Can You Use a UK National Trust Membership Abroad?

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For my 23rd birthday, I was given the most incredible present I could ever have imagined – a National Trust Life membership from my grandmother. As someone who values experience gifts over material things, it was the most thoughtful and perfect thing for me!

As you may know from my ‘about’ page, my gran is my number one travel inspiration. She’s a big believer that travel is a part of life education and has always been an advocate of my adventures. A Lifetime National Trust Membership is expensive, but she knew that it would be something I would be able to enjoy for my whole life. And can you even put a price on that?!

I’ve used my membership for many years in the UK, exploring a fraction of the 500+ places the charity looks after. Some new, and many much loved which I return to multiple times throughout the year. (For example, here are my 5 favourite National Trusts in North Yorkshire).

However in 2018, I moved to Australia. It was meant to be only for a year but I’m still here (oops!). My National Trust membership card was sitting at home gathering dust. All the while I really missed the connection to historic places that I had back in the UK.

It was only after about a year in Australia that I discovered that National Trust memberships are reciprocal in many countries all over the world. Australia included! 

It’s not very well known that National Trust members have reciprocal visiting rights with overseas heritage organisations. So, I thought I’d share my insight into having a UK Life National Trust membership, where you can use it and my personal experience of using it abroad!

What is The National Trust?

National trust deck chairs
Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Firstly, if you’re not familiar with the National Trust (NT), they are a heritage conservation organisation which protects areas of natural beauty and places of historic interest. That includes anything from woodlands to castles, historic houses to garden estates.

In Australia, the focus of the National Trust is also in promoting and preserving Indigenous and native heritage.

The NT was founded in 1895 and 125 years later, they are one of the largest heritage charities in the world. In England they care for:

  • Over 780 miles of coastline
  • More than 250,000 hectares of land
  • Over 500 historic houses, castles, parks, and gardens
  • Nearly one million works of art

The National Trust often acquires its land and properties through being gifted by former owners. Or they are often purchased with grants (such as lottery funded), donations and general membership income.

Why Should You Get a National Trust Membership?

national trust sign against castle backdrop
An epic National Trust on Lindisfarne Island in Northumberland, the most photogenic castle in England!

Joining the NT, whether that’s for a month, year or a lifetime will firstly allow you free admission into National Trust properties in the UK and overseas. You’ll help support the preservation of important historic landmarks and heritage for future generations to learn from, and enjoy.

Having a membership really encourages you to get out of the house to explore and seek out new places. It’s perfect for those “what shall we do today?” moments. There’s a free day out waiting for you! It’s just one of many ways to inject more adventure into life.

National Trust members can also get discounted rates at other historic and natural places such as at some English Heritage sites. 

Other benefits of a NT membership include free parking at NT car parks, a magazine three times a year, special offers and a handbook.

If you can afford it for yourself or your family, or are thinking about buying a National Trust Membership as a gift, I would highly recommend it! I personally think it’s one of the best gifts you could give someone, or yourself!

Is a Life UK National Trust Membership Worth It?

Mount Grace Priory
My local English Heritage property back home, Mount Grace Priory, which also gives free entry to National Trust members!

A Life National Trust membership is not cheap. Prices have slowly been creeping up over the years and it’s even increased a few hundred pounds since mine was bought five years ago.

As it stands in 2022, an individual life membership plus a guest is £1,845 (standard) and £1,380 (senior).

Whether a lifetime membership is worth it for you will really depend on a couple of factors. Only you will know the answer. Some things to consider are:

  • How often you’ll likely visit them
  • How many NT’s are near you
  • Whether you have a car or will travel
  • Whether you’ll go solo, or with company
  • Average admission costs multiplied by your expected frequency of visit

For me, the fact you can bring a friend really gives the membership added value (or should I say double value!).

If you’re young then you’re absolutely going to get much more value out of a life membership than people who are older. My sister, for example, was gifted one for her 18th birthday – lucky girl!

