Started in 1895 by a Priest, a Lawyer and a Social Reformer, the National Trust has grown into an amazing organisation in its 125 year history. Appreciated by many, it has 4.5 million members and around 60,000 volunteers who come together to help realise the Trust's cause.
With such a diverse range of properties spread throughout the UK, and so many events arranged by the Trust, there is sure to be something to keep you amused, whether simply wandering the impressive gardens of Hinton Ampner, negotiating the maze at Greys Court, or investigating one of the more unusual properties like lighthouses, gold and tin mines or the many miles of coastlines.
The National Trust is known for its historic houses and great grounds and gardens, but less well known is that membership can help reduce your tax bill. As The National Trust is a registered charity, your annual membership fee qualifies for Gift Aid, which means the Trust can reclaim a quarter of your membership on your behalf, increasing revenue to the Trust by 25p for every £1 spent. If you are a higher rate taxpayer, then including the membership cost on your tax return will allow you to claim back the difference the rate you pay and the basic rate on your membership fee. This isn't limited to National Trust; membership of other organisations such as English Heritage will also qualify, although buying a lifetime membership usually will not be eligible for relief.
Your donate £100 to charity - the charity claims Gift Aid to make your donation £125. If you pay 40% tax you can personally claim back £25.00 (£125 x 20%).
Lifestyle: What the National Trust means to me
For me, the places of the National Trust give endless opportunity to create great memories with my family; in the Autumn, I love to watch my two young boys William and Teddy chasing each other and kicking leaves at Winkworth Arboretum. or joining in the festive activities at The Vyne in December. Summertime means picnics and playing in the seemingly endless grounds of Cliveden.
In recent years The National Trust have made extra effort to appeal to families, and their brilliant "50 things to do before you're eleven and three quarters" campaign means there's always plenty to entertain young Children and Grandchildren.