I was making plans for some nice days out and looking at the website for a local museum when I noticed a bit of small print saying people with a mysterious thing called a "National Art Pass" got free admission. "I wonder what that is?" I thought, and Googled it. It turns out the National Art Pass is a great scheme run by the Art Fund that gives you free entry to lots of museums, galleries and historic houses across the country plus money off lots of exhibitions. Cool huh?
You buy an annual membership, and then you can use your pass as much as you like during the year. Since I'm going on lots of day trips at the moment I decided to treat myself to a membership, and my Art Pass arrived last week.
The welcome pack includes this year's guide to venues across the UK with connections to the Art Fund.
All the venues that offer free or discounted entry to Art Pass holders, or discounted exhibition tickets are clearly marked. The Art Fund website also has a really useful guide to current exhibitions, many of which are 50% off with an Art Pass.
I am already making mental lists of exhibitions I want to see this autumn now they're going to be so much more affordable. I'm especially interested in seeing Elizabeth I & Her People at the National Portrait Gallery, Facing the Modern at the National Gallery and Pearls at the V&A.
And, of course, I'm looking forward to getting free or discounted entry at lots of interesting places throughout the year - many of which were already on my list of places I wanted to visit, including: The Courtauld Gallery, Red House, Kew Gardens, Bletchley Park, The River & Rowing Museum at Henley, and Kensington Palace.
I'm also hoping that making the most of my year's membership will prove an added incentive to stick with my plan of weekly nice days out!