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The problem page

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For ticket prices and other purchases, please go to the relevant websites

Most "stately homes" and castles are in the hands of several organisations:

The National Trust

The National Trust administers "stately homes" and other historic buildings and gardens in England, Wales and N. Ireland. The National Trust of Scotland care for properties in Scotland.

North American members of the Royal Oak Foundation also have free entry to all National Trust sites in UK. The Royal Oak Foundation is a US affilate of the National Trust - for more details US residents should ring (212)480-2889 toll free in the lower 48 is 1-800-913-6565,, or write: 26 Broadway, #950, New York, NY 10004-1715

English Heritage

English Heritage cares for Castles and other ancient building and sites in England.

Cadw

Castles and historic sites in Wales are in the hands of Cadw.

Historic Houses Association

Many privately-owned houses are included in this grouping.

If you wish to visit even a few of these historic buildings, it is much cheaper to buy a visitor pass.

Visitor Passes

1) The Great British Heritage Pass

This gives free entry to all properties belonging to the National Trust, the National Trust for Scotland, English Heritage, Cadw, and privately owned houses: Blenheim Palace, Beaulieu, Broadlands, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Harewood House, Woburn Abbey, Hampton Court Palace and houses in the Historic Houses Association, Historic Scotland group. It includes Stonehenge and Shakespeare's birthplace too. Exceptions are the Tower of London, Warwick Castle and Windsor Castle, the Queens Gallery (London and Edinburgh) and the Royal Mews.

This pass is available only to overseas visitors showing a passport. It is available for 7, or 15 days, or 1 month. Buy from: British Travel Centre London, or larger Tourist Information Centres, or from addresses overseas listed in the Tourist tickets and discount cards booklet from the British Tourist Authority.

If you are interested in old buildings, this is a real money-saver!

2) English Heritage Overseas Visitors Pass

This gives free entry to English Heritage sites only. It does not cover sites belonging to any other groups. It is available from larger English Heritage sites as a 7 day or 14 day ticket.

The 7-day tickets are only slightly cheaper than a 14 day ticket:

It is also possible to join English Heritage for a year, giving free access for one year from the date of joining to their sites.

English Heritage PO Box 9010, London W1A OJA England

3) Cadw - historic heritage in Wales

The Explorer Pass is ideal for visitors and covers 3 days or 7 days, for an adult, couple, or a family. This only covers Cadw sites in Wales - including all the main castles such as Caernarfon, Conway, Beaumaris, Harlech, etc.

It is also possible to join Cadw for a year, and get free entry all year round to all their properties, plus half price entry to English Heritage sites.

Available from all main Cadw sites, and some Welsh Tourist Information Offices.
Details from:

Cadw, Welsh Historic Monuments, Crown Building, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF2 1 IUY Wales

4) Friends of the Historic Houses Association

Year membership gives free entry to historic houses and gardens which are privately owned. But NOT National Trust or English Heritage houses.

Details from:

Historic Houses Association, PO Box 21, Letchworth, Herts SG6 2JF England

5) National Trust of Scotland

As well as year membership, they offer a touring ticket valid for 7 or 14 days, giving free entry to all their properties.

This ticket also gives free admission to National Trust properties in England, Wales, and N. Ireland, and so makes a very cheap way of seeing all National Trust sites.

Available from:

National Trust for Scotland, 5 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4DU Scotland

and also some Scottish Area Tourist Boards and Tourist Information Centres.

6) National Trust of England and Wales

They offer a year membership giving free access to all their properties in England, Wales and N. Ireland (plus those in the National Trust of Scotland)

However, the 7 or 14-day touring ticket offered by the National Trust for Scotland (see above) does also cover National Trust Properties in England, Wales, and N. Ireland, and so is a very good way of visiting many National Trust sites. But it does not cover the other sites which are covered by the Great British Heritage Pass, which is the best deal if you want the biggest choice at the best price!

The National Trust have a website.

National Trust 36 Queen Annes Gate, London SW1, England

7) Royal Oak Foundation

Members of the Royal Oak Foundation also have free entry to all National Trust sites in UK. The Royal Oak Foundation is a US affilate of the National Trust - for more details, US residents should ring (212)480-2889 toll free in the lower 48 is 1-800-913-6565

or write:

Royal Oak Foundation, 26 Broadway, #950, New York, NY 10004-1715, USA.

8) Scottish Explorer Ticket for Historic Scotland

Gives unlimlited access to more than 60 of Scotland's best ancient buildings, including Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Dallas Dhu Distillery and the Border Abbeys. Available from Historic Scotland properties and main Scottish Tourist Information Centres.

9) Other discount offers

Some towns offer a visitor pass covering different attractions in the town. These may give free entry, or reduced prices.

Available are:

  • "York for less"
  • "Bath for less"
  • "Edinburgh for less"

These are available from Tourist Information Offices in each town.

Also available is the Countdown Discount Card, giving discounts to many destinations, not only in Britain but other countries. It is available for a period of 3 months and is on sale at many travel agents and tourist authority offices around the world.

Full details in VisitBritain - also available on-line - VisitBritain Tourist tickets and discount cards booklet.

You may also find other discount schemes for different towns, or different groups of museums.

Smart Save

offers the user 20% off entrance to attractions throughout the UK and London restaurants without any cost or need for registration. all the user need do is print out the voucher take it to the attraction/restaurant and redeem for 20% off for up to 6 people.

Latest Discount Vouchers

offer discounts for restaurants, online stores, theme parks and more

A final word

There are many ways of saving money. So:

  • Obtain the VisitBritain booklet - also available online - VisitBritain Tourist tickets and discount cards.
  • If you are a student, always ask if there is cheaper entry. Always carry your ISIC card.
  • Go to the British Travel Centre in London, or the local Tourist Information Office, to find details of special offers.
  • Always ask at any tourist attraction, what special offers or discounts may be available.
  • If you are visiting in a group, cheaper group tickets are often available.

 Thought for the day:

Think of the birds. They do not plant, cut or keep any food. Yet God feeds them. You are worth much more than the birds! Luke12:24