Last year we joined the National Trust. It wasn't something that we had considered before, but after arriving at Fountains Abbey on Boxing Day and realising it would cost us an arm and a leg to get in, we signed up to their family membership plan to spread the cost. It was a good deal on the day because we didn't have to spend forty quid on the entrance fee, but whether the £120 spread over the year was worth it remained to be proved. Since I am a massive nerd, I kept track of what we spent over the year.
Here's a list of the National Trust properties that we visited:
- Fountains Abbey
- Brimham Rocks
- Benningbrough Hall
- Clumber Park
- The Workhouse
- Nostell Priory
- Hardwick Hall
- Nunnington Hall (twice)
- Rievaulx Terrace
Without membership we would have paid £242.90 (including £17 parking charges), so we saved £113. Not bad! If cost is the only metric, membership has proved to be very good value for money. Having the card in our pocket (and the monthly direct debit going out) pushed us to get out as often as possible, and they were all well worth the visit.
Unfortunately there are only a dozen national trust properties within a couple of hours drive of us, and we've done the majority of them now. Some of the properties are massive and need more than one visit, so I've renewed the membership this year so that we can go back and explore those further and maybe visit a couple of the ones further out. I can't see that it would be worth renewing further than that unless we move somewhere else, but we only need to visit five or six properties to cover the cost.
Here's some photos from our year with the National Trust: