About the National Trust

Dog walkers by the shore of Derwentwater, Borrowdale and Derwent Water, Cumbria.

With the help of our supporters, the National Trust has taken care of this country’s special places for nearly 125 years, ensuring that our vibrant history and nature is preserved for generations to come.

Octavia Hill was one of the founders of the National Trust
Octavia Hill (after John Singer Sargent) by Reginald Grenville Eves, RA
Octavia Hill was one of the founders of the National Trust

Deep-rooted beginnings 

In 1895, Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley pledged to preserve our historical and natural places. The aim of this group 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 have remained at the heart of everything we do nearly 125 years later.

Your special places and memories

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
  • An estimated 500 historic houses, castles, parks, and gardens
  • Nearly one million works of art

Our shared places stretch across the nation, from Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island in Northumberland, to the peaceful sands of Porthcurno, Cornwall.

We don’t just take care of rural properties, either – our reach spans to urban landscapes such as the Crown Bar in Belfast, and 2 Willow Road, an influential Modernist home in the heart of London.

Other pockets of the UK’s culture and heritage are under our care, including lighthouses, mines, and works of art. Community spirit is the motivator to making special places better for everyone, and we're working to open up city landscapes to encorage nature back into urban areas, working alongside councils and other organisations to achieve this. 

" I think we want four things. Places to sit in, places to play in, places to stroll in, and places to spend a day in."
- Octavia Hill, co-founder of the National Trust

Places to escape to

We want to work together to give as many people as possible that freedom to enjoy places. This is why we're investing more to provide you with better facilities, a wider variety of events, and more places closer to where you live.

The numbers speak for themselves: in 2017-18, more than 61,000 volunteers gave up their time to help out with looking after special places, and over 5 million people are National Trust members. And with our anniversary celebrations coming up in 2020, there's lots more to come from the National Trust.

Whether you help our cause through cake, or make the most out of places through membership, thank you for your continued support.

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More of what we do