I have been to numerous National Trust properties over the years but have never thought about joining as I have always thought the price was too high or that I wouldn´t want to go to lots of the places as they wouldn´t show anything I was interested in. It could also have been that I perceived National Trust members to be middle aged, kids grown up types might have also made me not join.
However, how wrong was I?
My wife and I recently went to visit Little Morton Hall which is only 15 minutes from our house.
When we arrived we where very impressed with how helpful the staff where and how informative they where. We where also impressed with the condition of the property even though it´s the best part of 500 years old.
But enough about Little Morton Hall, this is about the National Trust.
Now as we where both impressed we looked at the price of a few attractions in the National Trust and found that there where a few in our area and then worked out that to get our money back from the initial outlay of membership we would have to visit just five properties. The most expensive being £7.70. This worked out as £4.60 x 4 and £7.70 x 1 equalling £26.10 which is just £1.40 shy of the price of membership.
So the membership price pays for itself within five properties, which means if you have a family then at £60 its well worth the money even if you only use it whilst on holiday.
So what does my membership get me? Well, if you join at one of the National Trust properties it will get you a refund of your admission price if you´ve already paid. It also get you a load of reading material about the National Trust and their properties in the area you´ve joined including a map of all the National Trust properties. The most prized thing is the current year book which lists all the properties the NT has open, this includes entry fees, directions and opening times.
Why would I want to join then?
Well if you get out and about a lot or need some where to go on that rainy Sunday then a trip to one of its many attractions might just be the ticket.
Personally, I have found the houses, castles, museum and the like to be superb, the condition and cleanliness are superb, as are the staff, who are generally pleasant and knowledgeable. The bonus I think is if you have kids, then your kids are learning stuff without even knowing it, but don´t tell them, however some properties might not be suitable for kids due to the “touch nothing” approach. Its also good exercise as some of the distances you have to walk to get round the houses and gardens are quite large.
So, what does the National Trust do?
Well the Trust was setup in 1895 by Three Victorians – Miss Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley. Who where Concerned about the impact of uncontrolled development and industrialisation of the country. They set up the Trust to act as a guardian for the nation in the acquisition and protection of threatened coastline, countryside and buildings. Today the trust owns over 500,000 acres of land, 600 miles of coastline and over 200 properties.
The trust, which is now a charity gains most of its money from the fees collected from its members which apparently number some 2.7 million.
If you want more information on the National Trust then visit their web site which is at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk or visit one of the National Trust properties and ask one of the staff who will be sure to give you the right information.