National Trust – our answer to help care for and protect the land and buildings that help give Great Britain its heritage. When you think about the UK, it is more often than not the quintessential chocolate box landscapes that will spring to mind. You will think about the green, rolling hills; the farm lands; the bluebells and the historic castles.

National Trust own a large proportion of these lands and buildings and help to care for them. As a charity in its own right, the majority of their funds come from membership fees and donations. I’ve been a member myself for several years – not just because I like giving to charity, but because I genuinely enjoy the National Trust places I’ve been to.

Whether it be walking out in the countryside, learning about historic buildings or just saving money on car parking fees, being a member of the National Trust brings so many rewards. Find out more here.

In my few years of membership, I have been to a lot of places owned or part-owned by the National Trust. This is my pick of the best and why you should visit them…

10 National Trust Places for Nature Lovers

1. Dunster Castle and Gardens, Somerset

Dunster Castle has been here for over 600 years and is situated on top of a hill; offering panoramic views across the surrounding countryside and Bristol Channel.

The gardens offer a beautiful riverside walk where you will see pretty rose bushes, bright green fields and ancient bridges.

Dunster Castle and Gardens, Somerset

And if you climb to the gardens at the top of the house then this is where you will find the 360 degree views that will take your breath away.

Dunster Castle and Gardens, Somerset

The National Trust is also renowned for bringing history to life at its places. A spot of archery was happening in the gardens when I visited so you might also be lucky to see something extra during your visit!

Learn more about Dunster Castle & Gardens here.

2. Newark Park, Gloucestershire

Nestled in the English countryside of Ozleworth is a secluded Tudor estate, which offers stunning views across the surrounding countryside of the Cotswolds.

Newark Park, Gloucestershire

This estate is quite large in size and offers a few different walks to suit beginner ramblers, families and seasoned hikers alike. When walking throughout the estate in the summer months, look out for bluebells and the whiff of fresh garlic in the woods. You’ll also get the chance to walk through a field full of sheep – mind your step!

Once you’ve finished exploring both the ins and outs of this estate, you can laze under a tree next to the pond (preferably in the sunshine).

Newark Park, Gloucestershire

Find out more about Newark Park here.

3. Woolacombe, Devon

Down in Devon live a variety of sandy beaches and this is just what Woolacombe will offer you, but it’s also a perfect spot for surfing decent waves and rock-pooling.

Woolacombe, Devon

With Croyde Bay also nearby, you can take a long walk from Woolacombe to Croyde if you’re a keen hiker. Or you can just chill out on the beach at Woolacombe or catch some waves – the choice really is yours.

Check out more about Woolacombe here.

4. Heddon Valley, Exmoor

There are a variety of walks on offer in the stunning Heddon Valley and some of them offer fantastic views across the sea.

One of the walks to the top of the valley has quite a steep, narrow path so be careful here and wear some proper walking boots. But if you do decide to venture up to the top, then you will certainly be rewarded with some of the best views (despite the possible rain)!

Heddon Valley, Exmoor

Find out more about Heddon Valley here.

5. Lydford Gorge, Devon

This is by far one of my favourite National Trust places. It offers some of the best walks I’ve been on as you follow the River Lyd.

From the river twisting and turning through the gorge for so many thousands of years; there are some amazing features for you to find. There’s the 30-metre Whitelady Waterfall…

Lydford Gorge, Devon

… and the turbulent Devil’s Cauldron potholes to name just a couple.

Lydford Gorge, Devon

If you have children with you, don’t forget to tell them all about the magical legends that this gorge entails!

You can also read more about Lydford Gorge itself here.

6. Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire

Hidden away in the heart of Gloucestershire, Woodchester Park just had to be on my list. For a start, it’s where I met my other half so it’s no surprise that this National Trust place holds very special memories for me.

There is the opportunity to take tranquil woodland walks around the large lake. Look out for the boat house – it’s quite a charming place to come to for an afternoon picnic.

Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire

You can even take the children’s trail and hop on swings and see-saws, just like the big kid I know you can be!

Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire

All you need to know about Woodchester Park is here.

7. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

Most would come to Cheddar for the caves and to learn about how the cheese is made. I admit the caves are very cool to explore; so make sure you do take a look if you get the chance.

However, if it’s the National Trust you’re after, then there’s the gorge walk you can venture on. It offers fantastic views, woodland walks and a chance to see the “Lion’s Head” rock up close and personal. But seriously, check out the view across Cheddar!

Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

Here’s some more info about Cheddar Gorge in case you need it.

8. Brecon Beacons, Wales

The Brecon Beacons are an iconic image when thinking about the UK. There are so many different kinds of walk you can take – from hiking across the grassy plains, to walking behind waterfalls, to rambling near reservoirs.

Two of my favourite walks have been in the Brecon Beacons.

The first was the Four Waterfalls Walk near Ystradfellte, which involves woodland walks and the opportunity to walk behind a large waterfall (for free)! This was a lot of fun … and very wet, obviously!

