English Heritage vs National Trust Membership: Which is Best For You?

If you’re trying to decide between English Heritage membership and National Trust membership, let us help. National Trust vs English Heritage – let the battle commence.

If you want to make this your year of exploring England, then it’s a great idea to sign up to either English Heritage membership or National Trust membership. It’s also a great way to make yourself go out, and to be able to budget for a year of days out and doing fun things. 

Most of the historical places you’ll want to visit in England are under English Heritage or National Trust – so it’s totally worth signing up to one. If you plan to visit more than three historical sites in a year then you’re guaranteed to save money.

We’ll compare English Heritage vs National Trust Membership so you can decide which membership is the best for you.

Savings with a National Trust or English Heritage membership

It’s difficult to put a number on how much money you’ll save with National Trust or English Heritage membership, as it depends on you and how much you use your membership.

You can save a lot of money with a membership to English Heritage or National Trust if you really go for it though. How much will depend on your level of dedication and how much you go. 

National Trust Bodiam Castle

The top three sites on English Heritage add up to £61.70.

Visit these three and you’ve pretty much covered your membership costs already, especially if you consider the free parking. English Heritage membership for an individual adult costs £64 for a year. It’s like you get to see all the other attractions for free. 

English Heritage Battle of Hastings

The top five sites on National Trust add up to £54.

  • Stourhead, Wiltshire = £15
  • Mottisfont, Hampshire = £8
  • Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland = £9
  • Cliveden House, Berkshire = £10
  • Kingston Lacy, Dorset = £13

National Trust properties are generally cheaper, so you’re going to have to work a bit harder for your money back. Visit these five though and with the parking, you’ve pretty much covered your membership costs already. National Trust membership for an individual adult costs £72 per year, and you get all those other benefits too.

English Heritage vs National Trust

About English Heritage membership

English Heritage is a government sponsored body created to guard over 400 historical sites across the country. English Heritage has around 700,000 members and is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

“English Heritage cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and places – from world-famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of an empire to a Cold War bunker.”


English Heritage Membership benefits

  • You can take up to 6 children under 18 free of charge.
  • Free parking at English Heritage-owned car parks.
  • Discounted entrance to properties under the stewardship of Historic Scotland, CADW (Wales) and Manx National Heritage in your first year, free after that. 
  • Discounted entry to over 100 other partner attractions. 
  • Member’s handbook, complete with handy info, maps and photos.
  • Free or reduced entry to English Heritage events, includes live music performances and historical reenactments.
  • See Benefits of Membership for more details.

Highlights of English Heritage membership 

  • Stonehenge in Wiltshire
  • Audley End in Essex
  • Brodsworth Hall in West Yorkshire 
  • Osborne House on the Isle of Wight
  • Tintagel Castle in Cornwall
  • Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland
  • Dover Castle in Kent
  • Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire
  • Hastings Battlefield in East Sussex

Check this page on the English Heritage website to see exactly where you can go if you choose English Heritage over National Trust. 

Cost of English Heritage membership 

  • Adult English Heritage membership £64
  • Adult Couple English Heritage membership £109
  • Senior English Heritage membership £55
  • Senior Couple English Heritage membership £84
  • Overseas £37 for 9 days £44 for 16. Absolute bargain!

Just to note: English Heritage own some sites that are free anyway, so check the entrance fees before you start totting up your savings and choosing whether to go for English Heritage or National Trust.

Look at English Heritage Membership here

About National Trust membership 

The National Trust charity exists to preserve and protect the coastline, countryside and buildings of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are over 200 historic stately homes under the National Trust membership, with acres on acres of parklands and gardens to explore. Very important work.

One of the main attractions with National Trust membership vs English Heritage membership is that you also get free parking at different points in over 1000 square miles of countryside, including the Lake District and the Peak District. Not just at the National Trust sites.

National Trust membership property highlights 

  • Osterley House in London 
  • Cragside in Northumberland
  • John Lennon’s childhood home 
  • Museum at Hadrian’s Wall 
  • Giant’s Causeway in Belfast
  • Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire
  • Attingham Park
  • Belton House
  • Stourhead
  • Anglesey Abbey
  • Mottisfont
  • Waddesdon

Check this page on the National Trust’s website to see where you can go if you choose National Trust over English Heritage. 

National Trust entry

National Trust membership benefits 

  • Free entry to all National Trust for Scotland sites. 
  • Free parking in National Trust owned countryside car parks, often in prime locations close to beaches and coastal walks, as well as at the sites.
  • Member’s handbook, complete with handy info, maps and photos.
  • Free entry to selected places overseas. Check the list out here.
  • Free pair of binoculars if you join and pay by direct debit annually. 
  • See Benefits of Membership for more details.

Cost of National Trust membership 

  • Adult National Trust membership £72
  • Adult Couple National Trust membership £120
  • For an extra £6 you can include children (and grandchildren) under 18 – children under 5 are free anyway
  • Visitors from overseas can purchase a 7 day pass for £33 – absolute bargain!

Senior discount is only available to those who’ve been members for five years out of the last 10 – then it’s 30%.

English Heritage vs National Trust Membership: Which is Best? 

So, which membership should you go for – National Trust or English Heritage? If you can’t decide between English Heritage or National Trust membership, we’ve broken it down for you…

MembershipSites / PropertiesAdult Cost Members
English Heritage400+£641 million
National Trust 350+£725 million

English Heritage membership is best for… 

  • History lovers. 
  • People who love castles and ancient ruins.
  • People who have children and grandchildren with them. 
  • People with an eye on the cost.
  • People who want to be able to attend exclusive events at cool places – online and for real.

Save 15% off Gift & Annual Memberships when you use code “EH2021” on English Heritage Membership! This code expires 31st May 2021.

National Trust membership is best for…

  • Outdoorsy types. 
  • People who love stately homes and gardens. 
  • People without children. 
  • People who want more variety to their days out.


You could always sign up to English Heritage one year, National Trust the next, and then see which you like best to carry on with. Or flit between the two to keep the variety! 

FAQ about English Heritage vs National Trust Membership

Can National Trust members visit English Heritage sites? 

No. Once you’re signed up to one tourist scheme, you can’t go between them. Of course you could sign up to both if you wanted though. 

What properties are on English Heritage and National Trust?

Look up your postcode on this page on the National Trust’s website to see what properties are near you. Then check this page on the English Heritage website to do the same. This will help you to visualise which properties are near you.

Questions to ask yourself: National Trust vs English Heritage

  • Where will you use your National Trust or English Heritage membership?
  • Are there more National Trust or English Heritage properties/sites near you? 
  • Are you likely to use it on holiday, and which one is likely to get most use then? 
  • Are there any specific properties that you want to go to?

English Heritage vs National Trust?

Up to you!

Let us know what you decide to do in the comments below…


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