National Trust increases membership by 50p a month to fund conservation

Press release
Visitors walking in the gardens at Upton House and Gardens, Warwickshire
Published : 06 Feb 2019

The National Trust has announced it will increase its membership price by a maximum of 50p per month to help towards the £16,000 it spends every hour protecting nature and historic places.

The charity says the increase comes at a time when its conservation work is needed more than ever as it sets out an ambitious vision for the future of heritage and open spaces.

During 2017/18, the National Trust spent £138.4m on conservation, an average of £15,799 per hour over the course of the year. This included a record £101.3m looking after historic buildings and their collections, plus £30.4m on coast and countryside and £6.7m on gardens.

Completed work included the £5.4m roof conservation project at The Vyne in Hampshire and the acquisition of 200 acres of land of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) at Tughall Mill in Northumberland, where internationally threatened little terns fledged last year.

To maintain and improve these places, the Trust has announced a membership price increase of an average of 5%. The increase, which will generate an extra £11m for the conservation charity, will go towards funding for conservation projects including:

  • A £5m conservation project at Ickworth in Suffolk, which includes repairing the roof and retiling the rotunda with 42 tonnes of slate.
  • A £4m project to transform how we tell the story of one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk.
  • A £2.2m project to restore the eighteenth-century dams and refill the lakes at Prior Park Landscape Garden in Somerset.
  • A £6.7m conservation project at Seaton Delaval in Northumberland, where work includes stabilising cantilever staircases and the portico steps of the Central Hall and reroofing the West Wing.

Sharon Pickford, Director of Support and Revenue, said: “As always, we rely on the support and goodwill of our loyal membership to allow us to keep caring for some of the nation’s most treasured places, on behalf of everyone. Membership fees allow us to look after 300 historic properties, 778 miles of coastline and 250,000 hectares of countryside across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Last year we spent almost £16,000 every hour conserving and maintaining them.

“Many of the places we protect, like coast and countryside sites, are free to visit and as an independent charity we don’t receive any direct Government funding. This small increase in the price of membership will help us to be rightly ambitious for nature and for the state of historic places, at a time when conservation work couldn’t be more needed.”

The membership price changes take place from March 1. Individuals aged over 26 will pay £3 a year more for membership while the cost of family membership will go up by £6 a year, or 50p a month.

Joint senior loyal members will see fees increase by £4.80 to £90, which is £30 cheaper than the full price. That will mean seniors, who have been members for at least five out of the previous 10 years, will benefit from amongst the best value prices the Trust offers to any group.

Alongside the discount for senior loyal members, last year the Trust launched a new junior membership category for young people aged five to 17. Since its introduction more than 22,000 junior memberships have been purchased. There will be no increase in the £10 annual cost.

Additionally, 23,000 Essential Companion passes have been claimed in the last 12 months, allowing disabled visitors to claim a free pass for up to two friends or relatives to help them enjoy a visit to Trust places.

Annual membership of the Trust includes parking at most National Trust car parks, a yearly handbook, members’ magazine (issued three times a year) and right to vote in its AGM.