Let me tell you why it’s worth investing in the National Trust in 2021

The National Trust, or the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, is a heritage conservation charity which was formed in 1895. It seeks to protect houses, buildings, gardens, coastal areas and countryside throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A quick review of the National Trust’s website will show you that the charity currently owns and cares for approximately 585 sites, including the world renowned Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim (Northern Ireland) and St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall (England).

Members of the National Trust have free entrance to most of the sites, as well as free car parking at the majority of National Trust locations. Individual membership currently costs £72 a year. Alternatively, a joint membership for two people amounts to £120 a year, or £60 per person.

I’ve not made it to all of the 585 sites yet – though I’m planning to give it a good go during 2021: the year of the ‘staycation‘! – but I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite locations to date. I’ve also added the current entrance fee to each of the sites mentioned below, which should highlight the great value of the membership price (should you wish to visit a number of National Trust sites during a 12 month period).

My Favourite National Trust sites (so far):

Keen mathematicians will calculate that adult entrance to the 8 places listed below currently amounts to £97. Therefore, with a further 577 sites to visit, it is evident that the £72 annual fee for an individual National Trust membership is INSANELY good value – if you’re willing to tour around the UK to see the sites. Membership money goes towards protecting these sites for future generations and so it really is a win-win investment.

If you’re interested in hearing about which National Trust sites I explore next, make sure you’ve subscribed to my blog!

Ham House

Location: Richmond, London

Entry Fee for 1 Adult: £13

Personal Highlights: This 17th century house and its gardens are completely stunning. The Cherry Garden is particularly impressive. It is hard to believe that the House is only a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of central London, when stood in the ‘Silent Space’ of the Wilderness Garden. An al fresco lunch in the extensive kitchen garden of the Orangery Café is a must.

Arlington Court

Location: Near Barnstaple, North Devon

Entry Fee for 1 Adult: £8

Personal Highlights: Arlington Court and its formal Victorian-era gardens are undoubtedly beautiful, but the 20 miles of footpath surrounding the property are the highlight for me. Keep an eye out for the huge monkey puzzle trees on the wonderfully invigorating 2-hour Lake Walk.

Check out some other stunning National Trust locations in North Devon here.

Ickworth

Location: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Entry Fee for 1 Adult: £10

Personal Highlights: The 9.6km Monument Trail surrounding the Rotunda of Ickworth House is a fabulous flat walk. Those who embark upon the trail thoroughly earn a coffee and sausage roll in the beautiful Italianate gardens.

Ickworth House

Dunster Castle

Location: Near Minehead, Somerset

Entry Fee for 1 Adult: £10

Personal Highlights: As someone who loves tropical scenery, I was delighted to find dozens of palm trees within Dunster Castle’s stunning grounds. Palm trees are a real rarity in England! Milling has been part of the Dunster estate since medieval times and so it was fascinating to see the estate’s working watermill producing flour by using the power of the River Avill.

Wimpole Estate

Location: Royston, Cambridgeshire

Entry Fee for 1 Adult: £18

Personal Highlights: Wimpole comprises of 600 acres of parkland and the walk up to the estate’s Gothic Folly is particularly enjoyable. Wimpole’s Home Farm is very sweet and great for children. I loved seeing the range of different pig breeds at the farm.

Anglesey Abbey

Location: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Entry Fee for 1 Adult: £10

Personal Highlights: The grounds of Anglesey Abbey are made up of a number of different and unique gardens to explore. Stop for a coffee on the South Lawn and soak up the views of the Jacobean House!

Check out some of my favourite things to do in Cambridge here.

Polesden Lacey

Location: Near Dorking, Surrey

Entry Fee for 1 Adult: £13

Personal Highlights: I absolutely loved the exterior to Polesden Lacey, with a striking combination of purple wisteria upon a golden-yellow country house. The formal gardens are particularly impressive too. Wander through the rolling hills of Surrey by embarking upon one of the Estate’s four waymarked trails.

Belton House

Location: Grantham, Lincolnshire

Entry Fee for 1 Adult: £15

Personal Highlights: A herd of 300 deer reside around the grounds to the property and it is incredible to see them grazing so close to Belton House. The Dutch and Italian gardens are beautiful and not to be missed. The short ‘Pleasure Grounds walk’ around the informal woodland is a relaxing affair – look out for the mustard yellow fishing lodge on the boating lake!

Let me know in the comments below some of your favourite National Trust sites!