I’m 30 now and have had my membership for five years. I’ve visited in excess of probably 100 National Trust managed places and the thought of a lifetime more makes it utterly worth it to me!

Where Can You Use a UK National Trust Membership Abroad?

girl walking on natural rock formations

The INTO scheme (standing for International National Trusts Organisation) is an organisation forging partnerships with global heritage trusts, offering even more value on your National Trust membership.

Thanks to INTO, you can use a National Trust membership to gain free or discounted entry into many different countries’ heritage sites.

Here is the full list of where you can use your UK National Trust membership abroad:

  • National Trust of Australia (all states)
  • National Trust for Canada
  • National Trust for Scotland
  • The Gelderland Trust – The Netherlands
  • Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
  • National Trust for Jersey
  • National Trust of Guernsey
  • National Trust of Zimbabwe
  • Herita – Belgium 
  • The Bavarian Cultural Heritage Foundation – Germany
  • National Trust for the Cayman Islands
  • Czech National Trust
  • The National Trust for Italy (FIA)
  • National Trust of Korea
  • Heritage of Malaysia Trust (Badan Warisan Malaysia)
  • The National Trust of Malta (Din L’Art Helwa)
  • Pro Patrimonio Foundation – Romania
  • Bermuda National Trust
  • The National Trust for Ireland (An Taisce)
  • Manx National Heritage – Isle of Man
  • Barbados National Trust
  • The Chudow Castle Foundation – Poland
  • National Trust of Slovakia
  • Bahamas National Trust

For more information about this shared visitation program, check out the INTO places website.

It’s also worth checking directly with the trust you want to visit overseas that they’ll accept your foreign membership, to manage expectations before you make any special arrangements to visit.

Using a UK National Trust Membership in Australia

girl walking up steps to martindale hall in South Australia
Martindale Hall in Mintaro, South Australia, a National Trust of Australia managed property I visited as part of a 2 week road trip

I’ve used my UK National Trust membership in Australia with no problems multiple times, mainly in my home state of Victoria. I’ve visited Melbourne Gaol, Labassa Mansion and Rippon Lea Estate.

I’ve also used it in South Australia. I did a road trip and visited the Clare Valley for a weekend and stopped at Martindale Hall and I received a member’s discount on the Burra Passport trail in the rural town of Burra.

key to Burra Passport historic locked sites
Exploring the Burra Passport – a self-guided trail of historic sites accessed with a key – with a discount as a National Trust member

It seems to be common knowledge out here that a UK National Trust membership card is reciprocal in Australia, so I have had no issues with free entry or discounts not being honoured.

However, the UK life membership has a +1, meaning I can bring a guest. This doesn’t seem to be a condition of any National Trust Australia memberships, so this has caused confusion on one occasion before.

That being said, I explained the situation and after a few minutes of checking, they have allowed myself and my guest to come in for free by putting us both down as members.

To avoid disappointment, it would be best to check whether you’ll be able to use the + 1 part of your life membership with the property directly before you go.

The UK is extremely fortunate to have a lot more National Trust properties and gardens than many countries (for example Australia who in the state of Victoria only manages 10!).

For UK residents or visitors who love the outdoors and history, a membership to me is a no-brainer. But the fact you can use a National Trust membership abroad too, makes it an invaluable organisation to be part of.

I am excited to use my NT membership in more places around the world, and I look forward to seeing many more added to the INTO reciprocal list!

Have you got a National Trust membership or used it abroad? If you do not, you can buy a National Trust membership here.


Using a UK National Trust Membership abroad
using national trust aborad

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2 thoughts on “Can You Use a UK National Trust Membership Abroad?”

  1. Firstly, what a fabulous present from your grandma! It is such a good idea, because you’ll be able to remember her for sooo many years whenever you use it!

    I had no idea it was possible to use the National Trust membership abroad. This is soooo cool!

    • I knoww, it is seriously the best gift ever! I am so very grateful. I am just gutted I didnt realise the reciprocal part until so late as I could have used it on previous trips, like to South Korea waaaah!


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