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Hadrian's Wall

The Once and Future Fund

You can help protect the future of the nation’s heritage.

Over 300 of the sites in our care are free for all to enjoy. The Once and Future Fund will help ensure England’s free heritage can continue to inspire all who visit.

But time is running out. Until 31 July 2021, your donation will be matched by the National Lottery, meaning your gift will double in value.

A Unique Heritage

You can walk along windswept stretches of Hadrian’s Wall, marvel at the spectacular span of the ground-breaking Iron Bridge or see priceless Old Masters at Kenwood, all without buying a ticket. Keeping these places open for everyone to enjoy is a vital part of our work as a charity.

But free to enter doesn’t mean free to maintain. Without careful conservation and thoughtful interpretation, the stories of these places will be lost to future generations, and costs are rising.

How You Can Help

Places that excite the mind and stir the soul. Places that allow us to appreciate the beauty and sense of belonging that a connection with the past can bring.

The Once and Future Fund is an endowment that will ensure free to enter sites stand the test of time. These historic places may have stood for hundreds, even thousands of years, but without on-going care, we will lose them to time and the elements.

Until 31 July 2021, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has pledged to match donations from the public, meaning that your gift will be doubled in value. Your donation will play a role in securing the future of the places across England where history was made.



The Iron Bridge in Shropshire is the world’s first cast iron bridge and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Built in 1779, the bridge is now a World Heritage Site and is totally free to access.
In 2017-2018 English Heritage embarked on a £3.6m restoration project which transformed the site, including repainting the bridge its original red-brown colour. Thanks to the support of crowdfunding donors and the Hermann Reemtsma Foundation, the future of this pioneering landmark has been safeguarded.
The reopening of the bridge has seen an increase in visitor numbers, community engagement and volunteer involvement.


Located in the peaceful Oxfordshire countryside, North Leigh Roman Villa was one of the largest villas in Roman Britain.
North Leigh Roman Villa is free to enter, and frequently welcomes pupils studying the Romans from the 30 schools in the local area. During 2020 the volunteer team supported visitors during the pandemic by holding very successful Covid-safe open days.
By supporting the Once and Future Fund, you can help free to enter sites like North Leigh Roman Villa inspire everyone who visits.


Bayham Old Abbey on the Kent and Sussex border is a beautiful ruined abbey dating from the 13th century and built from golden local sandstone. The Abbey is now set in grounds designed by famous landscape gardener Humphry Repton, who also planned the grounds of Kenwood House in London.
Bayham Old Abbey has an important place within the local community, with volunteers conducting free guided tours and plans to open a second-hand bookshop. Donations to the Once and Future Fund will help preserve sites like Bayham for future generations to enjoy.


The Guardians scheme recognises donors who support English Heritage with gifts of £2,500 or more.  

Our circle of Guardians not only champion heritage, but have the chance to engage more deeply with our work, our places and our people. This includes opportunities to meet the conservators, historians, scientists, and educators who are at the front line of caring for our heritage.


Find Out More


The income from the Once and Future Fund will be used each year at the sites which need the most urgent care. Because we’ll be able to focus our efforts on each site, we hope it will be many decades before further major interventions are needed.

We will undertake conservation and interpretation projects at the sites that need it most. We will also explore how we can attract new audiences to our free to enter sites, and to strengthen partnerships between the heritage sites and their local volunteer, school and community groups.

This is your chance to play your part in securing the future of places across England where history was made.


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