Brecon Beacons, Wales

My second favourite walk in the Brecon Beacons was around Pontsticill Reservoir. The water was a stunning shade of blue, and there were little, secluded areas by the waters edge for picnicking in.

Brecon Beacons, Wales

You could also walk across the bridge in the middle of the reservoir to get perfect 360 degree photos of all sides of the reservoir.

Brecon Beacons, Wales

Read more about the Brecon Beacons here.

9. Lake District, Cumbria

Although the National Trust only part-owns some land in the Lake District, it just had to make it on the list given how stunning it is here.

The lakes are vast and surrounded by the rolling, green hills that every true Brit loves. They make for ample picture perfect moments and offer so many different countryside walks – well worth a visit!

Lake District, Cumbria

Find more National Trust places in the Lake District here.

10. Stourhead, Wiltshire

Ahh, Stourhead – so beautiful, I’ve been here twice. Once within the Spring months where the thousands of daffodils were in full bloom…

Stourhead, Wiltshire

…and once in the Autumn when the towering trees had turned golden.

Stourhead, Wiltshire

Stourhead offers you the chance to visit the house and learn about the history behind who lived here, but what most people will come to see is the world famous landscape garden.

Surrounding a large glistening lake is a wooded walk with the chance to explore classical temples and a magical grotto with the most unique view across the lake.

Stourhead, Wiltshire

Read more about Stourhead here.

3 National Trust Places for History Buffs

1. Chedworth Roman Villa, Gloucestershire

Chedworth Roman Villa, Gloucestershire

Since as far back as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the Ancient Roman culture and historic period. Chedworth allows you to see original Roman mosaic floors and original artefacts, which makes it perfect for anyone else also drawn to this era.

The villa houses the exhibits and these are often changed, ensuring your visit here each time is slightly different from the last. I’d recommend the free walking tours as you really do learn a lot about what Chedworth was used for during Roman times and how the mosaics were discovered.

Learn more about Chedworth Roman Villa here.

2. Montacute House, Somerset

Montacute House, Somerset

Montacute House holds a kind of Elizabethan grandeur about it. Here you will find oak-panelled rooms, tapestries and historic portraits. A couple of my favourites were ‘Possibly Lucy’ and ‘Probably Mary’, which helped add a touch of humour to our historic visit.

The lawns surrounding the house are sprawling and flat – just perfect for a spot of croquet to help transport you back in time!

All you need to know about Montacute House is right here.

3. Corfe Castle, Dorset

Corfe Castle, Dorset

A pinnacle of English history, Corfe Castle stands atop a vast hill overlooking the surrounding countryside. With 1000 year old ruins found here, it’s a history buff’s dream!

As mentioned before, National Trust are big advocates in bringing history to life, so expect to see live reenactments of wars taking place in the fortresses’ grounds; making this a huge hit with both adults and children.

Learn more about Corfe Castle and its history here.

2 National Trust Places for Theatre & Movie Fanatics

1. Lacock Abbey and Village, Wiltshire

Lacock Abbey and village are the epitome of quintessential England.

The village itself is absolutely charming – with real thatch roofed houses and little bakeries calling you to come inside. It’s no wonder some episodes of Downton Abbey were filmed here!

Lacock Abbey and Village, Wiltshire

The Abbey looks just how you’d imagine an English abbey/church to look. With archways, ancient stonework and secret doors, you can understand why some scenes from Harry Potter were filmed here.

One last note on your visit – remember to take a walk in the abbey grounds. You may just find a rope swing in an old tree… for the big kids out there!

See more of Lacock Abbey here.

2. Dyrham Park, South Gloucestershire

Dyrham Park is actually one for both nature lovers and theatre fanatics.

The grounds here offer some fantastic country walks with the chance to see hundreds of fallow deer and the landscaped gardens are so tranquil to walk through and sit in.

Dyrham Park, South Gloucestershire

But what some people might not know is that Dyrham Park is also one of the best places I know of to come to an outdoor play. During the summer months, The Lord Chamberlains Men can be found showing a Shakespeare play in traditional dress and even with men playing women – just like during the original Elizabethan era.

I personally have seen Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night played here and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it each time. If you love the idea of sitting out in the cool evening with a blanket, wine and picnic; watching some excellent acting, then Dyrham Park is a cool place to come to.

Insider Tip: You have to book your tickets in advance as there are no tickets sold on the door. Make sure you book early though as tickets can sell out quite quickly!

More info about Dyrham Park can be found here.

4 National Trust Places for Avid Gardeners

1. Barrington Court, Somerset

Barrington Court houses a rich piece of history as well as stunning gardens – there are a few smaller gardens that make up the grounds at Barrington Court.

Barrington Court, Somerset

To name a few are the walled White Garden, Rose and Iris Garden and Lily Garden; each containing beautiful flowers, working fountains and intoxicating scents. For the herbalists among us, there is even a Kitchen Garden!

See more of Barrington Court here.

