Full English Heritage Review: Is Membership Worth It?

Stonehenge in Wiltshire, South West England

If you’re interested in history, you’ve got to read this English Heritage review!

English Heritage membership is a fantastic investment for archaeology or history lovers – or for people who just want to see more of the UK in a cost-effective way.

With it, you can enjoy unlimited access to all of their wonderful castles, historic monuments and countless other membership benefits. 

This English Heritage membership review details my personal experience with the organisation, and sets out what you can expect from a membership. 

Read on, and take a look at my review of an English Heritage membership! 

My experience with an English Heritage membership

My family was always English Heritage members when I was younger, and I loved visiting all the sites as a kid. 

But I love them as an adult too. In fact, I enjoy them so much that I’ve been a member for the last two years!

I find that the membership is great value for money. This year, I made my money back within two months.

I made use of a deal that gave me 15 months for the price of 12, so I effectively have 13 months of visiting English Heritage properties for free until I renew (which I will definitely be doing!).

For me, the benefits completely outweigh the small annual fee of membership!

If that’s enough to sway you, you can read more about English Heritage membership on their website.

However, you can also read on as I break down English Heritage trust membership and what it can offer you. 

What is English Heritage membership? 

English Heritage is a fantastic organisation that looks after ancient monuments and historic sites.

With the motto “Keeping England’s History Alive”, it uses its money from entrance fees, shops, cafes and, most importantly, membership to preserve and protect over 400 of the country’s most important historical sites.

When you are a member, you get unlimited access to these sites, as well as countless other benefits! 

What are the membership benefits? 

As well as the obvious membership benefits (unlimited access to English Heritage properties), there are countless more advantages to English Heritage trust membership. Here are just some of them: 

Free entry to English Heritage properties 

There are 400 English Heritage properties across England. Entrance fees range from around £5-£20. 

The properties encompass historic castles and ancient sites. You’ll also have chances to see plenty of the beautiful countryside.

A membership gives you complimentary entry to them for at least a year. 

You might not think that you visit English Heritage properties that much at the moment.

However, something that I’ll stress is if you have a membership, you’ll use the properties more.

If you can visit a local property for free, you’ll spend less time sitting indoors and more exploring fascinating English history. 

This will help you learn about our country, get some fresh air and see something new. 

Plus, if you’re on a family holiday, attractions can really add up. An English Heritage membership will enable you to forget about ticket prices and get in free of charge. 

You won’t have to stress about adding expenses to your UK holiday. You’ve already pre-paid your membership, so you know that any English Heritage properties won’t cost you a dime.

View of Dartmouth from Kingswear

Free kid’s entry

With any adult membership, up to six kids can go free. They don’t need to be your own kids, and you don’t need to be the only adult with them.

i.e. you can take your nieces and nephews to an English Heritage property with or without your sibling. Your sibling will have to pay, but your nieces and nephews get free entry with your membership.

With joint adult membership, you get free entry for up to twelve kids. 

Family tickets can add up dramatically. But you only pay one fee with an English Heritage membership, and you can immediately enjoy cheap family days out!

Members-only events

There are various members-only events at English Heritage properties throughout the year.

These special events include anything from a tour of Gloucester Goal to a three-day tour of the Isles of Scilly!

These unique experiences are usually free of charge to members and will help you to try different things and see alternate dimensions of the country.

It’s a fantastic way to enrich your life!

You can see some of the incredible members-only events here.

Discounted entry to events

You can also get discounted entry to other exciting events, like jousting at Pendennis Castle. These aren’t always super discounted, but you’re guaranteed to pay less than non-members! 

