No one likes paying more than they should, especially when traveling on a tight budget.
When I came to Britain last year, my friend told me about the National Trust and how you could get free entry to dozens of historical sites for a flat rate. My first thought was, “Wow!” My first question was, “Is it worth it?”
The National Trust is a charity that seeks to preserve places and objects of historic value and extraordinary beauty for future generations.
If you’re thinking of visiting a few NT sites within the next year, a membership could save you loads of money. However, I’ll explain why I think most people won’t make their money back on a membership.
You can enter NT sites without being a member, at an average cost of £7.20 each (the Bath Assembly Rooms are as low as £2.50, while Dyrham Park is a steep £11.20).
The cost of a membership for an individual adult is £58. If you’re over 13 and under 25 you’re eligible for a “Young Person” rate of £27, and there are other membership rates for couples and families.
You’re probably familiar with some of the more famous NT locations:
Scanning the NT website is a great way to discover historic places you’ve never heard of before. If you’re a fan of spring flowers, check out the semi-abandoned country estate of Calke Abbey, Derbyshire; if your taste runs toward ancient history, visit the Roman fort of Housesteads at Hadrian’s Wall.
Not for Everyone
As exciting as an NT membership is, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who isn’t living in the UK for an extended period of time, or who isn’t prepared to focus a trip mostly around NT locations. I’ve been living here for nearly 9 months and have only been to three or four NT sites. If you’re a short-term tourist in Britain you could buy the membership thinking it’s a good deal, then be aggravated when you’re only able to visit a couple locations and don’t even make your money back.
It is possible to get your money’s worth by planning a holiday around NT sites, so if you’re willing to go to the effort you can see some magnificent places with your membership.
But even though I say that it’s easy to lose money on this, I’ve just renewed my own NT membership for another year. I think it’s worthwhile in my situation, but you have to make the decision yourself. I hope this short guide has been some help!
How about you? Does a National Trust membership make sense?
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