We went to the UK for some R&R and to make pilgrimage to our ancestral heritage. We started at Dover, ended at Cardiff and visited many historical sites in between.
What we discovered was that the National Trust is consistently overcharging tourists with unnecessary parking or entry fees. In some cases it was little more than taking money under false pretences, ie outright fraud.
No disability services, or free parking for disability parking pass holders. In fact very few disability parking spaces in evidence.
Dover was the first experience. We followed the signs to the clifftop lookout. We paid three pounds to park, and then discovered that the lookout was a two mile walk from the car park. We drove to a neighbouring village and saw the cliffs for free.
It was one of many similar rorts. Frequently, any suitable alternate parking in close proximity was singposted no parking.
At Avebury, the signs direct you to the NT carpark where the parking fee is five pounds - if you drive past and take the next exit, you can park in the pub for free. Lets face it you were having that beer in the beergarden anyway, weren't you?
In the roman baths where the mineral water bubbles up out of the ground free from nature, they had signs up everywhere saying don't drink the water it is untreated. Upstairs, if you wanted to taste the water they were selling it at 60p per glass. Same untreated water. Maybe it was glass hire?
At Cardiff, where we flew out from, there were two attractions, the castle and the art collection at the gallery. The gallery was closed, between hangs, and the castle did not live up to the hype, or the price, in short - don't bother.
before you pay and park, drive around and check out where the locals park
before you pay to enter, can you see it from outside, can you see it afterhours, is there a free one close by?
Reading the catalogue in the gift shop is a good way of pre-assessing the site. Its also a good way of previewing the content of pay to enter blockbuster art exhibitions.
Some of the sites we paid to enter were well worth the entry fee.
The Hastings Battle site for example. They give you a self tour talking thingy, the info centre is good, the site well maintained.
The Roman Villa with its undercover mosaics was a good place to be when it was raining.