Yesterday the latest English Heritage handbook arrived in the mail, causing some quiet excitement. I am a huge fan of English Heritage – I have a lifetime membership (and a life time National Trust membership. Call me the heritage geek if you must). While these memberships are expensive, I think they are worth it.
- Firstly, if you visit these sites a fair bit (as we do) and you do the maths on what it would cost for two adults and a child*, you will recoup your costs over time
- Secondly, it is nice having the ‘multi=pass’ to flash we you get to places (the English Heritage one is gold coloured. Very bling.) Saves having to worry about renewing, saves fuss etc.
- Thirdly, if you love an organisation, it is nice to support it, and I feel my memberships do that.
I am sometimes asked where my favourite EH property is. That is a bit like asking ‘what is your favourite book’ – I can’t name just one. But if I really, really, really had to name just one place, I would say Eltham Palace and Gardens. It is just beautiful – Henry VIII’s boyhood home that was redecorated in stunning Art Deco style. The story of the people who have lived there is fascinating. And there is a pet lemur involved. What more do you need? (Oh, and it is conveniently in the outskirts of London).
Last year we were lucky enough to go to Eltham Palace for a joust. A real life joust mind you – knights in armour on horseback, riding full-tilt at each other with large sticks (and the organisers were at pains to tell everyone these were real jousting lances, not balsa wood ‘easy-break’ things). People were allowed to go and talk to the knights and check-out their kit. There were lots of other re-enacters (including a young Henry VIII), activities (Willem got to shoot with a real bow and arrow) and activities. It was brilliant. This is not the only EH ‘re-enactment’ we have been to, and if you can ever catch one, do. They are always top quality, with actors that really know their role and do a great job ‘living’ them (you don’t feel they are acting); fantastic costumes and props; and there are usually activities for varying interests and levels.
If you are not living in the United Kingdom, don’t despair – you can either pay the normal entry fee at any English Heritage property, or there are overseas visitor passes – take a look here.
*Life membership means that not only do I go free, but I can also take in one adult guest (so that covers the husband) and up to six children.