🍂🍁Unlock Enchanting Autumn Adventures with the National Trust Free Family Pass (2023)🍂🍁

Autumn—a season of warm hues, crisp air, and endless exploration. Following with recent tradition, 2023 proved no different, with the National Trust wanting to give everyone a taste of this magical time, offering families a unique opportunity to experience our preserved treasures without spending a penny. If you knew about this, hopefully you were able to grab one of the National Trust free family pass that were available online. Although today (20 October 2023) marks the final date that you can use the pass, if last year is anything to go by, there’s a good chance the promotion will be extended.

With a nod to the promotion being run by the National Trust, offering these free family passes, we’ve decided to do a rundown of our top picks of National Trust properties and locations across Manchester.

From immersive woodland walks where you can hear the rustle of amber leaves beneath your feet, to vibrant gardens painting a picture of autumn, there’s a world waiting for you. Grab your camera and capture the beauty of nature; be it birds taking flight or the mesmerising varieties of fungi that come alive during this season.

And don’t worry, whilst this promotion has been badged as a free family pass, that’s just the wording. No matter if you’re a solo adventurer, a duo of explorers, or a family eager for an outing, the pass has got you covered.

Best Visit If Short on Time: Hare Hill

📍Over Alderley, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 4PY

  • Parking: Plenty of free parking along with accessible parking
  • Prices: Adults £9.90 / Child £5.50 / Family £24.80
  • Dog Friendly?: Only assistance dogs are allowed in the gardens
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Refreshments: A small kiosk upon arrival to the gardens, but nothing more substantial
  • Play area: Yes a wild woodland adventure area with swings and balance beams
  • Accessibility: Step free paths available, pushchair and wheelchair suitable
  • Eligible for National Trust free family pass? Yes

We’ve proudly been National Trust members since 2012, exploring a myriad of its properties. While many visits have been delightful, there are occasions where certain locations, though enjoyable, might not feel like full value for money if one had to pay separately. Tintinhull Gardens in Somerset and Hare Hill near Alderley Edge are two such examples.

Our most recent visit to Hare Hill was during Easter, just as the gardens were beginning to burst into life. The ambiance was undeniably beautiful. However, in comparison to some of its renowned neighbours, Hare Hill’s actual gardens felt a tad compact.

Beyond the formal walled gardens, Hare Hill offers a sizable woodland walk. Yet, this isn’t vastly different from what you can experience at nearby Alderley Edge, without any entry fee (minus the parking charges).

Even for those who relish every detail, examining each plant and pond, and even attempting to climb trees, you’ll find that two hours is ample time to cover Hare Hill. So, if you’re looking for a quick yet captivating escape, Hare Hill is an excellent choice to utilise your free National Trust family pass!

Best Visit for Industrial Heritage: Quarry Bank Mill

📍Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4HP

  • Parking: Plenty of free parking along with accessible parking
  • Prices: Adults £22.00 / Child £11.00 / Family £55.00
  • Dog Friendly?: Dogs are allowed on leads throughout the grounds, but not in the mill
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Refreshments: Yes, there is a decent cafe along with a separate ice cream stand
  • Play area: Yes a decent sized play area can be found in the woodland area
  • Accessibility: Step free paths available, pushchair and wheelchair suitable, a buggy is put on to take visitors from the car park to the mill as the walk is relatively steep
  • Eligible for National Trust free family pass? Yes
Quarry Bank Mill, also known as Styal Mill is a shout out if you want to explore industrial heritage with your national trust free family pass

Situated close to the village of Styal, Quarry Bank Mill stands as a testament to Britain’s industrial legacy. Established by Samuel Greg in 1784, it swiftly became the UK’s premier cotton enterprise by 1832. Today, visitors can immerse themselves in tales of child apprentices (we did tell Mila that she would be left behind to work as we had no money to pay for the ice cream), marvel at the architectural genius of the era, and witness the mill’s magnificent iron waterwheel, recognised as Europe’s most potent working example.

The mill’s allure doesn’t end with machinery. The verdant landscape surrounding Quarry Bank is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Trails weave through woods and along the River Bollin, presenting the perfect amalgamation of history and serenity. When we visited there was a very sweet teddy bear picnic trail to follow through the gardens which kept the kids running on ahead of us, looking for the next small doors, or washing lines.

The mill’s heart still beats, producing cotton calico. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to experience any one of the many still working cotton milling machines and experience the immense noise generated just by one machine. It’s mind boggling to think of what the conditions would have been for the workers of the time, with all machines running and no health and safety risk assessments! It’s a living museum where the echoes of the Industrial Revolution are palpable.

If you’re seeking a holistic insight into Britain’s industrial heritage, Quarry Bank Mill is an unparalleled destination. Whether it’s the hum of machinery, the stories of yesteryears, or the tranquil walks, Quarry Bank Mill promises a rich, memorable experience.

