Hudson's Explorer Pass in England

In the 2012 Rick Steves England book, it suggests the Great British Heritage pass as a way of saving money when visiting several heritage sites on a trip. We are going to England in a couple of weeks and when searching for the britishheritagepass.com site, we get the Hudsons Explorer Pass site instead. Is this pass legitimate? For one thing, it says it includes the Portsmouth Historic Dockyards which I thought was an independent site. Any experience using this Hudsons pass? Any advice/opinion would be appreciated.
- Jake, Ottawa, Canada

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

The Hudson Pass has come along as a replacement for the Great British Heritage Pass. The GB Heritage Pass was ended 31 December 2011. I'm about to leave for GB and looked at the Hudson Pass and didn't buy it for this trip. Like any pass, you need to look at what sites it covers that you plan to visit. Then it's simple math to see if the pass will pay off. I didn't feel the Hudson Pass had enough locations I was interested in to make it work. That could easily change by next year. My opinion is that the Ireland OPW pass is a bargain unless they've raised the price in the last 2 years. The London Pass is marginal except for a very dedicated traveler that is willing to plan carefully and stick to the plan. The Paris Museum Pass is good if you are going to get your money's worth out of visiting the sights. I think Versailles is a necessary stop to make the cost work out.

Posted by Kathleen
Camano Island, WA, usa
331 posts

Look on the National Trust UK site. As you will see; they cover many of the sites that were on the GBH pass. You can join for a year for 70 pounds for 2 adults; I believe that you must order it and have it mailed to you before going. We were in UK for 21 days and found it was a bargain. I they have a more flexible visitors pass also for 7 days, starting at 23 pounds...and 14 days, etc.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
781 posts

The National Trust affiliate organisation in the USA is the Royal Oak Foundation. They have dual membership for $95 for a whole year, plus family deals. http://www.royal-oak.org For Canadians, members of Heritage Canada have have free access to National Trust and National Trust for Scotland properties.

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

The National Trust membership for two adults is currently 88.50 gbp and it can be purchased in Great Britain. I am not aware of a discount if you buy it in the US. If so, I left money on the table. It covers England, Wales and N. Ireland although there is a reciprocal agreement with Scotland's version that I am not familiar with all of the details. National Trust sites do not include many of the sites that were covered on the GB Heritage Pass and are on the current Hudson Pass. The National Trust seems to cover a lot of houses and estates. Sometimes these include gardens. I currently have a National Trust membership but it's really something that I doubt a "Great Britain in Three Weeks" type of trip outlined in the RS GB book could justify. Many of the "top" tourist sites are not covered by it. That's why I didn't mention it. As I have said several times when it comes to passes, you have to do your homework. See if the math works. The old GB Heritage Pass was a pretty good bargain for the right trip. It was well designed for a first time visitor. It had most of the better sites covered and was easy to justify IMHO. I mourn its passing.

Posted by Kathleen
Camano Island, WA, usa
331 posts

Thanks Ken for the prices. Another site of interest is English Heritage. They cover other sites that include a lot more archeological things such as Stonehenge and ruined castles, etc...I feel it is beneficial to support the groups that restore and maintain the sites. The National Trust site and the English Heritage site also have many good ideas for those with diffrent interests to follow. We used the National Trust and the English Trust memberships and found that they complemented each other...but we were in Great Britain for 21 days and are fanatic tourists so we got our monies worth. And we got a magazine and newsletters from the two groups for a year which were very interesting. The next time we did use the GBH which had almost too many choices. I'll be interested to hear how the Hudson's Explorer Pass works out.

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

I was wrong. There are National Trust passes for overseas visitors. The 7 day pass for 2 adults is 41 gbp and 50 gbp for 14 days. They have to be ordered in advance except some sites in England do offer them. So, you could probably save some money if only visiting once during a year. If there is a chance of a revisit within 12 months, the one year pass is the better choice. As always, your planned sites should drive your pass purchase. Don't tailor a trip around a pass.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8758 posts

I was just about to mention the Royal Oak Foundation when I saw Marco beat me to the punch. Individual memberships are $65US. Memberships are 12 months from date of joining.