Explore the UK with an Arts or Heritage Membership

Explore the UK with an Arts or Heritage Membership

The best way for anyone to explore the UK has to be with an arts or heritage membership. Whether you are a local or overseas visitor, you can make some great savings and discover every nook and cranny of this amazing country.

Whats so great about an Arts or Heritage Membership?

My membership for England’s heritage organisation, National Trust, costs me just £5.25 a month. I have been a member for over four years and I can honestly say it is one of the best subscriptions I have ever had.

Here’s why:

  • It allows me to visit over 500 sites across England, Wales and Northern Ireland each month
  • I get outdoors, visit historic houses and castles, and hike across beautiful landscapes
  • It encourages me to explore parts of the country I may not have considered visiting
  • I get free parking at hundreds of car parks across the country
  • There is something for everyone whether I was with my husband, mum or four-year-old nephew

There’s more than just one membership

However, it’s not just the National Trust where you can benefit from a membership. There are so many arts and heritage organisations across the UK that offer memberships so you can visit the places you love. 

Plus, many places offer memberships to overseas visitors. Either through reciprocal agreements with heritage organisations across the world or through buying a pass. So, if you are spending some time in the UK a membership pass can save you a lot of money.


The National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Dunster Castle, National Trust
Dunster Castle

The National Trust has been running for over 120 years. The charity protects and preserves a vast number of places; from nature reserves, coastlines and forests, to historic houses, gardens and villages. They rely on visitor entry fees, memberships and donations to be able to look after the places trusted in their care, along with dedicated volunteers who work alongside staff.

Some of my favourite places are:

  • Winston Churchill’s family home, Chartwell House in Kent
  • The Needles Old Battery on the Isle of Wight
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland
  • Birling Gap and Seven Sisters in East Sussex
  • 14th century Dunster Castle in Somerset

Annual memberships are offered as Individual (including young person’s), Joint (any two adult’s at the same address) and Family (one or two adults plus up to 10 children). Overseas visitors can buy a pass for a number days at a discounted rate.

Membership subscriptions range from £2.63 to £9.25 a month.


National Trust for Scotland

Glen Coe
Glen Coe

The National Trust for Scotland solely looks after places in Scotland. They cover sites in places such as Edinburgh, the highlands, and all the way out to the Shetland islands. Places range from castles, archaeological sites and battlefields, to mountain ranges, islands, and wildlife reserves. With so much history and diverse landscapes packed into one small country, an annual membership would cover every interest.

Popular locations include:

  • Scotland’s famous Glen Coe
  • Glenfinnan Monument
  • Glen Etive featured in the Bond movie Skyfall
  • Culzean Castle near Ayr
  • The bird observatory on Fair Isle, Britain’s most remote inhabited island.

Annual memberships are offered as Individual (including young person’s and senior’s), Joint Senior’s (two adult’s at the same address with one over 60 years old) and Family (one or two adults plus up to 4 children). Overseas visitors can take advantage of reciprocal agreements with international organisations.

Membership subscriptions range from £1.80 to £7.00 a month.


Museums Association

Victoria and Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum

The Museums Association offers entry to members at over 900 museums and galleries across the UK. Established in 1889 it is the oldest museum association in the world. Memberships are offered to people who work and volunteer in museums, students, retired professionals and people who just have an interest (like you and me!). They also offer memberships to institutions and corporations, which primarily fund the association. Museums and Galleries can be visited across the whole of the UK, including major establishments in London.

Popular places include:

  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Tate Modern in London
  • National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh
  • The Roman Baths Museum in Bath
  • Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester

Annual memberships are offered on an individual basis and are dependant on your annual income. Four price brackets range from salaries of less than £24,500 charged at 4 payments of £19.98 to salaries over £70,000 charged at £50.73. There are also discounts for students, retirees, unemployed and volunteers, along with options for international subscribers.


Other Great Arts or Heritage Memberships

As I mentioned, there are so many organisations which offer fantastic memberships. But don’t forget to check out your local independent museums, national parks and heritage sites. Many also offer annual memberships or even free entry.

Here are a few more national arts or heritage memberships to consider.

Historic England

English Heritage

Historic Environment Scotland

National Art Pass

Historic Houses Association

Historic Royal Palaces



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