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Is It Really Worth The Cost?

By Jenny Schippers – 23rd November 2020

Is a National Trust Membership Really Worth the Cost?


I have had this conversation with so many people over the last few months!

If like me you have children, there are few options currently, aside from playgrounds, to entertain little ones and I appreciate most weekends are now spent trying to dream up new walking routes and exciting outdoor activities to please the whole family. My go-to and true sanity saviour over the last few months (since they have reopened) has been my National Trust Membership and I am so pleased to see that Lockdown 2.0 has allowed for so many properties to remain open.

As we are currently spending so much time outside and the possibility of many more months ahead meeting family and friends in a public place; is a National Trust Membership really worth the cost? Does a membership constitute good value for money and can a visit to a National Trust property appeal to all the family, including young children?


National Trust Properties Where You Live


Here in Cheshire and the wider North West region, we are blessed with a huge variety of National Trust properties, parklands, and walks within a relatively short drive. I appreciate we are slightly unique in this respect, especially in comparison to some areas of the UK but because of this, most people I know have a National Trust membership. It just makes sense; even whilst all the mansions remain closed during the pandemic, the rolling country estates are a welcoming, family-friendly, and Covid-secure activity whatever the weather.


Map It Out


If you live outside the North West Region, take a look at the map on the National Trust website and it will display all the properties, sites, and walks within your area. This is also a handy exercise when travelling within the UK for a staycation. You can plan your day trips whilst you are away based on your proximity to a National Trust property. Also bear in mind many National Parks, particularly in the Lake District, have car parks that are owned by the National Trust and your membership here allows for free parking.

What Does a National Trust Membership Cost?


As a family of four, we have a National Trust Family Membership, this includes 2 adults and their children or grandchildren under 17 years of age with under 5s free. The cost for this currently is £126 or £10.50 per month for a 12-month membership. The cost for a Single Membership is £72 annually and for a Joint Membership £120 annually, with children under 5 years, free of charge on both memberships.


Does a National Trust Membership Represent Good Value for Money?


As an example of how cost-effective this is, a ticket to Dunham Massey would cost £8 per adult and £4 per child (over 5 years) so with that one visit, you have already covered your monthly membership cost. As a rule, we try and visit a National Trust property at least once a month to justify the annual membership however, during the current lockdown, we are generally visiting a property once a week! As most National Trust properties are currently pre-booked tickets only; I find I am now planning my weekends with this in mind and booking a week or so in advance. You take a risk with the weather but regardless of that, it is the welcome nudge needed to get outside and enjoy some fresh air.

A fellow National Trust Member and family travel blogger, Karen, from the multi-award winning Mini Travellers feels a similar way:

” We have had our National Trust Membership for about six years or so. It’s brilliant when the kids are under five as they get in for free but still excellent value as they get older, as you can have up to five children on each family membership. We love the playgrounds at many of the National Trust properties and have written a blog post all about them here ” Karen, Mini Travellers.


What to Expect from a National Trust Visit


The benefits of visiting a National Trust site, particularly with children in mind, are the standards that you come to expect including clean toilets, scooter-friendly pathways, and often, great playgrounds. We have visited several properties during Lockdown 2.0 including Speke Hall and Quarry Bank Mill, and thankfully the cafes have still been offering takeaway hot drinks, ice creams, and snacks. There are often designated picnic areas with adequate seating and plenty of bins.

Many properties also run a calendar of events throughout the year and these are included within your membership. Don’t forget to check what festive events are taking place during November and December at your local National Trust Property. At Tatton Park, Holly’s Festive Feast: A Christmas Garden Trail is a delightful festive treasure trail for children through the gardens and a pop-up Christmas market will be also be located in the stableyard. Tatton Park is slightly unique in so much as the parkland is owned by the Council so you do have to pay £7 to park however your membership covers access to the formal gardens and reduced priced tickets to the farm.


In Conclusion: Is a National Trust Membership really worth getting?


With all this in mind, I absolutely believe a National Trust Membership is worth the cost if you live in relative proximity to 2 or 3 sites. One visit per month will often cover the cost of your membership and the changing calendar of events, as well as the seasons, allows for each visit to feel unique. The promise of decent toilets, takeaway coffee, and often a playground is a huge plus for parents. It is a safe and secure place for children to roam and to meet friends.

It would also make a fantastic Christmas gift for a couple or family. It is certainly the gift that keeps on giving and allows for many more memories to be made in 2021.


This is a Girl About recommendation. This means that it was not gifted in return for a review but paid in full by our writer and the venue had no idea that I was there. We only recommend places we absolutely love, and places that we know you’ll love too!

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