Why you need English Heritage Membership – I’d be lost without mine!

For those of you who don’t know, I relocated from the South West London/Surrey borders to Wiltshire last year. Whilst house hunting and visiting my sister who had already moved down that way, I regularly passed Stonehenge on the A303. I knew it was ancient but I really didn’t know anything about it. I knew I would have to visit at some point. In early November, having already left my job, but waiting for my move to go through, I went there for the day when visiting my sister.

Bearing in mind it was November, I couldn’t have been more lucky with the weather.

Stonehenge in the sunlight
English Heritage site Stonehenge's visitor centre
English Heritage Membership trip to Stonehenge

I got there for when it opened and was on the first shuttle bus up to the monument. That is how I was lucky to get so many amazing photos without loads of tourists in them. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the app to work on my phone at the time, and I’d already set off to the monument without an audio guide, so I missed out on some of the information. When I got back to the visit centre I saw the option to upgrade my ticket to the English Heritage annual membership. Moving to that part of the world, there were so many places that would be local to me that I had never been to before so it was a no brainer. It would also mean I could go back another time and listen to the audio guide should I want to.

I completed the sign up process there and then. You are given a welcome pack which includes a sticker for your car so you can park for free at any sites that there are charges for parking and also a handbook with information about all the English Heritage sites around the country and information about them. You are given a temporary pass and your full membership card is sent out to you in the post.

I’m so excited about exploring my new part of the world but here are my top 5 reasons to have English Heritage membership:

  • Cost effective - even visiting just two or three of their properties in a year would be more expensive than an annual membership - it’s financially a great deal!
  • Timely - by having an annual pass, you can pop to one of the sites for just a few hours and not feel that you need to be there all day to get your money’s worth. If you like it enough you can go back another time.
  • Educational - some of the sites (like Stonehenge for example) really need to be seen in the flesh. There is so much to learn, but it’s in an interesting and enjoyable way. It’s definitely broadened my horizons.
  • Fresh air - the vast majority of sites will have at least some outside space, and what better way than getting some fresh air than exploring these great locations?
  • Entertaining - by having an annual pass you have a year’s free access to all the amazing sites and locations. Whether you have a spare afternoon in the school holidays and want to fill it for free, or you just want to get out the house and let the kids (or dogs, or you) have a run around, or whether you just want some cost-effective things to do on a UK break, you will be entertained and inspired.

In short, I really would be lost without my English Heritage membership. My sister and niece live about 10-15 minutes drive away from a castle. The vast majority of it is in ruins, but there are some great exhibits on the inside bits. My niece (aged 2) loves going there for an explore, and the dog is welcome in the outside areas too so it’s a fun thing to do as a family. Going there has filled many an afternoon, we’ve even been there in the rain, and next time we go we will be taking a picnic. There’s nothing wrong with the local park, but it’s just that bit more interesting and different.

Hungerford Farleigh
Crypt at Hungerford Farleigh
Crypt at Hungerford Farleigh

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