The National Trust is throwing open the doors and gates of 200 of its properties and gardens this weekend: on Saturday 21 April and Sunday 22 April, you can visit for free.
Download the coupon here.
Find a list of the participating properties and gardens here.
We are lucky, up here in Yorkshire: there are lots of National Trust properties, and I love exploring the old manors, mills and landscapes. Sadly, this pastime doesn’t come cheap. Take this National Trust place, which is just down the road from me:
Fountains Abbey is a World Heritage site and it is beautiful. In the summer, families congregate for picnics on the greens that slope towards the ruined abbey buildings. Beyond Fountains Abbey itself is the 18th century Studley Royal Water Garden, which stretches on forever and comes complete with swans and a Temple of Piety:
Sadly, it’s also expensive: £9 per adult. I used to be a National Trust member, which was great because I could sail past the desk waving my membership card and get in for free. But even annual membership, which can save a lot of money if you’re a fan of such places, costs nearly £100 per year for two people.
Really, what I’m trying to say is this: it’s free! WOOP WOOP – IT’S FREE! Go go go!
It is worth bearing in mind, however, that the weather forecast for this weekend is predictably gloomy. So if you do download the voucher, I’d recommend that you take yourself to properties with roofs. The National Trust list to which I linked above doesn’t contain links, so here are a few choice numbers to whet your appetite:
CARMARTHENSHIRE: Dolaucothi Gold Mines. Have a guided tour underground, and try gold panning.
HERTFORDSHIRE: Shaw’s Corner. This is George Bernard Shaw’s old house, just off the A1 near Welwyn. It looks amazing and I’ve always wanted to visit – somebody, please do it for me!
DORSET: Kingston Lacy. “Home of the Bankes family for more than 300 years, this striking 17th-century house is noted for its lavish interiors.”
LONDON: 2 Willow Road. Erno Goldfinger’s Modernist family home, built in Hampstead in 1939. Timed tickets apply, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.
SOMERSET: Tyntesfield. The National Trust only opened up this Victorian property in 2011. Timed tickets apply, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Image credits: National Trust & Wikimedia Commons.