Grounds to Explore
One of the best gifts you can receive, or treat yourself to, is the chance to explore. There are some incredibly cool castles out there, as well as ancient forts, historic gardens and of course the mysterious Stonehenge!
Many of these places within the UK are cared for by English Heritage, Historic Scotland and Cadw, each of which offer annual memberships. These memberships allow you unlimited access to all their sites throughout the year, and as a fantastic plus, if you have a membership to one of the organisations, it gives you half price access to the others, and even more of a bonus, if you renew your membership, you then get free access to all of the sites throughout England, Scotland and Wales! The price for an adult individual membership for the year is less £50 for each of the organisations. And as well as giving you ample opportunity to explore, there many added benefits, including supporting the upkeep of these fantastically inspiring places!
If you become a member of Historic Scotland, prepare to become obsessed with castles. There are of course the more famous ones, Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle (both well worth visits), but there are so many more off the beaten path. And with the Historic Scotland app and guide book, you can literally have hours of fun tracking down some of their lesser visited and harder to find sites. There's a supposed Bell Tower we've yet to find, but we had a hilarious time looking for it!
Other benefits of becoming a Historic Scotland member include 20% discount in their shops, 10% in their cafes, lots of invitations to exciting events, and a free quarterly magazine, filled with historic tales, ideas for days out, and updates on their conservation work.
English Heritage has some seriously impressive sites, that carry your imagination through thousands of years of history. From the Romans to Elizabethans, from the Neolithic period to Ashby Castle, which Sir Walter Scott included as a backdrop in his famous novel Ivanhoe.
Similar to Historic Scotland, English Heritage membership includes a free guide book, listing all of their over 400 sites, invitations to events and a magazine.
Wales' stunning beauty is the backdrop to many of its castles and abbeys. Definitely take the picnic basket with you and appreciate lunch with a epic view!
Cadw membership offers you 10% discount in its shops, a free subscription to their magazine, and a map of all the locations they look after.
*This post is not sponsored or affiliated in any way with any of the above organisations. We just think they're brilliant!