can’t possibly be disappointed by it. Of course, they are all very different and you will like some more than others but no matter what you will always have the guarantee to have a great experience.
  • Money saving: With a membership, you will pay a maximum of £72 per year. A lot of National Trust places cost about £20 and that doesn’t even include carpark. If you go more than 5 times a year, it will save you a lot of money.
  • History: The National Trust chooses its properties very carefully. They all have a very interesting history. They are representative of an important period in British history. You will learn plenty while visiting them.

Who is the National Trust Membership perfect for?

Although anybody can get a National Trust Membership, there are some people for whom it will be better than others.

At the end of the day, it all depends on your tastes and the type of activities you like to do!

A National Trust membership is perfect if:

  • You have children. Finding activities for children can sometimes be a hassle and National Trust properties are always great ideas of days out. They are all family-friendly and children love them. Also if you take a family membership, you will make your money back very quickly. It’s a great way to keep your kids busy, spend time with them and get them to enjoy the outdoors and cultural places.
  • You want to discover more of the UK. You will find National Trust sites everywhere in the UK so having a membership is a great way to discover more places. Also, you can always be sure that you will have a great day at a NT property!
  • Want to save money while travelling in the UK. Travelling in the United Kingdom can be very expensive so having a NT card will allow you to reduce your costs while still discovering beautiful places.
  • You are a history buff. Most National Trust properties have a very interesting hisotrical background. Visiting these places give you the opportunity to learn more about the British history. For example, if you are near Manchester, the Quarry Banks Mill is a great place to learn more abou tthe Industrial Revolution in Northern England.
  • Discovering hidden gems in the UK. A lot of the places looked after by the National Trust are properties that you are quite unknown. Sometimes they used to belong to rich noble families, other times they were working mills… there is a bit of everything and you will get the chance to discover sites that would never have been opened to the public if it wasn’t for the National Trust.
  • You love beautiful estates and walks. A lot of National Trust properties are huge estates. They are home to beautiful walks, perfect for a day out! You will also find many deer parks across the country (like in Powys Castle or Lyme Park for example).
  • You love beaches. The National Trust is also known for looking after sandy covers, rocky bays and gardens by the sea. Not only will you get free car park in these places but you can also discover very unique sites such as Overbecks in Salcombe, Devon.
  • You love seasonal events. The National Trust always organises fantastic seasonal events. You can check what they have on here. Each month, they come up with new events. For example, they have some autumn festivals and pumpkin patches popping up in October but that’s not all! You can always find cool activities.
  • You love Christmas events. You can find festive events all around the UK when december comes around. Christmas markets, lights… there is a bit of everything out there but the National Trust also knows how to make this special time of the year even more magical! A lot of NT properties organise fantastic events for Christmas. For example, you can go see the stunning Christmas lights at Gibside or the illuminated trail at Dunham Massey. (Please note that you will have to pay extra for those but will get a nice discount as a NT member).

How can I get a National Trust Membership?

You can get easily get your membership online here. You can also get it at any NT property, just ask at the reception.

It’s very easy and quick to get it online so I would recommend it that way.

You can do it from the comfort of your home and won’t have to wait for a volunteer on-site to fill out the paperwork for you. 

CLICK HERE TO GET A NATIONAL TRUST MEMBERSHIP.

It’s very easy, you just need to give your contact details and pay by card or set up the direct debit.

You will receive your card by post within a month. 

Once you have it, you only need to show it at the entrance of each site, they will scan it and you will be able to get in for free.

Alternatives to the National Trust Membership

There are two other charities that can be compared to the National Trust and offer memberships to consider: NT of Scotland and English Heritage.

Here is a quick comparison to help you choose.

National Trust VS English Heritage

English Heritage is a very similar organisation and offers almost the same membership so it’s normal that if you are debating between the two.

Here are the main differences:

  • English Heritage is only in England. They don’t have sites in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. While the National Trust doesn’t have sites in Scotland, the membership gives you access to all NT of Scotland sites which means that you get more.
  • English Heritage Membership is cheaper. There are ‘only’ 400 sites that you can access with English Heritage therefore the membership is slightly cheaper.
  • English Heritage looks after famous sites. Some of the most famous landmarks in England are looked after by English Heritage. This is the case for Stonehenge for example.
  • English Heritage is better for history lovers. National Trust offers a large range of sites. From beaches to working farms and mansions, you can find a bit of everything. EH is mainly known for its historical sites. This means you will find more ruins and prehistorical places.

WHICH ONE IS BETTER? Ultimately, that’s a question that only you can answer. They are both great options and the memberships are pretty much the same.

The only massive difference lies in the type of sites you will get access.

English Heritage sites are often better for adults with a strong interest in history whereas National Trust is better for families and days out.

It’s also worth looking at what English Heritage sites and National Trust sites you have nearby. This will give you a good idea of which one will be better for you. At the end of the day, the more sites you visit, the more money you save!

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