About the National Trust

Sunset on the beach at Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex

In 2020 we're celebrating 125 years since the National Trust was founded. With the help of our supporters, we protect and care for special places so people and nature can thrive for generations to come.

As Europe’s largest conservation charity, we look after nature, beauty and history for the nation to enjoy. And it’s all thanks to the millions of members, volunteers and staff that support us. Without your help, we wouldn't be able to care for the miles of coastline, woodlands, countryside and the hundreds of historic buildings, gardens and precious collections that we protect.

Celebrating 125 years
Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust

Hilary McGrady celebrates our anniversary 

Thanks to our supporters, together we’ve helped protect and care for places of historic interest and natural beauty for generations. As we mark this milestone anniversary, our Director-General, Hilary McGrady reflects on the last 125 years and sets out our ambitions for the future.

" We all want quiet. We all want beauty... We all need space. Unless we have it, we cannot reach that sense of quiet in which whispers of better things come to us gently."
- Octavia Hill, Co-founder of the National Trust


Watch our 125th anniversary film

The need for natural spaces and historic places is just as important today as the day we were founded. Watch this video to discover why.

Deep-rooted beginnings

In 1895, our founders, Octavia Hill, Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley pledged to preserve our historical and natural places. Their aim was not only to save important sites, but to open them up for everyone to enjoy.

From this trio of environmental pioneers, the National Trust was created – and their original values are still at the heart of everything we do 125 years later.

Nature, beauty, history

For all our hard work, it’s really supporters like you who are doing what matters most: keeping nature and history flourishing. You help us care for:

  • Over 780 miles of coastline
  • More than 250,000 hectares of land
  • Over 500 historic houses, castles, parks, and gardens
  • Nearly one million works of art

Our shared places stretch across the nation, from Lizard Point in Cornwall, to Lindisfarne in Northumberland and Florence Court in Northern Ireland. 

Community spirit is the motivator to making special places better for everyone, and we're working to open up city landscapes to encourage nature back into urban areas, partnering with councils and other organisations to achieve this. 

Hydro power at Hafod Y Llan

How we're tackling climate change 

Climate change is the single biggest threat to the precious landscapes and historic houses we care for. From changing the way we manage our gardens and cutting our carbon emissions, to restoring wildlife habitats, we’re adapting in many ways.

For everyone, for ever

Get involved

Join our 125 challenge

In this special anniversary year, we’d love you to join our 125 challenge and raise £125 for special places. Become a fundraising champion and help protect heritage, landscapes and wildlife.