Best Visit to Dream of Being a Princess: Lyme Park

📍Disley, Stockport, Cheshire, SK12 2NR

  • Parking: Plenty of free parking along with accessible parking
  • Prices for House Park and Gardens: Adults £14.30 / Child £7.15 / Family £35.80
  • Dog Friendly?: Assistance dogs are allowed throughout the estate, dogs are welcome in the gardens
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Refreshments: Yes, plenty of options available
  • Play area: Yes there is a great playground, however it is quite a long walk from both the car park and house
  • Accessibility: Step free paths available, pushchair and wheelchair suitable, wheelchairs are available along with transfers
  • Eligible for National Trust free family pass? Yes
national trust free family pass

Perhaps both mum’s and daughters enjoy coming to Lyme Park and get caught up imagining life as somebody else. Mums perhaps looking everywhere for Mr D’Arcy, daughters getting the opportunity to dress up as the daughters of the noble families that previously lived at Lyme Park.

If you’re looking to use your National Trust free family pass then Lyme Park definitely has it all if you’re looking for an NT property with style, grace and elegance. Located in the huge Lyme Park Estate on the edge of Disley as you approach the house and gardens you’ll be hit by the sheer size.

Go in through the gates that the horse and carriages would once have approached and into the courtyard and your jaw will continue to drop. And not much changes as you wander the house and gardens.

Perhaps that’s Lyme Park’s one downside. It’s sheer size! The estate has a fantastic play area, but it’s quite a long walk from the house and estate. Similarly, if you are visiting with young ones, you may find that they struggle to do all the gardens. However, that is one of the benefits of using the National Trust free family pass! At least you can do what you wish and then leave. You will definitely feel like you get value for money with Lyme, perhaps unlike Hare Hill!

Our one tip to consider when visiting is that the entry into the estate from the A6 near Disley. We have visited the house on warm summer’s days and you can find yourself queuing from the main road, all the way through to the car park, taking well over an hour! So if you do wish to come here, be sure to do so early in the day before the crowds descend if the weather looks good!

Best All Rounder: Tatton Park

📍Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6QN

Now we have an admission to make. Unfortunately Tatton Park isn’t included as part of the National Trust free family pass. However, we love it so much here, that we felt that we had to cover it as part of this round up review!

  • Parking: Plenty however, you are liable to pay, regardless of having the National Trust free family pass
  • Prices for House Park and Gardens: Adults £8.00 / Child £6.00/ Family £21.00 (per attraction – farm / house / gardens)
  • Dog Friendly?: Guide dogs only in the gardens and restaurant
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Refreshments: Yes, plenty of options available
  • Play area: Arguably one of the best playgrounds around. It’s not called the Super Cool Playground by Mila for nothing. However, during our last visit in July 2023, a number of areas were closed of and /or in desperate need of repair
  • Accessibility: Very accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs, with mobility scooters and wheelchairs also available
  • Eligible for National Trust free family pass? No

We simply love Tatton Park. Located on the edge of Knutsford in the sprawling Tatton Estate you’ll find this immense house with heritage farm, deer park and gardens along with massive ponds. Home to the RHS Tatton Flower Show in July, along with a significant range of other events from music to food and dogs Tatton Park has everything.

On top of that the gardens are incredible, from the formal walled kitchen garden, to the formal Japanese Garden; whilst the house can easily rival Lyme Park. We have included Tatton as our best all rounder however, because of its top billing from the kids for the “best playground award” along with the vintage fairground rides, the historic farm that shows you what farming practises were like more than 80 years ago along with the land train that takes you from the car park to the farm.

One tip however, is that you must not be duped by the Mr Whippy ice cream on offer. If you want a real ice cream however, head to the Real Fruit Creamery, our number one pick for ice cream in East Cheshire just down the road in Knutsford, you will not be disappointed.

Our sole gripe with Tatton Park is regardless of whether you are a National Trust member or not, if you are entering the estate by car, you will be liable to a fee of just under £10 to East Cheshire Council.

So, Were You Able to Grab One of The National Trust Free Family Pass?

As autumn paints the landscape with its warm palette, opportunities like this National Trust promotion invite families and explorers alike to step into nature’s gallery. From the mesmerising woodlands of Hare Hill to the majestic heritage of Quarry Bank Mill, Manchester’s National Trust properties are a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be uncovered.

Whether you’re on a solo adventure, planning a duo escapade, or rallying the family for a day out, the richness of our history and the serenity of nature are always at your fingertips. As the leaves fall and seasons change, let’s cherish these moments and make every visit a cherished memory.

This promo on offer from the National Trust, is more than just a ticket—it’s a gateway to unforgettable experiences. If you’ve been struggling to justify forking out on an annual membership with the current cost of living crisis, it may even help you assess whether membership would be good value.

If you’ve missed out this time, ensure you’re first in line for the next opportunity. Subscribe to our social media feeds for timely updates, exclusive news, and everything related to future offers from the National Trust.


  • Richard

    Hi! I’m Rich, co-founder and writer behind Lets Go Manchester. I grew up in Bournemouth but have been living up here for almost 10 years. I now find myself exploring Manchester and the surrounding counties with my amazing wife and two gorgeous kids.

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