Introducing our remarkable collections

We look after one of the world's largest and most significant holdings of fine art and heritage objects, including over 400,000 book titles – a treasure chest of history. With over 200 collections, 144 of which are accredited museums, 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, our museums

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

Day bed made for Queen Maria Theresa (1773–1832), giltwood, walnut and silk, c. 1814. Attingham Park, Shropshire
Day bed
Day bed made for Queen Maria Theresa (1773–1832), giltwood, walnut and silk, c. 1814. Attingham Park, Shropshire

Among the National Trust's treasures, is the most impressive collection of 13,000 oil paintings and we have just published a new book '100 Paintings from the Collections in the National Trust', which gives you a glimpse into some of their fascinating stories. You can explore a selection of the 100 Paintings highlights here.

A Modern Picture Gallery by William Frederick Witherington RA, 1824, Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
A Modern Picture Gallery by William Frederick Witherington RA (1785-1865) at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire
A Modern Picture Gallery by William Frederick Witherington RA, 1824, Wimpole, Cambridgeshire

We look after one in 12 of all the accredited museums in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We also look after several discrete museum collections, including, but not limited to the Carriage Museum at Arlington Court, Devon, the National Trust Museum of Childhood at Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire and the Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock, Wiltshire.

Eridge Cart, c.1890. Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum, Devon
Eridge cart
Eridge Cart, c.1890. Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum, Devon

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.

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.

Peter Paul Rubens, Marchesa Maria Serra Pallavicino (?), 1606. Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Portrait of a woman
Peter Paul Rubens, Marchesa Maria Serra Pallavicino (?), 1606. Kingston Lacy, Dorset

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.

Virginia Woolf's glasses in her writing room at Monk's House, East Sussex
Virginia Woolf glasses in her writing room at Monk's House, East Sussex
Virginia Woolf's glasses in her writing room at Monk's House, East Sussex

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.

View of the Library at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire
View of the Library from the Book Room Door looking towards the windows at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire
View of the Library at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire

A global story

Works of art and objects originate from many times and places, across the globe.

Zuni earthenware water-jar (‘Olla’), made by the A’shiwi (Zuni) Tribe, Zuni Pueblo, Western New Mexico, c.1870–80. Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire
Zuni earthenware water jar
Zuni earthenware water-jar (‘Olla’), made by the A’shiwi (Zuni) Tribe, Zuni Pueblo, Western New Mexico, c.1870–80. Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire

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.

Visitor taking a photograph at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Visitor taking a photograph at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Visitor taking a photograph at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

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

More to discover
Virginia Woolf by Vanessa Bell / Monk's House

Highlights from 100 Paintings 

The paintings in the National Trust's care could rival those of the world’s greatest art galleries. Delve into some of the highlighted works from our new book, 100 Paintings from the Collections of the National Trust, and discover pictures by Sir Joshua Reynolds, J.M.W. Turner and Vanessa Bell, to name but a few. The book includes paintings from medieval to modern times.