2. Bodnant Garden, Wales

This is Wales’s answer to vast, sprawling gardens (80 acres to be precise), which are full of mystery and intrigue. The garden is also home to many different and rare species of plants and shrubs from around the world.

From traditional roses, to towering conifers, to charming magnolias; this garden is a botanist’s dream!

Bodnant Garden, Wales

Throw in a waterfall, picturesque bridges and a few hidden secrets; and you will also find this garden to be full of intrigue, just perfect for whiling away a Sunday afternoon in.

Bodnant Garden, Wales

More info about Bodnant Garden is here for you.

3. Castle Drogo, Devon

With the castle currently undergoing major conservation work to make it watertight, it is the gardens that you will most likely have come to see.

The landscaped gardens are quite vast and do allow for many hours to be spent here. Whether you’re interested in botany or enjoy lawn games, this is a great place to come. You may even find a hidden house or two!

Castle Drogo, Devon

All the info about Castle Drogo and the restoration project can be found here.

4. Knightshayes, Devon

When finding somewhere new to explore, it was the name that stood out to me – Knightshayes.

It was the thought of ancient, aristocratic families roaming the halls that made me think it would be a place of grandeur and wealth.

Knightshayes, Devon

I wasn’t wrong, but what I found most unexpected was the marvellous gardens I found here. It was only later on that I found out that the gardens are thought to be the finest in the South West of England and that it has the only existing ‘garden in the wood’.

Alongside every continent’s most beautiful and unique plants and flowers, there are also hidden glades and views across the Exe Valley. Come and while away a few hours here and you will leave, feeling ever more rested and peaceful.

More info about Knightshayes is here for you.

2 National Trust Places for Travellers to Northern Ireland

1. Giants Causeway, County Antrim

Giants Causeway, County Antrim

There is not a traveller alive who hasn’t heard of this iconic and legendary place.

Follow in the footsteps of giants and marvel at the basalt rocks. Step into deep legends and look out across the blue waters. Walk the countryside of Ulster and triumph at the stunning sights.

Giants Causeway, County Antrim

However you may want to spend your time at Giants Causeway, I can assure you that it will be an unforgettable one. It may even inspire you to read all about the legend itself.

And for more info about Giants Causeway and how to visit, click here.

2. Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim

Not too far from Giant’s Causeway is Carrick-a-Rede, home to an ancient rope bridge that is perfect for adrenaline junkies.

Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim

With the bridge swaying side to side and you seeing that there is a fairly long fall into icy waters, you will not only be rewarded with a sense of excitement about the walk across; but you will also marvel at the coastal scenery around you.

As there is a bit of a walk from the car park to the bridge, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to gaze out across the sea and do a spot of bird watching, so take your time getting to the bridge … if you can hold your excitement in, that is!

Read more about Carrick-a-Rede and the bridge here.

After being a member of the National Trust for a few years, it’s obvious that I’ve spent many hours, days, weeks trawling through the British countryside looking for new places to visit. And with there being so many places to see with my membership, I have a feeling this list is just going to grow and grow!

How about you? Are there any places on this list that you wish you could visit? Are there any National Trust places you’ve been to that you think I might like? Let me know in the comments…

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21 Special National Trust Places In The UK

8 thoughts on “21 Special National Trust Places in the UK

  1. Love love love this! We are currently trying to travel domestically as much as possible with our little doggy. Most of the National Trust sites allow dogs, so it’s great to have a list (and photos) of ones that are definitely worth visiting!

    1. I’m so pleased you like my roundup of the best places!

      I adore the fact that you have a dog (that’s the one part I’m missing when visiting National Trust places).

      I hope you manage to see some of these places as they really are beautiful – I’d love to hear from you if you do! πŸ™‚

  2. Sara White says:

    This post is so helpful! I’m tentatively starting to plan a UK vacation/road trip and have been feeling really lost as to where to visit outside of some of the really well-known areas – this roundup has definitely given me some solid directions to look into. I love how lush and green everything looks!

    1. Excellent, I’m so pleased Sara! I hope you have a fantastic road trip/vacation in the UK. If you ever need tips or more suggestions on what to see, feel free to send me a note. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

  3. kad8585 says:

    This is so great because whenever I think of the UK, I think of London. But the National Trust and the places it protects, shows me that there is do much more to the UK than London. And I love how you broke them all down by areas of interest. Great idea!

    1. There is definitely more to the UK than just London! Don’t get me wrong – London is a great place to explore and I’m sure I’ll be writing about it one day. But there’s just so many beautiful places around the UK outside of the big cities too. I’m so happy this post has shown you that! πŸ™‚

  4. ravenoustravellers says:

    Ahh this makes me so excited for our return home to the UK this Summer, can’t wait to visit some of these! I forget how beautiful the UK is. Thanks for sharing you have got some beautiful photos – so picturesque πŸ™‚

    1. You’re coming back to the UK? Amazing! I hope you enjoy your time back here… so much to see, so much to do. Trust me – these photos were so easy to take with all of this beauty around! πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for the compliments though – really pleased you liked this post!

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