It’s official, National Trust properties are beautiful but hugely expensive for the masses and National Trust Membership offers are few and far between. This guide, however, will seek to make the wealth of sights, sounds and experiences on offer in the UK, more accessible to those on smaller budgets. That’s right, use this guide to SAVE £64 PER YEAR and go easier on your credit or debit card (Note: Please scroll to updated costs below Updated 20/11/21)
How can I get a discount that large I hear you utter…?
Well, it is only £173 (350 New Zealand Dollars) for a family of 4 to join the ‘New Zealand National Trust’. The New Zealand National Trust membership offers identical access to the standard adult and family memberships in the UK and gives full access to National Trust properties. UK Residents can easily join and benefit from the reduced cost. As a bonus you also get access to sites in New Zealand should you ever travel there.
However, the main reason for doing this is the agreement they have with the UK to offer FREE access to UK National Trust and English Heritage Sites to members.
What are the costs for English Heritage, National Trust, and New Zealand National Trust Memberships?
Okay, so remember that the New Zealand National Trust price is £73 per year…
Separately, the standard “UK” National Trust membership offer charges a membership cost of £126 per year. This £126 is for a family and bolting on an English Heritage membership deal for full access would be an additional £88 per year for a family. That means…
(National Trust Annual Membership £126 + English Heritage Membership £111) = £237
The combined cost for the two usual UK options is in comparison to the New Zealand National Trust option which is only…
£173, a SAVING £64 per year!!!!
You can also join the above membership schemes as an individual or as a couple and in general, it is a considerably cheaper option especially if you don’t use it that often. However, if you read on there are a few things to consider.
Individual membership details and offers for English Heritage, National Trust, Scottish National Trust and NZNT:
BEST MID PRICE OPTION
Scottish National Trust Membership –Access to worldwide sites at a discounted price. Includes access to Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Zimbabwe, Belgium, Germany, Catman ISlands, Czech Republic, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Bermuda, Isle of Man, Jersey Guernsey and Bermuda to name a few. All for £9.80 per month as a family with upto 6 children included, or £6.60 per month for a ‘single parent’ family with up to 6 chidlren included.
MOST INCLUSIVE, BUT EXPENSIVE OPTION (Combine UK EH and UK NT)
English Heritage memberships – £111 per year for a two adult family. Gives access to over four hundred historic properties across the UK, free or reduced entry to special events, upto 6 children free under a membership and free parking “where EH own the carparks. English Heritage members also get access to EH rewards scheme which may be worth perusing to see if they have offers you could make use of. (Try the code EH2021 for a potential 15% extra off with our English Heritage voucher code)
UK National Trust – £126 for a family membership. Free entry to over 500 places, Free parking at most National Trust car parks, a National Trust Handbook and National Trust Magazine three times a year. Members who pay via Direct Debit also get a £15 Gift Card to use in their shops and cafes.
CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE TO TO COMBO ABOVE
National Trust New Zealand– Valid in all 45 New Zealand properties AND gives free or reduced entry to over 1000 properties worldwide including the UK too! Membership comes with an award-winning Heritage New Zealand magazine, 10% off merchandise at their properties and in their online shop. Note parking is not always included. 350MZ is the cost for the non-NZ resident membership, this is roughly equivalent to £173
First, What is the National Trust?
Helping to preserve over 780 miles of coastline, 284,000 hectares of land, priceless works of art, animal habitats and even heritage pubs, the National Trust is a conservation charity. It was founded in 1895 by individuals seeking to protect our nation’s heritage and open spaces. Set up as a preservation society, it purchases land and properties through charitable funding and acts as a guardian to land bequeathed to it, land which due to government agreements can never be sold on.
The National Trust looks after special places throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland forever, for everyone.
The trust whilst a conservation charity always welcome public access to survive and grow. Many of the older properties have significant upkeep meaning they rely on the support of members, donors and volunteers. Whilst The National Trust have commercialised by charging high prices on food and drink (you can save by packing your own and using reusable stasher bags in th UK), and steep parking prices to those not members, they are still a charity, which is something to consider when looking at access options listed in this article.
What are the Discounts on National Trust Memberships and National Trust Membership Offers?
If you do decide to save up and purchase the National Trust’s own UK membership for the family there are currently, at the time of writing, a few sign up deals:
- Get a free £5 m&s gift card with your (UK) National Trust membership via The Giftcloud website.
- Get a £15 National Trust gift card when you sign up for National Trust membership with direct debit memberships.
How to use Scottish National Trust Membership Offers or New Zealand Heritage to reduce membership further
So, now you know the offers available for families directly with the UK National Trust, it’s worth noting the alternatives. The main consideration with other options is parking. The NZ National Trust is the cheapest but doesn’t include FREE parking, while the Scottish National Trust is the option to take with a cost in the middle that does include parking.
Taking that into account, if you choose a couples membership and want to visit a National Trust property approximately 7 times a year you will be quids in with the New Zealand NT option, even allowing for parking.
If you are going to visit more times than that, then you are better off with a Scottish or UK National Trust membership as the parking charges will mount up.
Personally, I’d use the Scottish National Trust option. It’s cheaper than the standard UK National Trust prices, but important includes FREE parking, meaning you get the best of both worlds.
CURRENT NZ & NTS RATES:
NZ $350 / just under £173 for a family membership via the New Zealand NT site.
As a side note, you’ll need to opt out of receiving the quarterly member’s magazine to avoid being charged an additional £15.
NTS (Scotland) membership is slightly cheaper than the standard UK version (£117 annually / £9.80 per month for family 2 adults and up to 6 kids ). You can see their rates and join on the NTS site.
There is a reciprocal agreement between most of the trusts so you can get free or reduced entry worldwide.
NTS and NT are the only two organisations with reciprocal parking arrangements though, as far as I’m aware. Other NT organisations (such as New Zealand National Trust) have reciprocal entry arrangements but you’ll likely have to pay to park.
Overall, for most the middle option of National Trust Scotland will win out if you’re a regular outdoors type. Otherwise, go for the New Zealand option if you’re only like to visit a few times. Be sure to let us know in the comments if you use these options or know of others that may benefit other readers.