Make the most of it: Your National Trust Membership
Family membership of the National Trust is available for around just a little over one hundred pounds a year for two adults and up to 10 children ( 17 or under ) which is amazing value when you consider the sheer number of sites to visit all over country and the great special events that run all year round.
National Trust membership provides free entry to over 500 sites, free parking at most National Trust car parks, a handbook full of ideas, a magazine and regular newsletters via e-mail.
We have loved having family membership for the last 12 months as its allowed us to have lots of fun and inexpensive days out, not only as a family but also with friends. One of the big benefits has been that we no longer feel like we need to be out all day to get the most from the entry cost, but can just go for a few hours, when we need some fresh air or the kids need to run around.
We’ve found National Trust sites to be perfect for meeting up with friends who don’t live close by as we can always find a lovely site in between us, meaning no one has to travel too far.
Catch up with friends
Instead of meeting for lunch or at a theme park, meet at a National Trust site, have a walk together, play in a playground and then enjoy some delicious food in a café on site.
Watch out for running events taking place in your local area or simply take a long walk. The National Trust website has hundreds of walking routes which are perfect for walkers of every ability.
Look out for fitness trails as well; we really enjoyed the one at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire.
If you’re more of a cyclist than a walker, there are cycle routes to explore too! See here for recommendations of great places for a family bike ride.
Try something new
Did you know the National Trust look after some of Britain’s greatest surfing beaches? Grab a board and give it a go!
Some sites offer geocaching. We found this to be great for encouraging our children to walk as they excitedly ran from place to place using a GPS tracker we hired at The Vyne one weekend.
Inspire the kids
My children can spend hours playing in a park, but sometimes a walk is a little more difficult to get them excited about. However, National Trust sites generally have lots of trees to climb, sticks to find and hills to run up and down, so pretty much everything needed to make them forget they’re actually on a walk with Mum and Dad! If we add a few little friends into the mix, and then finish with hot chocolate and cake we know we’re in for a great day.
We’ve found some amazing playgrounds over the last year at National Trust sites and would definitely recommend Wix Wood’s beautiful willow tunnel, balance beams and log piles at Hatchlands Park in Surrey. Waddesdon Manor has an amazing magical wooden playground, The Vyne in Hampshire a wonder filled Tolkien inspired playground and Cliveden is home to the amazing Storybook Play Den, where my children have spent many, many happy hours.
We’ve also enjoyed the ball run at Basildon Park, crafts, horse riding and outdoor games at Hatchlands Park and even tried a huge slide at Cliveden. There always seems to be something new to try whatever the time of year.
Try the special events
The National Trust offers special events throughout the year. We’ve hunted for eggs on the annual Easter Egg hunt, climbed trees with The Big Tree Climbing Company, followed Christmas trails and even a Sylvanian Family trail. You can generally find something special happening in every school holiday, but do check the National Trust website for up to date information.
With all that to offer, less than £10 a month for family membership is amazing value. We will most definitely be renewing our membership this year.