Reciprocal agreements

One of the main amazing perks of English Heritage membership is that you can enjoy reciprocal agreements with other businesses. These include: 

  • Cadw: This is the heritage company of Wales, and you get half-price entry to these properties in your first year and free entry in your second and subsequent years. 
  • Heritage Scotland: Similarly, you get half-price entry from Heritage Scotland in your first year and a complimentary entry in any subsequent years. 
  • Manx National Heritage: members of the EH get free entry into all Manx National Heritage Sites
  • Heritage Northern Ireland: You get free entry to Northern Ireland heritage sites from the start of your membership. 
  • Heritage New Zealand: A reciprocal agreement means that EH members get free entry into Heritage New Zealand sites.

The English Heritage handbook

This is delivered annually and is a handbook all about the English Heritage destinations in different areas of the country. 

It’s a fantastic tool that makes holiday planning effortless!

E-newsletter

The English Heritage e-newsletter is sent to members and details the top events, offers and competitions.

There’s loads of interesting stuff in here if you’re planning a day out! 

Discounts at other attractions in England

You can get free or discounted entry to other places in England, including the privately-owned Warwick Castle.

Click here for a full list of the places you can get English Heritage membership discounts for. 

Free parking 

You get free parking in English Heritage-owned car parks. These are usually attached to a property, but non-members sometimes have to pay up to £5 for day parking. 

Just make sure that you stick your parking permit to your windshield!

Supporting an amazing trust

One of the main advantages of an English Heritage membership is that you are supporting a fantastic historic heritage organisation that stops ancient properties from falling into disrepair.  

By contributing every month or year, you are keeping England’s history alive, helping the English Heritage restore and renovate properties and enabling countless people to learn about the country’s part for years to come. 

For history lovers, there’s no better satisfaction than knowing that you are helping such an amazing cause. 

Faults of English Heritage membership

There aren’t many flaws of having an English Heritage membership, but if I had to pick some, I’d say the following: 

  • Even with your membership, you might have to pay extra for certain events, including the Christmas Lights at Eltham Palace and jousting at Pendennis Castle. Your tickets will be cheaper than for non-members though!
  • You don’t automatically get free entry into Cadw and Heritage Scotland sites. You do, however, get half-price entry in the first year, and free entry after.
  • Your money only goes into protecting English sites. 

But realistically, there are so many more benefits to an English Heritage membership than flaws. 

What are some of the English Heritage properties? 

English Heritage runs so many historical sites all over the country! Here are some of the most popular. 

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel is a Medieval castle where King Arthur was supposedly born. 

This story may not be entirely true – Geoffery of Monmouth reported it in the 12th century. 

However, plenty of people, including Richard Earl of Cornwall, believed him. That’s why he constructed this castle on a rocky outcrop off the Cornish coast! 

Merlin statue at Tintagel

Nowadays, thousands of people flock here each year to enjoy the epic coastal views and fascinating history. In fact, it’s one of the most popular attractions in Cornwall

You can see my Tintagel Castle post here.

Dover Castle

Dover Castle is one of the most significant historic castles in the country! 

Sitting opposite the Strait of Dover, which is the shortest sea crossing between England and France.

It dates back to the 12th century and had strategic importance for early 1000 years, including in the Second World War.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of the best places to experience historic heritage in England. 

An enigmatic stone circle, it’s one of the world’s most fascinating ancient monuments. 

The interesting thing about it is that the stone circles come from Wales – over 100 miles away from their current position on Salisbury Plain!

It’s a site like no other, and entry is free with an English Heritage membership.

Pendennis Castle 

Pendennis Castle: one of the best things to do in Falmouth

Pendennis Castle is one of the most popular historic sites in Cornwall. 

It was built by Henry VIII to defend the Fal Estuary from foreign invasion. Then it was used frequently in World Wars One and Two.

From the grounds of the castle, you can enjoy incredible views of the river.

Read my Pendennis Castle post here.

Downe House

Located near Orpington in Greater London, Charles Darwin’s house is one of the best EH places to visit. 

Here, you can learn all about the Theory of Evolution and take a look inside one of the most famous scientist’s brains!

You can all of the historic properties that English Heritage have by clicking here.

Is English Heritage membership good value for money? 

