Our story

There's no other organisation like the National Trust. No other organisation that brings such an amazing variety of places and spaces to life.

We are a charity founded in 1895 by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces, and wanted to protect them for everyone to enjoy. More than a century after we were founded, our values are still at the heart of everything we do. And we do a lot more than you might think. 

We welcome some 22.5 million visitors, from all ages and backgrounds, every year. We care for historic houses, gardens, mills, forests, castles, miles of coastline, islands, holiday cottages, pubs and inns, whole villages and even a goldmine. We also run a huge retail chain, a multi-million pound food and beverage business and much, much more. And we do all of this so that everyone can enjoy and make the most of the green spaces and beautiful places that England, Wales and Northern Ireland has to offer. 

Numbers related facts header

The Trust today

5.3 members

50,000 volunteers

10,000 permanent and seasonal staff

250,000 hectares of land

780 miles of coastline

76 nature reserves

500 historic houses, gardens and parks, ancient monuments

39 pubs and inns

400 factories and mines (including a gold mine)

4.5 cups of tea

56 villages

13.9 visits

Tow men with surf boards

Our people

We have over 11,000 dedicated and skilled employees, who are proud to work for us. In 2016, we were recognised as one of the best not-for-profit employers in the UK. Over the last year, we’ve continued to invest in our people. We are incredibly lucky that, alongside our employees, more than 61,000 volunteers give their time, energy and skills to our cause. Whether our people are permanent or with us for just a few months, we take their welfare and training seriously. 

How we support our people

Family gardening

For everyone

When we say for everyone, for ever, we mean it. We look after places so everyone can enjoy them. But we know that some people have yet to experience the wonderful buildings, green spaces and coastlines that we care for, and that’s something we’re working hard to change. So we’re making ourselves more accessible and reaching out to people across the nation. We’ve come a long way but we know we still have some way to go and it all starts with the people that work for us. It’s not about backgrounds, age or culture. It’s about finding great individuals to engage with others and get more people enjoying the places we look after.