national art pass

National Art Pass by Art Fund – The Greatest Pass for Art Lovers

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An art lover in London will be in seventh heaven. There is always a continuous rotating list of amazing exhibitions to be seen. For visitors, there is a wide array of free art galleries on offer. In one weekend, you can check out the Tate Modern, The National Gallery and the Wallace Collection, to name a few.

And, once you’re done touring the world of art, the rest of London awaits. As part of your trip, you will be able to check out the usual big attractions such as the London Eye or the Shard or Buckingham Palace. The world is your oyster. In this article, we will take you through our National Art Pass review for London.

But if you’re interested in a more traditional city pass, you can check out our other guides here.

What is the National Pass from Art Fund Organization ?

The National Art Pass is so much more than access to free art museums. This pass will get you in to art museums, yes. But you’ll also get entry to historic houses and other cultural sights of interest in London to.

The pass, sponsored by the National Art Fund, offers free or discounted entry to a wide range of attractions in and around London. The range of attractions included in the pass includes some off-the-beaten track sights. And even though many of the art galleries and other museums are free in London, many of the pay-for exhibitions are free with the pass.

In addition, subscribers to the annual National Art Pass will get a quarterly art magazine, monthly email updates on events and exhibitions, and 25% off next year’s pass.

national art pass london @londonpass.info
national_art_pass

How does the Art Pass work ?

The pass is basically a donation to the Art Fund. This fund is a charity that supports museums and galleries across the UK. Whilst the pass is actually an annual subscription, visitors to London can make use of it on a short trip to the capital. That is because the price of the annual membership is pretty reasonable. In sum, there are over 240 art related attractions included in the pass, and a vast number of these are located within the London area.

national art pass Imperial War Museum
Imperial_War_Museum

National Art Pass price and validity

The annual pass options are available below

  • 1. Annual Individual Pass – £73
  • 2. Annual Couples Pass – £110
  • 3. Annual Family Pass – £115

Whilst there is no national art pass for seniors, nor a national art pass for students, there are some concessions available. There is an under 30 pass available for just £45 for example.

Think carefully though before exploring these options. Many of London’s art attractions already include discounted entry for students and seniors, so the pass may not be worth it for these groups.

national art pass St Paul Cathedral London
St_Paul_Cathedral

What’s included in the National Art Pass ?

There is no National Art Pass London per se. The Art Pass covers 240 attractions across the United Kingdom. Luckily for the visitor to London though, there are loads of National Art Pass London attractions within the city limits. Many of these are not attractions that you would consider at “art”, so the range is pretty diverse and should appeal to most history and cultural buffs too!

Some of the more famous attractions available on the Pass include:

  • 50% off entry to HMS Belfast
  • 50% off exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum
  • 50% off exhibitions at the Natural History Museum
  • Free entry to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Crypt

But there is also a lot more, including free entry to multiple smaller value attractionsWe have listed some of the bigger hitters below:

Free entries to:

  • the Guards Museum (usually £5)
  • the Jewish Museum (usually £7.50)
  • Rangers House (usually £7.60)
  • the Cartoon Museum (usually £7)
  • the Fan Museum (usually £4)
  • Red House (usually £7.20)
  • Osterley Park (usually £9.25)
  • the Brunel Museum (usually £3)
national art pass HMS
HMS_Fatoota@Pixabay

National Artfund Pass Benefits

The best National Art Pass benefits come from the free exhibitions. If you are a real exhibition buff on a trip to London then you could make real use of the pass.

A spot check of some of the exhibitions on offer includes interactive kid’s days at the science museum starting at £8. There is a Wildlife Photography exhibition on at the Natural History Museum, also £8. With the National Art Pass, you get 50% off all exhibitions at the Museums listed in the pass.

You will also, for the whole year, get a quarterly art bulletin and regular updates via email to keep you in the loop.

If you are a regular traveller to London, the pass will also enable you to continue to use it on multiple trips.

Finally, if you are under 30 you could avail from the under 30 pass, which at just £45 would give you opportunity for bigger savings.

national art pass Brunel museum mural
Brunel_museum_mural

National Artfund Pass Cons

The generally low entry prices (or free entry!) to many of London’s museums and exhibitions mean you would need to work the pass REALLY hard to get any real benefit.

For example, it would not be worth it for a weekend getaway to London. You would not have time to hit off enough attractions to cover the price of the pass. However, you could make the pass worthwhile if you were visiting for a week with the whole family.

If you are just a casual art fan, we think we can probably get your fix by visiting London’s free art museums and art galleries instead.

In addition, there is no national art pass for seniors, or a national art pass for students.

Jewish_Museum London
Jewish_Museum_London

For whom is the National Art Pass intended ?

This pass is generally intended for those living in the UK who like to spend their free time checking out the arts attractions close to home.

However, it can be used for the hard-core art fan visiting London. Better still, if you are travelling with the whole family, you will be able to save on entry to many exhibitions

It is not intended for a weekend getaway. As we were writing our national art pass review it has become clear that the price of the pass is low, but the attractions entry cost is also decent anyway. So, those visiting with just a passing interest in art can serve themselves pretty well without buying the pass.

national art pass Natural History Museum
Natural_History_Museum

What you save with the National Pass by Art Fund ?

