From castles plucked straight out of a fairy tale to surreal landscapes, the National Trust tends to some of the UK’s most majestic spots. Over its whopping 248,000 hectares of land and 780 miles of coastline, you’ll find historic houses, ancient monuments, and nature reserves more than worthy of your attention.
The perfect day whether you’re travelling with the family, as a couple, or on your own, these are the best natural trust places you can visit in the UK today.
Culzean Castle and Country Park, Ayrshire
Scotland is blessed with a plethora of sights that look as though they’re taken straight out of a children’s book, but few are as breath-taking as Culzean Castle. Its history stretches back to 1777, and today is home to one of the largest collections of swords and pistols in the world. Stunning by day but spooky by night, Culzean was used as a location for the 1973 horror classic The Wicker Man. Don’t be scared, though – its 40 historical buildings and follies will have you hooked all day.
Cragside House and Gardens, Northumberland
The first house in the world to be powered by hydroelectricity, Cragside in Northumberland was a Victorian home well ahead of its time. Wandering around its 40 miles of footpaths, lakes and woodland you feel this sense of invention and how it was used to create one of the world’s first truly modern homes. Much of the grounds is rugged, so expect to work up a sweat before you visit the famous tearoom (not one of the previous owner’s inventions).
St Agnes Head, Cornwall
One of Cornwall’s most jaw-droppingly beautiful sights, St Agnes Head is a natural marvel and something everyone should witness. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a long stretch of beach with footpaths leading further inland to Wheal Coates – a former mine – and Chapel Porth – one of Cornwall’s best beaches. Perfect for Poldark fans (St Agnes Head was the backdrop for Nampara Valley), this phenomenon gets even better at high tide, when the waves crash against the ruins.
Powis Castle & Gardens, Welshpool
Set amongst the backdrop of the stunning Severn Valley, Powis Castle and Gardens is one of the most dramatic scenes in Wales. A medieval fortress built around 1200, its collection of paintings, sculptures and furniture tell the story of the times some 800 years ago. The breath-taking gardens are vast, with yew trees dancing down hills and rare flowers injecting a rainbow of colours. It’s the perfect National Trust place for history and sights.
Dinefwr Castle, Carmarthenshire
One of the oldest National Trust places in the UK, Dinefwr Castle’s history dates back more than 2,000 years. Newton House sits at the heart of the castle – home to royal ancestry for at least 300 years. Inside, you’ll find exhibition rooms in which you can learn about the history of the castle, its people, and the landscape. Step outside and you’ll discover a deer park, with meadows and woodland to explore.
The former home of Sit Winston Churchill, Chartwell gives visitors a unique insight into the life of arguably Britain’s most famous leader. Churchill’s studio is packed with his personal paintings, while his self-built treehouse sits in the stunning gardens, decorated with a flourish of flowers and buzzing with bumblebees. You’ll be in good company; the visitors’ book boasts named such as Laurence Olivier, President Truman and Vivien Leigh.
Hill Top, Cumbria
Hill Top is a must-see for those who grew up reading Beatrix Potter – or still read her today. The author purchased the 17th century house in 1905, and today it remains almost exactly how she left it – furniture still in place and trophies on display. The garden is stunning, with honeysuckle, foxglove and lavender plants scattered across the 4,000 acres, now owned by the National Trust.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Said to be the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s wife, Blickling Estate is a breath-taking mansion surrounded by 4,600 hectares of idyllic garden. You can spend a whole day wandering around the property on foot, but by far the best way to experience Blickling is by renting a bike. A 45-minute loop takes you around the whole estate, including through the woods and past an 18th-century tower.
Described as ‘a living work of art’ when it first opened in the 1740s, Stourhead is over 1,000 hectares of discovery. This world-famous landscape garden is home to mystical grottoes and a stunning lake, Stourhead is one of the best National Trust places for families. Inside the house you’ll find the Regency library and beautiful artwork, but the main reason to visit is the extensive gardens.
Greenway is perfect for Agatha Christie fans and amateur detectives. The author bought the estate in 1938 for £6,000 – a bargain if you ask us – and it soon became her favourite holiday home. The library is home to the first editions of the novelist’s books, and the drawing room is where she used to read manuscripts to her closest friends. The Boathouse was where parties were thrown, while the surrounding woodland and gardens are a delight.
If you're planning a trip to one of the best National Trust places in the UK, don't forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or our Train Tickets app. You can also find information on how to get cheaper train tickets via our special offers page. If you need more information, you can contact us here.
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