We'll be in England for the entire month of May. It will be my husband, myself and our 14 year old. We've been looking at buying both passes, as we will be visiting places that both cover (we're going to be seeing a LOT of places!!). Would you say it is better to purchase them when we arrive at our first destination, or buy them, on-line, now? We did find that one of them is a better financial option to buy as a year's membership than to buy it as an overseas visitor's pass. We checked the Hudson Heritage Pass, but it is not financially sensible, for the things we want to see, as listed. Does a pass really speed the entry process at sites (is there a separate line for pass-holders)?? Is it issued as a "credit card" type pass, or just a document? Thanks, in advance, for all answers and any suggestions!
I got both the Heritage and National Trust passes before we left. They'll mail you passes and some information and the first time you use it there's an initial check in procedure because that starts your day count. The NT really like to check your card number and what you've seen as where the Heritage seems more laid back about entry. I don't remember any separate lines but lines were also rarely a problem. I remember at the time both passes seemed to be difficult to find and not well promoted on the sites, but they seem more visible now. I'm pretty sure the Trust pass must be purchased from your home country so decide before you go: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356393238809/ it also appears they may not mail anymore - check for latest details. The Heritage Pass can be purchased at staffed HE sites so you need to make sure your first visit is a staffed site. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/overseas-visitor-pass/prices-and-how-to-order/ If you want them I would order them before you go. I know changes itinerary can may that maybe you don't get full value out of them but it can also open up sites that you might otherwise skip. I know we went to Mompesson House in the Salisbury close and The Assembly Rooms in Bath because they were "free" because we had the pass. Like the Museum Pass in Paris it lowers the bar to enter places and means you can enjoy for exactly as long as you want to instead of feeing like you need to get your admission price "money's worth" out of it. Hope that helps,
A few years ago we bought what I believe was called the Great British Heritage Pass online because they offered a super two for one special on the web. I am not certain whether the pass you speak of has replaced it or is another altogether.But the information they sent us was invaluable in planning as we could easily see the countless attractions, and their hours of operation, that were near our destinations. We added lots of fascinating places we would have driven right by. I do not recall whizzing through lines, but you shouldn't envision Vaticanesque queues either. Have a terrific trip. We were treated with great kindness everywhere we went.
The Great British Heritage Pass is no more. The USA Royal Oak Foundation supports the National Trust and members get the same benefits as National Trust membership. Their membership charge (Family Card 115 dollars) looks like it might work out a better buy and is tax deductible. http://www.royal-oak.org/join/
I believe the British Hertitage Pass has been discontinued according to other posters on this site. The National Trust does have an Overseas Visitor Pass for 7 or 14, 21? days for singles and up. They initiate with the first use. I think that they must be purchased before you leave but you could check with them. We found it to be a great buy and it covers hundreds of sites. I think that they have some mutual properties with Engliah Heritage, but not sure. English Heritage sites tend to be the more archeological ones like ruined castles and natural wonders, while NT has many manor houses and great estates. Check their sites before you buy.