National Trust Scotland membership. Worthwhile?

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  • National Trust Scotland membership. Worthwhile?
  • Premier Icon YoKaiser
    Subscriber

    Anyone an NTS member or have been or considered it? Did you find it useful? Good value? It’s for a family of 5 and day trips can add up quite quickly, thought this might be practical.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    What I’d do is look at places you might want to go to, then do the maths.

    I was a member of the regular (not Scotland) NT for a few years. It was great at first, we had this “free day trip” pass burning a hole in our pockets so we hammered it. Once we’d done all the more local stuff though it kinda fizzled out. It was still handy to have for parking, there are NT car parks all over the place, but ultimately it became not much more than an annual donation to charity. When my circumstances changed meaning money was tighter, I knocked on the head.

    Premier Icon kcal
    Subscriber

    We’ve had it for a long time, handy to have in back pocket – especially with a family membership.
    Depends on where you’re visiting – check out typical visits first.

    e.g. Historic Scotland might work better for likes of Edinburgh castle (one visit and you’ll have paid for it), Stirling Castle as well IIRC. Other stuff is more NTS territory and often there’s no admission anyway.

    We’ve used ours variable amount of times since children are older — nearly knocked on head but last few weekends have made good use.

    Pieface
    Member

    We live in England and pay for it on DD so costs peanuts, mostly for the ability to park at NT car parks. They have ‘reciprocal agreements’ – you may be allowed in NT sites for free. As many of the Lake District Car Parks are NT and it costs £7 for all day, it soon pays for itself. Since becoming a member I’ve begun recognising the fellow cheapskates members more and more.

    Anyone an NTS member or have been or considered it? Did you find it useful? Good value? It’s for a family of 5 and day trips can add up quite quickly, thought this might be practical.

    Not for you, not enough nearby to justify the cost, only really Culzean and Brodick castle, and Dumfries house is better than both, nearer, and free.

    Rumours they’re gonna sell Culzean as well.

    Premier Icon juanking
    Subscriber

    FYI: If you have NT membership for Scotland it is accepted in England and Wales however if you have NT membership for England and Wales it is not accepted in Scotland.

    Premier Icon xora
    Subscriber

    FYI: If you have NT membership for Scotland it is accepted in England and Wales however if you have NT membership for England and Wales it is not accepted in Scotland.

    eh? mine is accepted in scotland.

    juanking not according to NT.

    “Using your card in Scotland
    You can also use your card to visit heritage sites in Scotland, looked after by the National Trust for Scotland”

    https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/faqs-about-your-membership-card”

    johnners
    Member

    A lot of NT England car parks now require a scan of the card to issue a ticket – does the NT SCotland card have a QR code that works for this?

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    My understanding was that NTS membership was cheaper than English NT membership, so the reciprocal arrangement made it far more cost effective. A lot of friends here in the Midlands had NTS membership. I’m guessing that loophole has been addressed?

    Pieface
    Member

    The loophole has not been addressed, is it even a loophole? I may live in England but visit exclusively Scottish sites.

    Regarding the barcode thing at car parks – You can still park if you have an NTS sticker, they are working on bringing in a scanner. Apparently scanning at NT car parks isn’t mandatory, you can use just the car sticker but they use the scanners to monitor how the car parks are being used.

    munrobiker
    Member

    No, you can still use each Trusts’ cards in the other Trusts’ venues.

    We have a family NTS membership, and did even before we moved back to Scotland since it was cheaper than a couple’s NT membership. So far we’ve had value for money from it every year – it opens up options on holidays, as well as giving us something “free” to do on rainy days. We don’t have kids but there always seem to be some of them at every venue. It’s also useful for a lot of car parks in places like Deeside and the Lake District if you want a day’s riding.

    Premier Icon AD
    Subscriber

    Definitely handy if like me you live in the lakes… I don’t think there is a car park in Borrowdale that NT don’t own…
    Never had any hassle using our NTS card in England. You can’t scan it but as others have said, just display the badge.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Depends where you live. There aren’t many places near us (Cardiff) but there are two, and we use them as places to go for a picnic, an ice cream, or just a wander around on a nice day. Likewise the castles with Cadw/English Heritage, although less so the castles now the kids are older.

    When we go on holiday it gets used a lot. You only need to go to 2 or 3 places a year to make it worthwhile I think.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    FYI: If you have NT membership for Scotland it is accepted in England and Wales however if you have NT membership for England and Wales it is not accepted in Scotland.

    Wasn’t a problem when I used my NT membership on Arran a while back

    Apparently scanning at NT car parks isn’t mandatory, you can use just the car sticker but they use the scanners to monitor how the car parks are being used.

    We got told by the NT about 18 months ago that the car stickers are now purely decorative and if there’s not a barcode machine, the cards will be checked on entry.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    FYI: If you have NT membership for Scotland it is accepted in England and Wales however if you have NT membership for England and Wales it is not accepted in Scotland.

    Simply not true.

    Premier Icon TomB
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    My cheap skate friend has some sort of New Zealand national trust membership which has reciprocal UK rights, and is apparently the cheapest method (she’s never been to NZ). I’ve not investigated this option mind!

    stevemuzzy
    Member

    We were historic scotland members for 4 years, like a gym membership used loads at first then money for nothing.