YES, it’s excellent value for money! 

The entry costs of English Heritage sites can be a little steep. 

However, by paying less than £60, you can see as many sites as you like within a year. 

Stonehenge alone is over £20, and Tintagel Castle is £17, so you can see where the money adds up! 

The other English Heritage properties are cheaper, but they are usually around £10.

Can National Trust members visit English Heritage sites? 

National Trust members can only visit English Heritage sites with few exceptions. 

For example, you can visit Stonehenge for free if you are a National Trust member because the site is on National Trust land. 

However, National Trust members do have to pay for parking. 

Is it worth getting an English Heritage membership if I already have National Trust? 

I’m in the process of creating a full post about English Heritage vs National Trust. However, I personally have and recommend both memberships. 

With limited exceptions, the two trusts look after completely different properties.

So, if you are someone who gets out and about a lot, you’ll find that you can visit a vast range of extra properties with an English Heritage membership too!

However, as a rule, English Heritage properties are better for people who like ancient history, castles, and archaeology sites, whereas National Trust is better for those who want to explore gorgeous gardens and grand stately homes. 

Tyntesfield, a National Trust Property in Bristol

Both memberships are very family-friendly, but the EH’s deal of taking six children per adult is incredible! 

How much can you save with an English Heritage membership?  

Here are the different membership types for English Heritage and their rates. 

  • Single adult membership: £64 each year
  • Senior membership: £57 each year
  • Student or young person membership: £51 each year
  • Joint adult membership: £111 each year
  • Family membership: you don’t actually need family membership options because up to six children are included with each adult! For couples without children, they don’t need to be your own kids – if you visit with other adults with children, such as your siblings and nieces or nephews, the kids can get free entry with your membership.

You can also get a range of other membership options, including joint senior or gift memberships. 

Click on the button below to see all of the membership prices. 

Let’s break down an adult membership fee, which costs £64 per year, can get you. I think that you could easily make your money back in one trip.

We’ll look at a hypothetical trip to Cornwall and Devon, where you also visit Stonehenge in Wiltshire. 

  • Tintagel Castle costs £14.50 per adult to enter.
  • Pendennis Castle costs £11.50 per adult. 
  • Launceston Castle costs £5.90 per adult
  • Totnes Castle costs £5.90 per adult
  • Dartmouth Castle costs £7.90 per adult
  • Okehampton Castle costs £5.90 per adult
  • Stonehenge costs £19.50 per adult

That whole trip would have cost you £71.10! So you’ve made your money back in just one trip – and you have the entire year to enjoy your membership!

View of Totnes Castle

Do English Heritage do life membership? 

Yes, English Heritage offer life membership. Some of the perks include automatic entry to Cadw and Heritage Scotland sites, and you can take an adult guest to any sites with you!

You can read more about this and joint life membership here. 

How to become an English Heritage member

Evening at Stonehenge, near Salisbury in Wiltshire

If you’ve read this far and want to become an English Heritage member, great!

Here’s exactly how you do that. 

  1. Click through to the English Heritage website, and select the type of membership that you want. Think about whether you want to pay annually or monthly with direct debit. 
  2. This will take you to a form, where you can fill out your contact details, address, your direct debit details and make your first payment. 
  3. You will be able to download your temporary membership card right away, which will enable you to get entry to sites immediately. This card is valid for a month. 
  4. You’ll also get an email with your membership number and more information.
  5. Within a month, your membership pack including your card, first handbook, and parking permit will be sent to you. 

Easy, right? Click the button below to visit the English Heritage website and set up your membership!

Is English Heritage membership worth it? 

With free access to properties including Tintagel Castle and Stonehenge, then YES, I think that getting an English Heritage membership is definitely worth it! 

It’ll help you have more fun days out and learn about England’s history. 

It’s perfect for history buffs, families, archaeology travellers and anyone who wants to explore a bit more of England. 

You can sign up to the English Heritage by clicking on this link. 

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