Friday, 20 January 2017


Our annual National Trust Membership will be up for renewal soon. When the girls were a lot younger, and we lived on the Kentish edge of London, we found it was a good use of resources.
There were so many beautiful places within a stone's throw of where we lived, and we could easily pop over to Chartwell for an afternoon, or wander round Knole, or Ightham Mote.

Then we moved to Leicester and there was nothing in that fine county. For 20 years we didn't go to NT properties.
But Dorset and the surrounding counties are full of them, as is Norfolk, where we spend 99% of our holidays.
So we were delighted when the lovely people at Kirby Muxloe gave us a year's membership as a leaving gift in early 2015.
We seemed to be getting good value from it - so this time last year we decided to renew membership for another year.
It costs us £105 a year - less than £2 a week - one cuppa per week in an average coffee shop. Has it been worth it? Well I did some calculations and in the past 12 months, had we been paying entry fees each time, we would have spent in excess of £150. So yes - we have saved a fair bit of money.
And I have loved the opportunity to walk often in the grounds of Kingston Lacy, less than 10 miles away or to make repeat visits to Oxburgh and marvel at the embroideries of Mary, Queen of Scots. And then there's the benefit of free parking at various spots along the North Norfolk coast.
Yes it is a luxury - but I think it is money well spent. 
It is not obligatory to have a fancy cream tea in the restaurants, or buy jars of chutney in the gift shop [delicious though these things are] Spreading out a picnic blanket and eating our own food in the sunshine is just as much fun, especially when we have other friends and family with us. If we continue as members for 5 years out of the next 10, we will then qualify for 'seniors discount' [it is not automatic for people in their 60s]

NT places are beautifully maintained, competently staffed - by paid employees and enthusiastic volunteers [thank you Peter and Jenny and all your colleagues]  I hope my subs help to preserve these parts of our heritage for future generations. Watch out Rosie, Gran is going to be taking you to all sorts of places!
And of course, it is transferable - next time I get to Belfast, I can use my card for Mount Steward Gardens, the Giant's Causeway...I may even risk the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge again. Watch out Mags!
Do you belong to the NT? 
What's your favourite place to visit? What's the thing you study most? 

  • The big old houses
  • The architecture? 
  • The artworks? 
  • The gardens?
  • The second hand bookshop?
  • The tea rooms and giftshops?
  • The outdoor locations - beaches, nature reserves, seal colonies...

In 2017 I'd like to see the primroses and bluebells at Kingston Lacy, and visit Brownsea Island
Thank you Octavia Hill - did you ever imagine your vision would grow into a movement like this?


  1. It is lucky or unfortunate, depending upon where you live or visit regularly, that NT properties are either plentiful or rather scarce. We often visit family in the
    Derbyshire/Birmingham/Cheltenham areas and have found lots of interesting places to visit including Calke Abbey (fascinating house and good walks in the extensive grounds), Kedleston Hall (ditto), Croome Park, Packwood House to name but a few. I hesitate to advertise but Pink and Greene sell National Trust packs of blank greetings cards which on the surface seem expensive. However, each card contains a voucher for a free pot of tea for 2. Recently, I bought 2 x 5 packs for under £14 when they were on offer which qualified for free postage as were over £10 and so ended up with 10 good quality cards and free cups of tea for our next 10 visits! My purchase also generated a small donation to the NT too. I am nothing to do with the company but do think this is a good deal. Vicki in the East Riding

    1. That IS a good deal, thanks for passing it on!!

  2. I so wish that when we took out a membership, over 35 years ago, we had paid for a Lifetime sub. In those days it was just about affordable, but now...! We have the senior discount which helps. We kept our membership up all the years we were in France simply because we felt we were doing something to help our heritage. It does save, as our local Gardens are nearly £10 for entry, and a parking fee too.

  3. No, I really don't think I'll ever be across that bridge again! There is also Patterson's Spade Mill, which is fascinating even for the non-spade expert.It would be the closest property to us here in NI, though our favourites are the Argory, and Castle Ward. In England we adore Poleston Lacey and BP's Hill Top, and also loved last summer's M6 respite detour to Little Moreton Hall- goodness, that is a jewel! We are lovers of our NT family card, and get wonderful use out of our membership.

  4. I live the other side of Kingston Lacy to you and it is a regular visit, for walking or picnicking, in the summer there are always bats, balls etc. on the lawn but the obelisk to amuse small people with and of course free parking at Studland, CorfeCastle castle and the hill forts to climb at Hod and Hambledon, excellent value for money. Pity the ca r boots at KL have finished though.

  5. Even though I live in the US, I belong to the National Trust , every year! Best days out ever!

  6. I don't belong to the NT now for there are not many places and I don't drive. But years ago I did and went on a holiday to Waddesdon Manor to help change the bedding over in front of the manor. It was wonderful and we had so much fun. When I first read the advert I thought it meant help changing the bedding in the house and was most surprised when I was told to bring old clothes and Wellies. Hazel c uk

  7. I'm not a,member but I would love to be.


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