Family days out are priceless, but it’s not they can be pricey too. In our experience, annual memberships are really worth having: you’ll save on admission and sometimes get other benefits too. You’ll probably go more places and see more things, too, when you know that it’s covered by your membership card. Here are the memberships we’d recommend to families in and around York.
National Trust membership
Local attractions: Choose from Treasurer’s House and Goddard’s in York, Beningbrough Hall, Nunnington Hall, Fountains Abbey and Brimham Rocks further afield. There are over 300 historic houses, gardens and coastline spaces across the country so if you’re staycationing somewhere in England, there’s bound to be a National Trust property nearby. En route to a holiday, we often stop at Clumber Park (great adventure playground) and Woolsthorpe Manor, birthplace of Isaac Newton, which has an inspiring little science centre aimed at kids.
Cost: Joint membership from £120 (under 5s go free), family membership (2 adults) from £126. Visit the National Trust website
English Heritage membership
Local attractions: Locally, Clifford’s Tower is a must-visit. Further afield, English Heritage membership will get you into the fabulous Scarborough Castle, Rievaulx Abbey, Helmsley Castle, Brodsworth Hall and over 400 other historic sites, from castles to ruins and abbeys.
Cost: Family membership (2 adults and up to 12 children) £105. Visit the English Heritage website
York Museums Trust Card
Local attractions: The YMT Card gives free access to the Yorkshire Museum, York Castle Museum and York Art Gallery as well as fast-track entry and 10% off in the cafes and shops. There are also special members’ previews and other special events. We use ours so much it’s almost wearing out.
Cost: £25 per person with direct debit/£20 by Direct Debit and just £15 (£12 by DD) for York Card holders. Under 16s visit free with paying adults. Visit the YMT Card website
Friends of Castle Howard
This new annual membership gets you entry to the house, parkland, gardens and adventure playground of Castle Howard (including the fabulous Skelf Island). Free access to daytime events is included, as well as invitations to previews and fast track access on bank holidays and selected event days. Choose from gold or silver tiered membership.
Cost: Family membership (2 adults and up to 3 children) from £130 for silver membership. Under 4s free. Visit the Castle Howard website
Historic Houses Association
Local attractions: Beautiful Fairfax House is a bit of a hidden gem but well worth a visit (our children love it). Further afield, Newby Hall is a lovely day out with its stunning gardens, miniature train and fantastic adventure playground. Burton Agnes Hall and Sewerby Hall on the coast also welcome members. Membership gives access to over 300 houses, castles and gardens.
Cost: Double membership £86, additional child aged 3+ £25. Visit the Historic Houses website
Picturehouse Membership (City Screen)
Benefits: Free film tickets; discounts on all tickets; 10% off member’s food and drinks; discounts at various shops and restaurants.
Cost: Individual member £52. Visit the Picturehouse website
You can also turn your day ticket into 12 months of visits to these great places