I love a good snoop like the next person, especially when it means I can take a peek inside some of the UK’s most famous houses but the big question is – which British Heritage Pass should you buy to get the best snooping value for money.
The English Heritage Membership offers free access to over 400+ properties around England including Forts, Castles, Pre-historic sites and pretty Gardens.
Popular Sites – Stonehenge, Dover Castle, Kenilworth Castle
London Sites – Eltham Palace, Wellington Arch, No 1 London
Membership Cost – the English Heritage membership starts at £43.50pp and up to 6 children can enter free with one paying adult / member. The 12 month membership offers free access to sites plus a membership booklet and 4 magazines sent to your home throughout the year. If you are an English Heritage Member you can get a 25% discount off the price of the Historic Houses Association Membership.
If you have a number of Nectar points which you are not sure what to do with then look at converting them over to a free English Heritage Membership.
Overseas Membership Cost – the Overseas Visitor Membership starts at £30pp for a 9 or 16 day pass; you can find more details here.
Overall – The English Heritage Membership is perfect for families as it offers free entry for children with an adult member plus there are a number of fun activities offered to families during the holidays. For me personally I love the diversity of the sites on offer to members and am seriously over indulging on English history at the moment; these are the 10 properties that I want to explore this year.
Historic Houses Association
The Historic Houses Association Membership offers entry into family owned Castles, Stately Homes and Gardens so you are really going to be able to snoop away to your heart’s content. They have 600 properties listed in the handbook and you can gain free entry into approximately 275 properties in England, Wales and Scotland.
Popular Sites – Highclere Castle, Burghley House, Alnwick Castle, Longleat House, Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard.
London Sites – The Queens House, Strawberry Hill House, Syon House
Membership Cost – The Historic Houses Membership starts at £48pp however only free entry is given to children under the age of 5 at most properties. The 12 month membership offers free entry to many properties (still a small charge to enter some so you need to check) and a quarterly magazine.
Overseas Visitors Membership Cost – I can’t see any special overseas visitor memberships unfortunately which is a shame so you will need to cough up for the 12 month membership.
Overall – For me the Historic Houses Association Membership is amazing when it comes to snooping and value for money. As most of the Stately Homes and Castles cost at least £15pp to enter you would only need to visit at least 3 properties in a year to recoup the cost of the membership. If you want to visit Highclere Castle aka Downton Abbey then you can gain free entry with the HHA membership and you don’t have to try and get a ticket online (apparently they are like gold dust especially during the summer months!).
The National Trust membership provides access to many Stately Homes, Gardens, Farms, Parks and many more areas around the United Kingdom – there are 575 properties listed on the National Trust website that you can gain free entry too with your membership.
Popular Sites – Bodiam Castle, Corfe Castle, The Giant Causeway, Hill Top and Cliveden
London Sites – Fenton House and Garden and George Inn
Membership Costs – A National Trust Membership starts at £63pp (for an adult) which is more expensive than the above two memberships and children under the age of 5 can enter free otherwise it’s £30 per child.
Overseas Visitors Membership Costs – Overseas visitors can purchase a 7 or 14 day touring pass which allows access to properties starting at £26pp.
Overall – The National Trust Membership is perfect for families due to the number of family events held at National Trust properties around the country however if you are looking at saving your pennies then the English Heritage Membership is potentially better value. If you are wanting to visit the big Stately Homes then I would recommend the Historic Houses Membership over the National Trust Membership.
Personally I love all the history within the UK and get a huge kick out of visiting all these fabulous properties dotted around the English countryside especially the castles; I’m pretty sure I was a princess in a past life! (I can confirm that via the Past-Life website, I was a princess, I knew it – queue my little happy dance.) I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these British Heritage Passes especially the Historic Houses Association membership if you’re a huge Downton Abbey fan; there is a lot of snooping to be done.
So what is your favourite British Heritage Pass and Property?