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2 August 2021

Best UK Trust memberships

We compare organisations such as Cadw, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust to help you discover which to join
Joey Willoughby-Rainsford

Our fair British Isles offer a wide variety of scenic places to visit, and becoming a member of a UK Trust can be a rewarding way to engage with and preserve British wildlife and history. 

In June 2021, we looked at eight memberships offered by conservation charities such as English Heritage, the National Trust, the Woodland Trust and more.

Find out the membership prices, the number of sites each offers and what membership benefits are available, as well as the kinds of causes each trust supports, to help you decide which is the right one for you.

Prices last checked on 2 August 2021.

UK Trust memberships

Below is an alphabetically ordered list of the main trust memberships available in the UK. 

Cadw

Cadw

Membership options: 

Individual memberships
Adult (21 to 64)
£51.30 a year
Senior Citizen (65 plus)
£39 a year
Student (valid NUS number required) or Young Person (18 to 20)
£27.80 a year
Junior (five to 17)
£21.40 a year

Joint (from £64.60 a year), family (from £48.30 a year) and lifetime (from £525) memberships are also available.

Join Cadw.

Number of sites: Cadw cares for 130 sites in Wales, 24 of which are paid entry.

Find a Cadw historical location.

Membership benefits:

  • 10% off the Cadw gift shops
  • 50% off entry to Historic Scotland and English Heritage sites during your first year of membership 
  • Free entry to English Heritage and Historic Scotland from second year of membership onwards
  • Free entry to Manx National Heritage properties
  • A membership pack, which includes a car sticker and a map
  • First chance to buy tickets with discounted rates for paid events
  • Member-only events, for example bespoke conservation tours 
  • 10% discount at national museum gift shops. 

How to cancel: Email the membership department cadwmembership@equinox.wales

Its mission: Cadw's mission is to protect the historic environment of Wales and make it more accessible to visitors. 

English Heritage

English Heritage

Membership options:

Individual memberships
One adult aged (18 years plus)
£5.33 a month or £64 a year
Senior adult (65 years plus) 
£4.75 a month or £57 a year
Young Adult/Student (18 to 25 with a valid NUS card)
£4.25 a month or £51 a year

Joint (from £7.25 a month), family (from £5.33 a month) and lifetime (from £1170) memberships are also available.

Join English Heritage.

Number of sites: English Heritage members gain access to more than 400 historic sites and places, with free parking where the car park is owned by English Heritage.

Find an English Heritage site.

Membership benefits:

  • Access to more than 400 historic places across England
  • Free entry for up to six children (children must be under the age of 18 and within the same family as the adult member). 
  • Free or reduced-price entry to hundreds of events 
  • Free parking in English Heritage-owned car parks.

How to cancel: Call 0370 333 1182.

Its mission: English heritage wants to inspire public interest in English history while conserving historic sites and artefacts. 

Historic Royal Palaces

Historic Royal Palaces

Membership options:

Individual (single named adult over the age 16)
£59 a year
Joint (two named adults over the age of 16)
£89 a year
Family 1 (one named adult and up to six named children age five to 15)
£82 a year
Family 2 (two named adults and up to six named children age five to 15)
£116 a year

Join Historic Royal Palaces.

Number of sites: Six in and around London.

Find a Historic Royal Palace.

Membership benefits:

  • Free entry to Hampton Court Palace, Tower of London, Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
  • 10% discount on admission into Kew Gardens, in which Kew Palace is situated, and free entry to the Great Pagoda
  • Free subscription to its member's magazine Inside Story
  • 10% discount in its shops, cafés and restaurants 
  • A programme of behind the scenes member events, including tours, lunches and lectures.

How to cancel: Contact via its website with the Historic Royal Palaces form.

Its mission: Historic Royal Palaces maintain six palaces, which it seeks to safeguard for future generations and tell the stories of Britain's monarchs and their history. 

Historic Scotland

Historic Scotland

Membership options:

Individual memberships
Adult (25 to 64)
£4.35 a month (paid via direct debit with 10% discount) or £58 a year
Concession (65 or over, full-time student, in receipt of state benefit, serving member of British Armed Forces)
£3.45 a month (paid via direct debit with 10% discount) or £46 a year
Young Person (16 to 24)
£2.50 a month (paid via direct debit with 10% discount) or £33 a year

Joint (from £6.37 a month), family (£6.37 a month) and lifetime (from £850) memberships are also available.

Join Historic Scotland.

Number of sites: More than 200 across Scotland.

Find a Historic Scotland site

Membership benefits:

  • Free entry to Historic Scotland attractions 
  • Free entry to Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle 
  • Discounted entry to other attractions 
  • Membership pack containing cards and handbook 
  • Free quarterly members' magazine 
  • 20% discount in Historic Scotland shops 
  • Member-only area with exclusive quizzes and photo galleries, plus access to HES resources 
  • 10% discount in Historic Scotland cafés.

