UPDATE – March 2020. Due to the Covid-19 crisis English Heritage has currently closed all of their staffed properties. However, free-to-enter sites remain open to visitors. Read the English Heritage statement here.
One of the pleasures of visiting (or living in) England is the wealth of historic sites, spanning the ages from prehistory to the 20th century. Many of these properties are maintained by English Heritage, and you can save a lot of money by taking out an English Heritage membership. (Don’t look away if you don’t live in England – read on for information about reciprocal arrangements and overseas membership.)
What is English Heritage?
English Heritage looks after hundreds of sites across the country. These include castles, abbeys, country houses and much more. Possibly its most famous site is the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge.
English Heritage also has a varied programme of events at many of its properties. These might include outdoor theatre, clay modelling or even yoga. And there are also holiday homes: imagine staying in an old cottage in the grounds of a historic house or castle…
English Heritage are currently offering 15% off Gift Memberships, which can be activated at any time during the year. Just use discount code EH2020
What are the Benefits of English Heritage Membership?
Some of English Heritage’s properties are free to visit, while others have an entry charge. For instance, access to Hadrian’s Wall is unrestricted, but you will pay to visit most of the forts along the Wall. Membership gives you (and your accompanying children) unlimited visits to more than 400 historic places. You will receive a quarterly magazine and access to members-only events. Have a look at the website for details of the different types of membership available.
Reciprocal Arrangements for English Heritage Members… And Others
As an English Heritage member you will also get discounted admission to lots of other properties around the country. These include sites like Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire (the birthplace of Winston Churchill) and the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire.
You can also get free, or half-price, entry to many historic sites in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man and New Zealand. And reciprocal arrangements apply. If you belong to the equivalent heritage organisation in any of those countries, you will be entitled to free or half-price admission to English Heritage properties.
Arrangements for Overseas Visitors
Membership of English Heritage is not limited to those living in England. However, unless you are here for an extended period, you might find that an Overseas Visitor Pass, giving access to over 100 sites, is better value. It covers all of the major properties including Stonehenge, Dover Castle and many Roman sites. Generally speaking, you are likely to save money if you are planning to visit more than two or three of the places included in the Pass.
For myself, I took out life membership of English Heritage many years ago. It seemed expensive at the time, but I have used it hundreds of times since, both in England and elsewhere. It must be the best investment I have ever made!