Visiting England this summer? Do you love the idea of English gardens, parklands, historical sites, and stately homes and manors? Here’s one of our best travel tips to save money in England with membership cards: whether you are visiting for two weeks or 6 months, here are 3 membership cards that as we, as trusted house sitters, have found incredibly valuable.
While this site uses affiliate links, we do not receive a commission from The National Trust, English Heritage, or the Royal Horticultural Society. We just wholeheartedly recommend them.
1. The National Trust
The National Trust is a conservation charity that aims to look after historical and natural places in England. There are a large amount of incredibly great sites and activities that are managed by the NT, and they have a great membership option for both solo and couple travelers. When driving anywhere in England, you will notice the brown signs with the NT logo directing you to various unmissable places to visit. If you like gardens and parklands, a National Trust Membership will quickly save you money in England.
You can sign up for membership at the fist National Trust Property you visit. They will give you a temporary slip of paper which will be valid for a few weeks. If you are only in the UK for a couple of weeks, this should be fine. If you are here for longer, you will need a UK address to have your card sent to. We’ve used ghost mail services and friends’ addresses in the past.
As of May 2023, a joint membership (2 adults) costs £139. This may sound like a lot, but keep it pays for itself surprisingly quickly. Not only do you get free access to over 500 properties, but you will get free parking at National Trust natural sites also. The parking can be expensive at the Vale of the White Horse, beaches, etc. The price of admission can be £20 or more per person, and parking can be excluded.
2. English Heritage
If you really want to save money in England, and are planning to visit Stonehenge, Whitby Abbey, Scarborough Castle, or many, many other very old historical sites, buying the English Heritage membership is a great way to save money in England. A joint annual membership is £120. Stonehenge alone will cost £23 each. Parking fees at many locations that are otherwise free will easily also add up.
As with National Trust, you can sign up on your first visit and receive a temporary card.
Check out our post on things to do in North Yorkshire to see places where we have used the English Heritage Card.
3. The RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society is maybe more of a niche membership card. If you are planning visit a Flower Show like Chelsea or Hampton Court, however, it is almost a must. To travel like a local you should get an RHS membership. Joint membership is only £78.75 for the year. It gets you access to all the RHS gardens, including Wisley, which is very close to London, and you can buy tickets to member only days at flower shows. For example, we went to the Chelsea Flower show last year, and would highly recommend the whole experience if you are at all into gardening!
We were lucky enough to have the use of the homeowners’ National Trust membership cards on our second ever housesit. In those 2 weeks, we used it so much and decided we definitely needed one for ourselves. We think we’ve saved a couple of hundred pounds in the last year. If you enjoy nature, gardens, and historical sites, you should definitely consider them.
We hope you’ve found some useful ways to save money in England this summer!