Historic Houses Association membership grants free access to historic houses, castles and gardens

The Historic Houses Association support Britain’s family-owned historic houses, castles and gardens. It opens more properties to the public than the National Trust and English Heritage combined with 1,570 historic houses and gardens throughout the UK. Most of these offer free admission to Friends of the HHA. To become a Friend, membership fees are £72 for a double membership, £45 for a single membership and £22 for each additional family member paid annually.

Wilton House seen from east aspect
Wilton House

Many of the properties are accessible to visitors with disabilities and can provide a great space to get some walking done in beautiful surroundings. Entry fees are often reduced for visitors with a disability, some charge the full price for a ticket, whilst others offer concessionary rates and some allow those who require assistance to admit a carer for free. Most of the properties offer reduced rates for children and children under 5 often enter for free.

Keep in mind if you choose to purchase a single membership and take a family member along as a carer, it would mean that the family member would not be able to go without you going as well. It is worth checking the specific allowances at the properties that you plan to visit to see what concessionary rates are available and think about how often you plan to visit to see if an annual membership would be a good deal.

From personal experience, garden tickets are usually around £4-7 per person, whilst house and garden tickets are £10-16 per person. On average, if you enjoy exploring the outdoors and have no interest in the houses themselves, a membership would be good value for money if you visit a property about once a month. If the houses hold an attraction, visiting half a dozen times a year would offer a good deal.

There are half a dozen properties on my doorstep and many more a little further afield and one of the main advantages for me in a membership is that I never feel as if I have wasted money when, due to health reasons, we have to cut a trip short. A membership offers free entry all year round which also has the advantage of allowing for multiple short visits instead of needing to commit to a full day out.

There are various associations that offer free access to their properties for an annual fee, but few in the UK has as many properties on their list as the Historic Houses Association.

Source: Historic Houses Association

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