    Then did the zoological society (so edinburgh zoo and highland wildlife park), it was great and we went several times.

    This year done local safari park, been 4times already so quite a saving.

    I think all these things are great for a year or 2 but get boring quick.

    Premier Icon juanking
    Subscriber

    I’m a little confused by the apparent ‘transferability’ between NT and NTS.

    I’ve been told that the agreement is one way only (ie the NTS gets you into NT not vice versa). This was a couple of years ago but perhaps has changed.

    I know the NTS membership works for NT as I used it last week. Whatever.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    It’s simple. Whoever told you that was wrong.

    Premier Icon a11y
    Subscriber

    Similar to Stevemuzzy, we’ve done various memberships. Alternated between RZSS and Blair Drummond for the past few years but the one constant has been Historic Scotland. Similar reciprocal agreement for free access in England/Wales and saved us a fair bit on recent Wales hol (Harlech and Caenarvon castles for starters). Even if we didn’t use it much I won’t begrudge it if its helping look after our historical buildings etc.

    Bit of a lack of NTS venues where we are, so that might be a good thing to check.

    Premier Icon YoKaiser
    Subscriber

    Thanks all, we are off to Culzean today, will see if we’d use it more than once or twice a year. A couple of years membership seems like a fair idea and maybe trying something else afterwards.

    Now that the kids are older, park for free at Maidens shore, as it’s only parking you pay for, and everyone heads for swan pond area anyway, which is nearer to Maidens than the car park is anyway.

    NT must be one of the worst run charities around here, I used to be a member, the Glencoe nonsense last year was the very final nail in a well sealed coffin.

    Premier Icon a11y
    Subscriber

    IMO any sort of membership like this is great if you have kids. Brilliant just letting them explore around, cheap things to do on hol too. In past few months alone we’ve been to Stirling Castle, Edinburgh Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Blackness Castle, Dirleton Castle, Tantallon Castle, Doune Castle and others I’ll have forgotten.

    Also keen to check out Culzean Castle but the cost has put us off not being NTS member, so would be keen to hear what you think of it @YoKaiser.

    a11y, check out Dumfries house, old stately home bought and renovated by Prince charles, it’s great, mibbe 40 mins from Glasgow.

    Loads for kids to do STEM water park is a winner.

    orena45
    Member

    Mrs orena45 and I are Cornwall born and bred and have just signed up to National Trust Scotland.  Cheaper than NT membership and lots of NT places down here to take advantage of that, but the main reason being that the NT allows trail hunting (aka we’re-not-fox-hunting…honest!) on some of their land, whereas NTS doesn’t.

    Premier Icon davieg
    Subscriber

    Culzean castle is fantastic btw. We have been twice now, (our kids 3x times), and it is a great day out. Might keep NTS running for another year and the swap to Historic Scotland for a year.

    but the main reason being that the NT allows trail hunting

    Which is the very reason I didn’t renew our subs last year & won’t until the NT stop issuing trail hunting licenses.
    It’s a pity cos we aren’t far from Fountains Abbey which is nice for a walk round.

    DrJ
    Member

    We had a NTS card (I think …) when we lived in Aberdeen cos we took little MissJ to castles a lot on rainy Sundays, and it was worth the money.

    (On a recent trip in England (Northumberland) it seemed that some sites are owned by NT and some by ?English Heritage? so having the freedom to visit where you fancy wold require TWO memberships. Is that right?)

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Just had a quick look at prices. NTS membership saves you about a tenner per year on a single membership and ~£20 on a couple / family.

    My cheap skate friend has some sort of New Zealand national trust membership which has reciprocal UK rights

    A quick Google would suggest that this is Heritage New Zealand. It doesn’t give you free NT parking and there’s a few other exclusions too, but it is considerably cheaper. A family membership is like £37 compared to the NT’s £126. If one of you is over 60, a couples’ card is £26.50.

    There’s a list of what it covers internationally at the bottom of this page: https://www.heritage.org.nz/get-involved/join-us/membership-benefits

    Premier Icon kcal
    Subscriber

    @DrJ – that’s right, NTS aligns with NT (no clear boundary as to what they do but maybe more outdoor stuff or stately homes) and Historic Scotland (English Heritage) is I’d say much more old buildings / castles and stuff. But there is a decent whack of overlap.

    Premier Icon YoKaiser
    Subscriber

    Culzean was a very good day out. All the kids enjoyed it. First time we’ve been since the new adventure playground opened and they spent a couple of hours running about. Nice walk out too from the castle. Kids would normally be dragging their heels but by going up and down to the beach areas they had a ball. Adventure playground is top drawer, nice bit of grass outside for a picnic too. Felt really safe and let the kids have the run of the park. Kids are 10,8 and 6.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
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    Culzean was a very good day out.

    Hunt the Lego men!

    Premier Icon kcal
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    And a Wicker Man location to boot.

    Premier Icon YoKaiser
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    We saw the Lego man hunt on the way out. Next time 👍

    CraigW
    Member

    Also check Doors Open Day in September. Free entry to loads of interesting places. http://www.doorsopendays.org.uk/

    And Historic Scotland usually have a free weekend, around St Andrews Day. Worth looking out for that.

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