English Heritage – Should I Join?

11 December 2018

By Joseph

How many landlords can compete with a portfolio that includes 66 castles, 23 historic gardens and one (very famous) battlefield?

Not many.

In excess of 400 sites of national significance are managed by English Heritage, the government-funded organisation entrusted to care for England’s protected heritage collection, or – as they put it – ‘telling England’s story’.

What do they do?

The organisation is partly sponsored by the state but also relies on subscription fees from members. Along with the National Trust, the organisation is the guardian of many of Britain’s best-loved days out, with a collection that includes Stonehenge, Dover Castle and Osborne House. Whether you are a keen gardener, history buff or intrepid explorer, English Heritage operates sites across the country to cater for your interests. The group cares for a significant number of prehistory sites as well as many Roman remains, particularly in the North East.

Whilst around 250 sites are free to enter (mostly ruins), English Heritage’s flagship properties do charge a fee. Of note in the North East is Belsay Hall, Chesters Roman Fort, and Tynemouth Priory.  York Cold War Bunker is a particularly unique site in the collection and a reminder of far more recent history.

To pay or not to pay?

Membership is entirely worthwhile for students/under 25’s who pay just £46 per year, or £3.80 per month – roughly the price of a sandwich and a bag of crisps each month. Your membership also offers half-price entry into Scottish and Welsh heritage sites in your first year – upgraded to free entry upon renewal. For those keen to explore even more of the country, a membership to the National Trust is also worthwhile. The National Trust tends to be more active in keeping furnished properties, whilst English Heritage takes a bare-bones approach. Trust membership can be very expensive and they do not offer a student membership in England. However, as the Scottish National Trust have a reciprocal agreement with the English trust, you can normally pick up a student pass (less than £30) with the Scottish organisation and carry on visiting English sites during that time.  

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