What Are Kids And Family Membership Schemes And Are They Worth It?

January 15, 2024 • Chris Bardsley

What Are Kids And Family Membership Schemes And Are They Worth It?

As a parent, you’ll know better than anyone how difficult it can be to keep the kids entertained, especially when the holidays roll around!

Depending on where you live in the UK, along with the types of activities your children enjoy, kids and family membership schemes might just offer a solution.

Here at Fair For You, we’re always keen to share ideas to help families on a low income make their money go further. So here’s the lowdown on family membership schemes.

What Are Family Annual Membership Schemes?

Annual membership schemes for families are essentially the same as buying an annual pass for an attraction, only the pass is for your whole family. It’s possible to find membership schemes for the likes of theme parks, zoos, Natural Trust sites and similar places where both adults and kids can be entertained for the day.

The idea behind family annual membership schemes is that you pay a set fee to visit an unlimited amount of times per year, rather than paying per visit. For those locations that your kids really enjoy visiting, this could mean that family annual membership schemes are well worth the cost.

Annual Membership Schemes For Families

Lots of family membership schemes exist, but here are the top three popular schemes in the UK. These are based on access to the best attractions, plus the best value for money overall.

Merlin Annual Pass

There’s no better place to start than the most famous of family annual passes, and that’s the

Merlin Annual Pass.

With a Merlin pass, you’ll receive access to some of the UK’s best family attractions including:

  • Alton Towers Resort

  • Cadbury World

  • Chessington World Of Adventures Resort

  • LEGOLAND® Discovery Centres

  • LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort

  • Madame Tussauds, Peter Rabbit™: Explore and Play

  • Sea Life

  • Shrek's Adventure! London

  • The Bear Grylls Adventure

  • The Blackpool Tower

  • The Dungeons

  • The London Eye

  • Thorpe Park Resort

  • Warwick Castle

So it’s safe to say that the Merlin Pass ticks a lot of boxes!

There are four pass types to choose from including Discovery Pass, Silver Pass, Gold Pass and Platinum Pass. However, depending on the pass type you’ll get varying levels of access to attractions along with other perks included.

Cost: £10.99 to £20.99 per person, per month + joining fee.

National Trust Family Membership

There’s nothing better than spending quality family time in nature. Giving you access to more than 500 locations, the National Trust Family Membership has sites to visit across the country. Best of all, the cost of membership goes towards maintaining the natural or historic sites in its care.

Alongside various nature reserves, the pass will give you access to country house estates along with sprawling gardens. So this is a great one to keep the kids active as well as give them opportunities to learn about history.

Cost: From £91.20 per year for a one adult family pass, or £146.40 per year for a two adult and family pass. Kids under 5 go free.

English Heritage Family Membership

The English Heritage Family Membership scheme will give your family access to over 400 sites in the UK. Out of all the family membership schemes available, this particular scheme offers the greatest flexibility for larger families. It’s also a catch if your kids love historical reenactments!

Some of the top locations you’ll get yearly access to include Stonehenge, Dover Castle, Audley End House and Gardens, Kenilworth Castle, Battle Abbey (1066 Hastings), Tintagel Castle and Wrest Park.

As part of your membership, you’ll also receive free or discounted entry to various events throughout the year.

Cost: From £69 per year for one adult and up to six children, or £120 per year for two adults and up to 12 children.

What To Consider Before Buying A Family Memberships Or Annual Passes

Overall, the verdict for family membership schemes is very positive. However, there can be additional costs to consider first to ensure you’re truly getting a good deal. Also check how many sites are close to you, or what it would cost to travel to the locations in terms of fuel or train fare. Ideally, choose an annual pass that offers local attractions to ensure you can pack in plenty of visits throughout the year.

Fair For You - Supporting Families On Low Incomes

Fair For You offers flexible repayments for the things you need for your home and family. We’re not like the average lender, as we’re on your side!

If you’re new to Fair For You, we have family-friendly products over on our kids and baby section. Plus we have a Food Club Card which could give you up to £75 to spend at Iceland.

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This entry was posted in Budgeting Tips, Buying Guides and Blog
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