Whether it by providing employment, preserving and restoring the natural environment, offering beautiful places to relax and enjoy, or helping us learn and discover new things, independent heritage benefits us all
Great houses and their surrounding gardens, grounds , and parklands have always been centres of the community, places of employment on a great scale, stimuli to craftspeople and artists, drivers of the economy, and magnificent structures in which everyone can take pride.
The nature of these impacts have changed over time. The time of royal progresses and aristocratic weekend house parties, when the mighty kitchen would suck up victuals from miles around and an army of spit boys and scullery maids would create banquets at which history was made, is over. But in its place our member places see weddings and festivals still drawing guest lists of hundreds or even thousands, and shops and cafes as well as special events providing rewarding work for chefs and tour guides, florists and photographers, musicians and web designers.
In fact over 34,000 full-time equivalent jobs are supported directly by our member places, and many more by the £1 billion spent in local communities by those visiting or using our houses and grounds, for tourism, leisure, or their special day. The 27 million visitors who walk through our gates and doors every year come not just from round the corner but from all around the world, providing an injection for the British economy and projecting the UK’s soft power globally through the affection that millions of people around the world have for our unique and instantly recognisable history and houses. As cultural lynchpins for their local communities, historic houses sustain crafts and specialisms that might otherwise be lost, and stimulate the creative industries.
And the impact goes beyond economics. Bringing together opportunities for access to breathtaking art and architecture with health and wellbeing activities, community groups and individual visitors find their mental and physical health boosted by access to beauty, nature and open spaces. There’s a hefty financial benefit from that too, in the form of reduced rates of obesity, stress-related illnesses, and social isolation, but we value the joy our houses bring mainly for their own sake.
As we do the natural world of which they’re part. It’s no surprise that historic house custodians, who see themselves as just links in a long chain of generations entrusted with the responsibility of looking after our heritage, are amongst the forefront of those taking climate change and environmental sustainability, and are leading the efforts to reduce our footprint and protect and restore natural habitats.
Become a member
Explore the nation’s heritage from just £56 per year.
Hundreds of the most beautiful historic houses, castles, and gardens across Britain offer our members free entry.
Receive a quarterly magazine exploring the architecture, collections, and family histories of our grandest and oldest homes, and get an insight into what it takes to keep them standing today.
Enjoy exclusive booking onto member-only tours of some of the most private great houses in the country, conducted in person by the owner.