Car parking FAQs

Volunteer working in car park

Over recent months you may have noticed some changes when parking at our pay-and display car parks. Found mainly at our coast and countryside places, the car park pay-and-display machines are being upgraded to allow our members to scan their member card for a free parking ticket. All upgrades to pay-and-display machines will be completed during 2018.

Low Wray reception

Member cards not scanning 

You may have recently had problems scanning your member card when visiting our places. We’re sorry if this is the case. Please request a replacement via My National Trust, or call us on 0344 800 1895. Your car park sticker will continue to give you free parking at all our places.

Car park pay-and-display: supporter scanning

The great thing about this is that every time you scan your card, the place you are visiting will get an allocation of National Trust funds, which will be used to maintain and improve facilities and footpaths.

You should always carry your member card with you when visiting our places for your free entry and parking benefits.

Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions; please have a look and if you have any further questions, let us know as we will be updating these as the project progresses.

Frequently asked questions:

Why is scanning of member cards at pay-and-display sites being introduced?

Currently we have no way of monitoring the overall use of the majority of our coast and countryside car parks as we only have a record of the number of visitors who pay for parking. Scanning of member cards for your free parking will enable us to understand just how many people are using our car parks and when.

This will help us better support conservation needs at the places you are visiting through providing additional funding from your membership fees back to the property for each member visit. Remember, scanning each time will help fund the specific place you are visiting so that we can provide better facilities on site. We’ll also be able to better understand pressures on our car parks, which will enable us to provide better facilities on site.

How do I scan my card for a free parking ticket?

Follow these steps:

  •  When visiting a National Trust pay-and-display car park, please take your member card to the machine.
  • As many of the machines are solar powered, you may need to press any button to 'wake' the machine up.
  • Press the yellow highlighted button (indicated as the Member button on screen) and place your member card, with the QR/barcode facing upwards, in the wide scanner on the left side of the machine.
  • The machine should beep to register the scan; your ticket will be with you in a couple of seconds.
  • Please place the ticket in your car windscreen. 

Tip: Having your card to hand when pressing the member button will prevent the machine timing out whilst you try to locate the card. If the machine does time out, just start again by pressing any button to 'wake' the machine.

If you require some extra help check out the video of how best to scan your card. 


Need help scanning your card?

Struggling to scan your member card? Watch our video that explains how to do this.

What if the pay-and-display machine isn’t working?

Staff are often on hand in our car parks to help visitors, so if the machine appears not to be working/out of order, please see if there is someone available to help you. If not, your car sticker indicates that you are a valid member, so please be assured that it is fine to leave your car. 

The scanner doesn’t seem to be working – why not?

 We are in the process of activating the scanners in our pay-and-display machines so, whilst the majority of machines have a scanner these are not yet working in all machines. The signs at the machine should indicate if the scanner is inactive. If you have any concerns, please see a member of staff, if available, and remember that your car sticker remains valid for free parking in 2017. 

Why won’t my card scan?

We’re aware of a print issue with a small batch of our member cards, which means that the QR/barcode is not reading correctly (both at our visit tills and in our pay-and-display machines). We are unable to identify which members have been affected in order to replace the card. If you find that you are not able to scan at more than one site, please do get in contact for a replacement card and rest assured, your car sticker will indicate free parking for this year. 

Will members be fined if they do not have their member cards?

No. Your car parking sticker will still be valid for free parking, but by starting to scan your member cards you’ll be benefiting the places you love.

Getting to and from the machine is difficult for me. What are you doing to help?

 If you have mobility issues and you are a Blue Badge holder, remember that you're able to park for free in our pay-and-display car parks as long as you display your badge – there is no need to scan. Though if you are with someone who can scan on your behalf, remember that the property will benefit from your visit. 

Will the car stickers be phased out?

 The National Trust has produced a car 'badge' of some sort for 70 years and we know that many members love displaying their car sticker, so the National Trust is not looking to phase this out. You will see a car sticker as before in your 2018 Handbook, though over next year we will be phasing out this as an indicator for free parking – so remember to scan your card.

I’m a life member and I don’t have a scannable card. How do I access free parking?

 All new life member cards issued from January 2017, and all those replaced this year, will have a QR/barcode that can be scanned in car park pay-and-display machines. From July 2017, we will be contacting all life members to replace your member cards with a new scannable card. As soon as you receive your new card, you’ll be able to scan for your free parking ticket and help support the places you’re visiting. Until then, the 2017 car sticker remains valid. 

If you haven’t received a new card by November 2017, please contact us – we may have an old address for you. 

We appreciate that many members love their life member card and the memories they have of visiting, and you will of course be able to keep your old card as a memento. 

What does the asterisk mean on my membership card?

The asterisk indicates who makes payment for the membership or who was listed first on the membership application. This helps our staff and volunteers if members choose to renew or make any changes to their membership while at a property.

What personal details are held in the car park machine and can I be identified?

The data held by each car park pay-and-display machine to verify the member card is a single unique encrypted code per member. No personal information on any supporter is held in the car park machines and no member can be identified from their scan except by the National Trust.

How will the data that is gathered from membership scanning be used?

The data we gather from this will be used in a variety of different ways. It will be used to allocate National Trust funds accurately to the places you visit to help them maintain facilities and footpaths, as well as enable us to manage our car parks more effectively.

We use summary data for analysis to understand which types of members are visiting which sites and when, to ensure we can provide the right facilities and information, as well as gain some understanding of average drive times people are making to our places.

And, as with member card scans at properties, when you have given us permission we’ll use the data collected to offer you a more personalised experience of the National Trust through more tailored communications, and it will make us more efficient so even more of your money will go towards caring for the places you enjoy. In some instances, it will also help us plan how to get the on-site offer right for you.

For more information see our privacy policy.

Staff and volunteers standing outside at Basildon Park, Berkshire.

How to contact us 

For any enquiries about your membership or about the organisation, please contact us. Phone: 0344 800 1895 (local call rates apply). Or send us a letter: The National Trust, PO Box 574, Manvers, Rotherham, S63 3FH. Email: