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Friends Memberships FAQ

On this page, you’ll find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Friends Memberships.

We’ve grouped questions under the following headings. Click on a link to jump to the relevant section:

Membership benefits

→ Tax-related questions

→ Becoming a Friend

→ Changing your membership level

→ Gift Membership & donating

Direct Debit

→ Contact us


Q. Do I need to book a time-slot to view an exhibition.

A. Friends do not need to book for exhibitions. Simply show your membership card at the admission desk for free entry.

Q. I have a membership which allows me to bring a family guest. Can I lend my membership card to my family guest to use on their own?

A. No, the member must accompany their family guest.

Q. I am visiting an exhibition with non-members; why can’t I book a time-slot?

A. Friends do not need to book for an exhibition. Come along with your friends at the time-slot they have booked and show your membership card at the admissions desk.

Q. What does the term “family guest” mean?

A. HMRC rules refer to family members, not a guest of the family. We can only claim Gift Aid on the whole of a membership subscription if the right of admission is restricted to the individual Friend and members of that individual’s family.

Q. How do I book tickets for Gallery and Friends’ events?

A. You can book for events in person at the Gallery or book online here


Q. What amount should I enter under charitable donations on my Self-Assessment tax return?

A. Enter the full amount of your subscription for the relevant tax year.

Q. I have recently retired and no longer pay income tax or capital gains tax. You have been claiming Gift Aid on my subscriptions; what should I do?

A. Please contact us immediately, so that we stop claiming Gift Aid on your subscriptions.

Q. I have a membership in my sole name and I am not a tax-payer but my partner does pay tax. Can they sign the Gift Aid form?

A. No, the Gift Aid declaration can only be given by yourself.



 Q. Can I join online?

A. At present, you can download an application form here, and either return it to us by post or upon your next visit.

Q. If I join the Friends by coming to the Gallery, will I be able to gain entry to the Permanent Collection and the current exhibition immediately?

A. Yes. What's more, if you buy a Friend Plus or Friends Extra membership, you will be able to take in a family guest immediately.

Q. If I decide to join the Friends after I’ve paid to see the exhibition, can I get my money back? 

A. If you join on the day of your visit, you can claim a refund of the ticket price. If you paid by card, this will be credited to your card account. Just speak to the admissions desk.



 Q. Can I upgrade to a different level of membership?

A. Yes, you can upgrade at any point during your subscription year on payment of the difference in price – just let us know.

Q. Can I downgrade to a different level of membership?

A. You can downgrade on renewal but, as we do not offer refunds, there is little point in downgrading at other times. If you pay by Direct Debit, please let us know well in advance that you wish to downgrade so that we can adjust the amount. If you pay by any other method, please just mark your renewal slip accordingly and pay the lower price.

Q. I renewed my membership recently but now I’m moving out of the area. Can I transfer my membership to someone else?

A. Sorry, memberships are not transferable.



Q. Can I buy a membership for someone else?

A. Yes. A gift of membership makes for a perfect present. You can download an application form here.

Q. I have a membership in my sole name. Is it possible for my partner to pay the subscription by Direct Debit from their own bank account?

A. Yes, but this effectively makes the membership a gift membership and we will process it as such. This is the effect of both the Direct Debit rules and rules about Gift Aid, which cannot be claimed on gift memberships.

Q. Why is there no Gift Aid declaration on your gift membership application form?

A. Gift Aid cannot be claimed on gift memberships.

Q. Can I add a donation to my Friends’ subscription?

A. We are delighted to receive additional donations, either as a regular part of your annual subscription, e.g. by Direct Debit or as a one-off amount added to a cheque or card payment. If you wish to add to your Direct Debit amount, please just get in touch.



If you have any queries about Direct Debit, please click here.



Q. Who do I contact if I have a query about my Friends membership?

A. If you can’t find the answer to your question on this page, please contact Friends Membership Office

Call 020 8299 8751 - if you can’t get hold of us, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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