For many years our local dog walking group has avoided going to English Heritage properties because of the cost of parking. After all, if you can't use the facilities or go in to the main attraction then what's the point of paying?
Don't get me wrong, of course no-one expects to take their muddy mutt into an immaculate stately home. And it's only fair to point out that dogs are allowed in to many of the outdoor ruins. But the thing is, when you've got some very fine woodland on your doorstep and go there regularly, then the cost of parking definitely adds up. And yes it's also true that the car parks are safer for getting dogs in and out of your car, and yes it's true that English Heritage has to spend money on repairing pot-holes and resurfacing the access lanes. But the cost still adds up.
And then the penny dropped. To park the car you only need one membership. You don't need to buy individual memberships for the whole family to use the car park. So instead of spending £105 a year on a joint membership for you and a partner, it could be just £5 a month for an individual. If you'd like to walk your dog in English Heritage grounds with a P&D car park regularly then you'll quickly get your money back.
And while I was checking the prices for this article, I spotted that EH has a special page on their website for dog-friendly holiday cottages. Now that's a well-kept secret!