Thursday, 12 February 2015

How I Saved Over £200 with an Art Pass

Back in 2013 I decided to start taking regular Nice Days Out - to take a break from my deadlines and my seemingly endless To Do list and to schedule some proper days off. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I've made in years!

Unfortunately, Going Places and Doing Things costs money so I was delighted when I discovered the National Art Pass...

My Art Pass

I was "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." 

I wanted to make the most of my year's membership so I set myself the challenge of seeing how many places I could visit in the year and how much money I could save. As well as blogging about my trips throughout the year I kept a nerdy list recording all the places I'd visited and tallying how much I was saving. It was great to see the money I was saving but I also found my "challenge" was great motivation to get out and see lots of new things and explore lots of new places.

During my year's Art Fund membership (autumn 2013 to autumn 2014) I used my Art Pass to visit almost 20 galleries, museums and historic houses and over a dozen exhibitions. It was a very fun year!

The Charles Dickens Museum

I got free entry to: the Courtauld Gallery, the Household Cavalry Museum, the River & Rowing Museum, the Cartoon Museum, the Charles Dickens Museum, the Foundling Museum (twice), the Jewish Museum, the Fashion Museum & Assembly Rooms, No.1 Royal Crescent, Kensington Palace (twice)...

Gardens at Kensington Palace

... Leighton House Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, the aquarium at the Horniman Museum, the Handel House Museum, the Guards Museum, Apsley House, Time Machine at the Manchester Art Gallery, Shakespeare's Family Homes, two exhibitions at the Mall Galleries, and the Mary Rose Museum.

Apsley House

And discounted entry to: Elizabeth I & Her People at the National Portrait Gallery, Facing the Modern at the National Gallery, Artist Textiles at the Fashion & Textile Museum, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize at the National Portrait Gallery, The Cheapside Hoard at the Museum of London, Pearls at the V & A, Strange Beauty at the National Gallery, Richard Deacon at Tate Britain, the Estorick Collection, Making Colour at the National Gallery, Dorney Court and Matisse at the Tate Modern.

The National Portrait Gallery

(N.B. some of these discounts may no longer be running, you can check the Art Fund's website for all their current offers)

My first year's membership cost me £39.75 (you can see the current prices here) and saved me a massive £254.55 (£57.65 of discounts and £196.90 free entry), or £214.80 when you take away the cost of the membership. Not half bad!

The Fashion & Textile Museum

The Art Pass has helped me save money on places and exhibitions I'd been planning on visiting anyway, and made others affordable for my budget when I might otherwise have said "How Much???" and sadly given them a miss.

I've also visited so many small, quirky, delightful museums and other attractions that would have never even been on my radar. And travelling to all these different places have taken me to places I'd otherwise never have visited, like Stratford-Upon-Avon, Portsmouth, and new-to-me bits of London.


With plenty more places still to visit I have, of course, renewed my membership for another year :)


Gisela Suski said...

Always love your little trips I imagine you walking in beautiful weather most of the time.

Carolina Sanchez said...

That sounds awesome! Thinking about getting one of those passes =)

Ariadne said...

Your article is really a lesson on organization and planning! Although it does not apply to me and my country (we have other kinds of cards)it still applies to travelling in general and it is great to plan ahead and very motivating too.AriadnefromGreece!

BugsandFishes said...

Gisela - I have been quite lucky with the weather on my trips so far! Fingers crossed my luck holds :)

Carolina - they are fab!

Ariadne - yes, I have found this card so motivating, I love it :)


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