If we look at the examples we gave above, the art pass saves you some money on reasonably priced attractions in and around London:

Free entries to: 

  • the Guards Museum (usually £5)
  • the Jewish Museum (usually £7.50)
  • the Cartoon Museum (usually £7)
  • Rangers House (usually £7.60)
  • the Fan Museum (usually £4)
  • the Brunel Museum (usually £3)
  • Red House (usually £7.20)
  • Osterley Park (usually £9.25

If you visited these attractions, you would be getting £55.55 worth of attractions included free of charge. With an adult pass costing £73 however, you would need to work the pass a bit harder to even break even.

If you added on 2 exhibitions, costing £10 and took advantage of the 50% off offer, you would save another £10.

Then, visit HMS Belfast and St Pauls Cathedral + the Crypt. It is here that you will make the most savings. St Paul’s Cathedral costs £17 if you book online, or £20 at the door. However, the National Art Pass covers the full price.

Afterwards, head over to the HMS Belfast. Entry here usually costs £16.20, but with the Art Pass, the price is only £8.10.

Therefore, if you take all of the above listed free entry attractions and a few exhibitions you can make the pass work. The total value of the above is £85.65, so you have a saving of just over £12.

Cartoon Museum
Cartoon_Museum

What sets it apart from its competitors ?

Unlike a standard city pass, the National Art Pass is an annual deal. So you can return again and again to the attractions on the list. In addition, it gives you a lot of freedom to select exhibitions that you want to see.

Besides, if you are really into art you really are supporting a good cause as part of your contribution goes to funding free museums in the UK

National Gallery london
National_Gallery

National Art Pass Review

Pass London Explorer Pass London Pass English Heritage Overseas Pass London City Pass by Ticketbar iVenture Travel Pass Merlin Pass London London Turbopass National Art Pass
Validity 30 days from activation 1 – 10 consecutive days 9 or 16 consecutive days Unlimited 30 days 90 days 1 – 7 consecutive days 1 year
Types 3,5 or 7 day pass 1,2,3,6 or 10 days 9 or 16 days

HoHo 24h

HoHo 48h

3,5,7 or 10 specific attractions 5 attractions or less 1 – 7 days pass Adult, Child and Family
Prices Cheapest 3 attraction pass starts at £64 (adult) Cheapest 1 day starts at £79 (adult) Cheapest 9 day adult pass starts at £37 Adult pass starts at £66.40 Adult pass starts at £69 Adult pass starts at £70 1 day pass from £76.90 Adult Pass £73
Travel card No Can add on Oyster No No Yes, as one of the selectable attractions No Can add on Oyster No
Airport Transfers No No No Yes No No No No
Attractions 20 80 100 100+ 30 5 50 240 UK wide
Extras App, Map App, Map, Restaurant discounts Guidebook, Discounted events 20% off wide range of attractions Guidebook, meals App, Map Discounts for tours and shopping Monthly art bulletin Quarterly arts fund magazine
Book your pass London Explorer Pass London Pass English Heritage Pass London City Pass iVenture Card Merlin Pass London Turbopass National Art Pass

Is the National Art Pass worth it – My opinion

If you were exploring the National Art Pass as an option for a quick visit to London we would say no. It would be really hard to fit in the number of attractions needed to make the pass work for you. However, if you fancy making a charitable donation and probably would visit a few of the big hitters, you might want to try it. .

Also, if you are a frequent traveller to London, or plan to explore the rest of the UK afterward, you could see a benefit. For the casual visitor to London there are better pass options available, such as the London Pass here.

national art pass Osterley Park House
Osterley_Park_House

london pass tipTips to get the most of your Art Pass

  • Plan carefully – you need to check which exhibitions are on, which places are closed for renovations or seasonal closures.
  • Select carefully if you are a senior citizen or student. Because there is no National Art Pass for Seniors or for Students. The majority of the venues on offer on the pass already offer discounts for these groups, so buying the full adult pass would not be worth it (unless you are under 30 and get the under 30 offer).
  • Book in good time. You cannot get the pass in person and it must be purchased online. The card will then be posted to you. So, make sure you order in advance of your trip.
The Fan Museum
The_Fan_Museum

Where to buy the National Art Pass ?

You can buy the National Art Pass online here. We note that if you subscribe to the direct debit scheme online you get 25% off the pass in subsequent years. It will not help the casual tourist, but might be worth considering if you plan to return often. The pass will then be mailed to you.

national artfund pass
@artfund.org

FAQs – National Art Pass

londonpass.info faq

How much is a National Art Pass?

Annual Individual Pass - £73 Annual Couples Pass - £110 Annual Family Pass - £115

What is a National Art Pass?

The National Art Fund is an organization that supports Museums Galleries and historic site in London. They created the Art Fund Pass to promote art and culture in UK with a pass that includes free or discount entries to Museums and cultural places.

Is a National Art Pass worth it?

If you’re into art and you travel regularly to London or plan to visit the UK, yes. It's really interesting for those who live in UK.

Where can I use my National Art Pass?

You can use your pass over 240 art related attractions in the whole UK and numerous in London as well.

Conclusion

If you have read the review and weighed up the pros and cons, you may have decided the pass is for you. If that is the case then please let us know if you were able to make real savings during your trip!

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