Ightham Mote

The National Trust – Are you a member?

Contrary to what many people think, the National Trust is completely independent from government. Cynics might say, that is why it is quite good at what it does! The National Trust is a charity that looks after places of beauty and historic interest.

It covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The National Trust for Scotland is a separate organisation with similar principles, members of one organisation have access to the others properties.

Today the National Trust looks after:

  • Nearly 800 miles of coastline
  • Over 600,000 acres of land
  • Around 500 houses, castles, ancient monuments, gardens and parks
  • Nearly 800 miles of coastline

National Trust


Three influential Victorians founded the trust in 1895; Sir Robert Hunter, Octavia Hill and Canon Rawnsley. Their first aim was to  preserve landscapes, soon moving on to buildings and coastlines. The National Trust Acts makes land inalienable preventing it from being sold or developed.

From modest beginnings it has grown with the help of many benefactors and donations to become one of the countries largest landowners. Families unable to maintain ancestral estates have donated them to the trust.

Although known for grand houses, the Trust also preserves humble farm houses, industrial buildings and other places of interest. It owns the modest homes of former Beatles, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Property conservation is expensive, more so if you use traditional materials and methods. Around £100 million is spent per year accounting for about 20% of the total income.

As many properties cannot cover their own costs, the National Trust is highly dependant on cash generated through donations, membership, entrance fees and commercial activities.


Members gain free access to properties, annual and life membership is available. If you visit several properties per year, it can save money whilst also helping a good cause. If you have a local property, as a member you can visit whenever you want to even if just for an hour or so.

The 4.5 million members account for about 30% of the National Trust’s income, as well as free entry, members receive the handbook annually and magazines.


The National Trust could not operate without the 60,000 plus volunteers working alongside the 6000 staff. Volunteers work as room guides, gardeners, rangers, administration assistants and more.

If you can spare the time, it is rewarding.


Some properties have cottages and apartments available for holidays.

National Trust

National Trust Scotland

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