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Holiday At Home

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Carbon Emissions Avoiding Flying Waste

There is no better way of reducing your holiday flying time and cutting down on emissions than by simply not using air travel at all and as an increasing number of people are discovering holidaying at home has other rewards too. British holidays have changed out of all recognition from the image enshrined on countless generations of seaside postcards of time spent under grey skies, sitting by an even greyer sea and sheltering from the rain. While the weather remains as unpredictable as ever, pick coast or countryside and with today’s choices you should find a holiday to suit.

Coast and Country

The seaside has a special place in the British psyche, but nowadays it is not all about deckchairs, ice cream and buckets and spades – unless of course you want it to be! Holidays by the sea have moved on enormously in recent years and many of the options available are more than slightly eco-themed. There are formal holiday courses available allowing you to study a range of topics, from geology along the coast of Aberdeen, fossils in Dorset – following in the footsteps of Mary Anning, one of the first professional collectors in the world – to marine life in Cardigan Bay. Alternatively, if “back-to-school” does not appeal, in the wake of the declining fortunes of their traditional industry, many old fishing villages have diversified, boats now being used for wildlife trips to watch whales, dolphins, seals and sea-birds. Back on the shore, rock-pools hold as much fascination as they ever did – but today they have been joined by Sea-Life Centres and independent marine aquaria as a way to get a glimpse into the under-sea world.

The countryside too has its share of eco-themed holidays. The inquiringly-minded can opt to learn something useful to take back home – staying in the new luxury hostel at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) just outside Machynlleth, or learning about renewables on a course from Green Dragon Technologies. Farm holidays are enjoying something of a renaissance as, like fisher-folk, farmers have diversified into tourism, often now offering a wide range of activities and experiences to try during your stay. Nature and wildlife holidays are another current growth area, from plant spotting on the limestone outcrops of Upper Teesdale – hunting rare plants, left over from the last Ice Age – to watching Red Kites in mid-Wales and everything in between. Elsewhere, boating, hiking, cycling and horse-riding holidays offer the chance to get out into nature while seeing something of the countryside as you travel. Pick a fortnight at Centre Parcs – a “flagship for its environmental practice” according to David Sheppard of English Nature – and you can even guarantee staying out of the rain – well, so long as you stay in their dome, that is! It seems the British holiday remains as popular as ever – though now for rather different reasons.

Fringe Benefits

Avoiding flying altogether is certainly the most obvious environmental benefit of holidaying at home, but it is not the only one. Many of the country’s major tourist destinations, for instance, are well served by public transport, making the use of rail or bus a viable option, though the likelihood of arriving in some of the more remote places this way is, sadly, small. It does, however, at least mean it is worth looking to see if it can be done and a growing number of eco-holiday centres offer pick ups from the nearest railway station or bus stop to make life easier – and greener – for their guests. Another advantage of staying in Britain is that when it comes to dealing with your waste, you should be on familiar ground and finding out how the local recycling initiatives work – where to go and what they take – should present no big problem.

Whatever your ideal break is – be it active, relaxed, innovative or traditional – there will be something to fit the bill without ever having to leave these shores. Staying in Britain can offer a low impact get-away, without costing the earth and as a holiday destination there are few countries more beautiful – at least when the sun shines!

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