Introducing our remarkable collections

We look after one of the world's largest and most significant holdings of fine art and heritage objects – a treasure chest of history. No other organisation conserves such a range of heritage locations with buildings, contents, gardens and settings intact, nor provides such extensive public access.

Our places, our collections

Many works of art, furniture and other objects in the collections were commissioned, acquired and accumulated by country house owners over many centuries, as contemporary furnishings and as dazzling displays.

Oak and cedar cabinet with ivory veneer, 1650-1660 / Ham House NT 1139080
Oak and cedar cabinet with ivory veneer, Ham House
Oak and cedar cabinet with ivory veneer, 1650-1660 / Ham House NT 1139080

Frequently these were conscious creations - personal statements of taste, patronage, lineage and social status. High fashion, design and superb craftsmanship were the order of the day.

But not all places are grand treasure houses. Many are small and not at all ostentatious, with deep personal associations, sometimes with an individual writer, politician, architect, poet or composer.

Every object tells a story

Our collections offer you the chance to uncover a broad spectrum of social, political, scientific and industrial histories. The lives and occupations of former inhabitants of our places are quietly evoked, illuminated by their surviving personal treasures.

The Leconfield Chaucer, illuminated manuscript in black and red script on vellum, 1420-1440 / Petworth NT 486026
Leconfield Chaucer, Petworth
The Leconfield Chaucer, illuminated manuscript in black and red script on vellum, 1420-1440 / Petworth NT 486026

Many historic libraries also survive remarkably intact, conjuring a special atmosphere of personal study and reflection. They range from those of wealthy collectors to those formed with more practical and provincial ambitions. Some were formed by literary giants, such as the writers Rudyard Kipling and George Bernard Shaw.

Art from far flung corners

Works of art and objects originate from many places and times, from ancient Egypt and Greece, China and India, and of course Britain and Europe.

Chinese wallpaper, silk and pigment, c.1755 - 1770 / Saltram NT 872999
Chinese wallpaper at Saltram
Chinese wallpaper, silk and pigment, c.1755 - 1770 / Saltram NT 872999

Archaeological sites in Britain tell stories that are thousands of years old, through surviving artefacts, structures and landscape features.

Something for everyone

Special collections, displays and ever-changing exhibitions can now be enjoyed at more places, inviting discovery of the full extent of our holdings.

Visitors enjoying Rembrandt's Self-portrait wearing a feathered bonnet, 1635 / Buckland Abbey NT 810136
Visitors enjoying Rembrandt selfie at Buckland Abbey
Visitors enjoying Rembrandt's Self-portrait wearing a feathered bonnet, 1635 / Buckland Abbey NT 810136

With close to a million objects – with internationally significant collections of paintings, furniture, ceramics, books, tapestries and more  – there is no shortage of choice.

Explore some of the highlights from our collections
Soldiers map reading mural by Stanley Spencer

Great masterpieces in our collections 

Be inspired by some of the greatest masterpieces in our collections, chosen by the National Trust's Curator of Pictures and Sculpture. From Bosch and Burne-Jones to Rembrandt and Whistler, these are exceptional paintings on show among the 200 historic houses we care for.