There’s a great potential money-saving opportunity for anyone travelling to the UK and planning to visit National Trust sites. I recently learned that membership in the National Trust for Canada is also valid in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey and Australia.
I had known that many significant historical sites and nature areas in the United Kingdom belonged to an organization called the National Trust. I had also previously read that some travellers would purchase a membership instead of paying separate admission at each site, as it was cheaper that way.
I didn’t know that various countries, including Canada, have a reciprocal agreement with other National Trust organizations around the world.
National Trust for Canada
The National Trust for Canada is a charitable not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting and preserving historic places across the country.
For example, here are some National Trust properties in Prince Edward Island:
National Trust for Canada Membership
A one-year membership is $40 for an adult, $70 for a family or $25 for a student, plus tax.
The fact that you can use it outside of Canada brings the value of the membership way up. One can use it in England, Australia, Jersey, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
For anyone taking advantage of WestJet’s non-stop routes from Halifax to England and Scotland, consider what your sightseeing itinerary is going to include and whether this membership will save you some money.
National Trust for Scotland
To give you an idea of admission costs in Scotland, here are three places that I’ve visited on previous trips:
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
One Adult Family £12.50
The Georgian House
One Adult Family £12.50
One Adult Family £22
If you visited all three, you’d pay £26.50 or about $45 CAD as of today’s exchange rate. Buying the $40 National Trust for Canada membership would already put you ahead without considering any of the Scottish castles with admission prices of around £13-14 per adult.
In comparison, the National Trust for Scotland membership is £60 for an adult with different prices for seniors, 2 adults, young people and families. For instance, the joint senior membership (for two, including one person 60+) is £78.
Note that the Scottish membership includes parking, whereas the Canadian one does not. If you’re using public transport or taking a small group tour, parking won’t be a consideration. I couldn’t find information on parking costs so I suggest you do some research on the matter if you’re going to rent a car and intend to visit several National Trust sites.
The NTS webpage refers only to free parking in Scotland so I assume one must pay for parking at National Trust sites elsewhere. However, parking is not specifically excluded as it is with the Canadian membership, so it’s not entirely clear.
National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
An adult membership in the National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is £72. As with the Scotland membership, there are other versions for families, 2 adults or young people, but the senior discount is only available to those who’ve held a membership for 5 of the last 10 years.
In addition to the year long membership, there is a Touring Pass available to non-UK residents: £33 (7 days) and £38 (14 days) for one adult. There is also a 2 adult pass and a family pass. These passes do not have validity outside England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They also have a list of exclusions.
It really appears that buying a National Trust for Canada membership could save you a lot of money in the UK, depending on your sightseeing plans. You can also use it as an impetus to visit some interesting historical places in Canada. Thanks to Nicole P on the Rick Steves Travel Forum for posting about this money-saving tip.
If indeed you are taking a trip across the pond and your agenda includes a high number of historic sites, be sure to do the math and factor in things like parking or exclusions to see which membership will actually work best for you.