Heritage organisations

Historic Houses Association (HHA)

The HHA, which celebrates its 40th birthday in 2013, represents 1500 independently-owned historic houses, castles and gardens throughout the UK.  A third are open to visitors, attracting some 14 million visits each year, and many are also active businesses, hosting weddings, corporate or private events, staging festivals, concerts or conferences;  many others welcome special interest groups,  tours and other by-appointment visits.  One in five of all members welcome educational visits - there are more than 300,000 such visits annually.

Areas of interest

The HHA:

  • works for the future of these 1500 houses, the heritage they conserve and the businesses, families and employees they support, by lobbying on their behalf at national, regional and local level. Whenever possible, we work in partnership with other heritage organisations; 
  • provides technical and specialist advice, support, site visits, seminars, networks and information to property owners on a wide range of issues including planning, health and safety, security, tax, health and safety, marketing, accessibility and education (the HHA runs a Learning Advisory Service for members);
  • offers a Friends' Membership for people wishing to support the HHA's aims and enjoy free visits to HHA houses,  and runs special events and tours for Friends.  Currently, we have 35,000 Friends;
  • promotes visiting,  activities and events at member houses and the opportunities they provide for access, learning, fun and discovery;
  • manages a Corporate Membership scheme for associated businesses to meet and work with owners and the association;
  • provides policy makers, the media and others with information about the role, contribution  and public value of privately-owned heritage



HHA/Christie's Garden of the Year Award

The  Garden of the Year Award, sponsored by Christie's, has been presented annually since 1984. The award goes to the HHA Member garden which has been voted as a favourite by the Friends throughout the year. The award reflects the enormous enjoyment which people experience from visiting gardens each year and the personal involvement of the owners in the development and upkeep of the gardens.

HHA/Sotheby's Restoration Award

This award was launched in 2008, with sponsorship from Sotheby's, to recognise and celebrate the restoration work that is continually being undertaken by members of the HHA throughout the United Kingdom.   Restoration projects, which must cover the dominant features of a room, building or folly, are judged according to the way in which they respect and are in sympathy with the historic quality of the building. Projects must be open to the public.

Heritage Education Trust

The HHA  has been a supporter of the  Heritage Education Trust since its inception. http://www.heritageeducationtrust.org.uk.    The Trust manages the prestigious Sandford Awards for excellence in heritage education provision and  seeks to encourage innovation, transferability and sustainability alongside fun and enjoyment in learning programmes.


The HHA supports the work of the Heritage Conservation Trust, to aid restoration of art in historic houses and to support learning, access and research projects.  http://www.heritageconservationtrust.org.uk