Membership for local historical houses and gardens
I think I can finally say I’m a fully fledged adult! Nothing to do with having a husband, a mortgage, or even a child. It wasn’t until I got my National Trust membership card that i felt like a proper grown up! We’ve used it loads already and wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to young families. But now I’m a little hooked on family memberships, especially ones locally. So we thought we’d put a little blog together of some of our favourites – just in time to put on your Christmas list!
I think every new parent should receive a membership to RHS if they’ve got a local postcode! The local RHS gardens is the beautiful Harlow Carr. Situated just a couple miles from Harrogate town centre it’s easily accessible by car, bus (no 6) and even by foot via the pine woods. We’ve spent the whole day at Harlow Carr, and on other occasions when my little one hasn’t been on the best form, we’ve just gone for half an hour just to get out of the house. Come rain, wind, snow or on the odd occasion sun this place always delivers! Every school holiday, they have a different themed events, from Dinosaurs trails to appearances from the Very Hungry Caterpillars. If that’s not enough to entice you then did we mention there’s a Bettys onsite.
Annual membership to RHS starts from £69 for a Joint Membership. It includes:
Unlimited entry to all four RHS Gardens (other RHS Gardens are based in Essex, Devon and Surrey) for 2 members, a family guest or up to 4 children
Free member access to more than 200 RHS Partner Gardens
I think this is pretty much the go to membership when you become a grown up! Going on National Trust day trips were a highlight of my childhood and are already becoming a firm favourite of my little girls! Locally, we have some real beauties to take advantage of. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens and Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens are our two local go to. My daughter is a big fan of the play area at Fountains Abbey. In fact, on more than one occasion we’ve gone just to play there. Its a reason why I love memberships so much – not even a 30 min trip is a wasted entry fee! There are hundreds of National Trust sites all over the country. If we are going somewhere more than a 3 hour drive away, we always make a point of stopping at a National Trust site to stretch our legs and prevent a toddler tantrum!
They have two types of annual family membership.
Family 2 Adults – £126. Two adults (aged 18+) living at the same address and up to 10 of their children or grandchildren (17 or under). Under 5s go free.
Family 1 Adult – £78. One adult (aged 18+) and up to 10 of their children or grandchildren (17 or under). Under 5s go free.
Membership includes free entry to over 500 National Trust places and free parking at most NT car parks. For more information see here.
EH is a charity that manages over 400 historic monuments, buildings and places. These include prehistoric sites, medieval castles, Roman forts and country houses. Locations include Stonehenge, Dover Castle and Hadrian’s Wall. There are three EH sites locally. They are: Spofforth Castle, St Mary’s Church, Studley Royal and Aldborough Roman Site. It’s worth pointing out that the first two sites are free entry, even without membership. A little bit further a field is Brodsworth Hall and Gardens which we visited last year with family – a lovely day out, with a fab little tea room!
Family membership starts from £60 a year for a family of one adult and up to 6 children. Membership includes unlimited access to over 400 historic places and free parking where the car park is owned by EH. For more information see here.
Historic Houses is the UK’s largest collection of independently owned historic houses and gardens, with seven sites within 10 miles of Harrogate. Included are Harewood House, Newby Hall and Gardens and my personal favourite Ripley Castle and Gardens.
There currently isn’t a family membership, but adult membership (Age 16+) is £54 a year, joint membership £86 a year and junior membership (Age 3-16) is £25 a year, with under 3s being free. Membership includes free access to more than 300 historic houses and gardens across the UK. Although it is worth noting that some sites only allow a certain number of free entries per year – including Harewood House. For more information see here.
Membership is an investment – and if you’re still not sure you’ll get your money’s worth then I’d suggest buying the May edition of Gardeners’ World Magazine. It includes a 2 for 1 entry card for entry to over 400 beautiful gardens – including Ripley Castle and Gardens and Harewood House.