How to cancel: Email members@hes.scot or call 0131 668 8999

Its mission: Historic Scotland is the lead public body established to investigate, care for and promote Scotland's historic environment. 

National Trust

National Trust

Membership options:

Individual memberships
Adult (26 plus)
£72 a year or £6 a month
Young person (18 to 25)
£36 a year
Junior (0 to 17) 
£10 a year

Joint (from £10 a month), family (from £6.50 a month) and lifetime (from £1620) memberships are also available.

Join the National Trust.

Number of sites: More than 500 special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Find a National Trust location on its map.

Membership benefits:

  • Free entry to most of the places in its care (some require pre-booking) 
  • Free parking at almost all its car parks (some require pre-booking) 
  • National Trust Handbook with information about its sites 
  • National Trust Magazine three times a year, with interviews and news 
  • Access to its online Members’ Area, with first-look previews and behind-the-scenes features

How to cancel: Contact National Trust through your online account with it.

Its mission: The National Trust protects and cares for places so people and nature can thrive. 

National Trust for Scotland

National Trust for Scotland

Membership options:

Individual memberships
Adult (25 to 59)
£5.25 per month or £63 a year
Senior (60 plus)
£4.65 per month or £55.80 a year
Young (16 to 24)
£3 per month or £36 a year

Joint (from 7.30 a month), family (from £6.60 a month) and lifetime (from £1575) memberships are also available.

Join the National Trust Scotland.

Number of sites: 99 locations throughout Scotland

Find a National Trust for Scotland location.

Membership benefits:

  • Free entry to National Trust for Scotland sites
  • Free or concessionary entry to National Trust organisations properties worldwide, including in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 
  • Free parking at National Trust for Scotland car parks, with downloadable passes as soon as you join 
  • Publications, including a subscription of its members’ magazine, e-newsletter and guide.

How to cancel: See this page for information

Its mission: To protect and care for Scotland’s heritage and to provide opportunities for everyone to experience it.   

Scottish Wilflife Trust

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Membership options:

Individual memberships
Adult
Starting from £3 a month or £36 a year
Concession (senior citizens, full-time students and unemployed UK residents)
Starting from £1.50 a month or £18 a year

Joint (from £2 a month), family (from £4.50 a month) and lifetime (from £900) memberships are also available. 

Join the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Number of sites: 120 wildlife reserves across Scotland

Find a Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve or visitor centre.

Membership benefits:

  • Free entry to its visitor centres 
  • Subscription to its magazine Scottish Wildlife published three times a year 
  • A copy of its Exploring Reserves guide, detailing more than 100 of its wildlife reserves across the country 
  • Discounts on guided walks and events 
  • An invitation to the annual members’ event 
  • An opportunity to vote on Trust affairs 
  • A chance to participate in the activities of your local groups.

How to cancel: To cancel use their online contact us form.

Its mission: The Scottish Wildlife Trust aims to champion, protect and restore nature and to inspire people to experience, learn about and care for wildlife and wild places. 

Woodland Trust

Woodland Trust

Membership options:

Individual membership
£4 a month
Joint membership
£4.50 a month
Life membership
£350
Joint life membership
£500

Join Woodland Trust.

Number of sites: More than 800 woodlands across England, Wales and Scotland.

Find a Woodland Trust site.

Membership benefits: 

  • Normally new members get a membership pack, but this is delayed at present.

How to cancel: Email enquiries@woodlandtrust.org.uk or call 0330 333 3300

Its mission: To restore damaged areas, create havens for wildlife by planting millions of trees every year, as well as campaign for new laws to protect ancient woodland. 

A family on a walk

How the charitable trusts compare

Struggling to decide who to join? Here are some questions to consider to help you chose what's best for you and your loved ones. 

Which trust membership is best for me considering the day trips I like and causes I support?

With most of the memberships on offer, there's a choice between historic sites or wildlife reserves, and most are either a cultural and educational charity or a conservation charity. Some memberships, such as the National Trust, offer you access to both types. 

It's worth considering whether your membership offers free parking and if you're required to pre-book parking or tickets to enter any of its sites. 

If you or a family member has accessibility needs, we'd recommend getting in contact before joining to check if the sites you want to visit have suitable accessibility and facilities. 

Which trust membership is best for me considering where I live and where I can get to?

Some trusts have sites across the UK, whereas others are more regional. We've included the maps and site locations in the table below so you can compare.

Trust
Regions
Causes
Link to sites
Cadw
Wales
Cultural
English Heritage
England
Cultural
Historic Royal Palaces
London
Cultural
Find a palace
Historic Scotland
Scotland
Cultural
National Trust
England, Wales & Northern Ireland
Cultural and conservation
Find a day out
National Trust for Scotland
Scotland
Cultural and conservation
Scottish Wildlife Trust
Scotland
Conservation
Woodland Trust
England, Wales & Scotland
Conservation
Find a wood
A family on at a picnic

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