Whether it’s learning about endangered animals or helping to conserve Britain’s forests, Andrew Doherty highlights family breaks with a responsible element
With children taking an increasing interest in the environment and sustainability, a UK break that takes families back to nature and encourages them to think responsibly is likely to appeal.
Here we round up five holidays incorporating nature-focused elements, from exploring the Dinosaur Coast with a forest ranger to learning about the effects of plastic waste on Britain’s oceans and beaches.
Available at most of the company’s holiday resorts, Haven’s Nature Rockz sessions have been specially designed to inspire children to fall in love with nature and teach them to respect the planet.
Hosted by Haven’s team of rangers, activities include treasure hunts, bird-watching and investigating the effect of plastic waste on the environment.
Erman Housein, head of travel trade and marketing at Bourne Leisure, says: “Haven’s Nature Rockz programme gives families the opportunity to explore the great outdoors in a way that they perhaps wouldn’t at home. They learn something about the UK’s flora and fauna in an engaging way, thanks to our expert rangers.”
Among the newest experiences is the Dinosaur Coast Discovery at Devon Cliffs. During this 60-minute free session, children and parents will join a ranger for a beach walk along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site, where they will learn about the prehistoric reptiles that once roamed the earth and how they became extinct, before creating their own dinosaur sand sculptures.
Book it: Haven has a four-night break at Devon Cliffs Park from £284 for a family of four sharing a standard two-bedroom caravan, based on 24 June arrivals.
Animal lovers will enjoy Airways Holidays’ glamping holiday at Durrell Wildlife Camp in Jersey. Founded in 1959 by author and conservationist Gerald Durrell, clients will have the chance to get up close and personal with the world’s most exotic and rare animals including lemurs, gorillas and bears during Jersey Zoo’s Meet the Animal hour-long experience.
Situated on landscaped woodland overlooking the zoo’s Orangutan Island, Durrell Wildlife Camp offers self-catering luxury pods that sleep a family of four. Nearby facilities include Cafe Firefly, with a menu designed by top chef Adrian Doolan, and dishes prepared using organic vegetables grown on-site, while the Dodo Restaurant serves up a daily buffet, sandwiches and snacks.
Clients also have the option of booking Dusk Tours, where they will join a member of staff for a behind-the-scenes look at how the facility is managed. Running from 6pm-7pm on Wednesdays and Sundays, the tour must be booked at least one day in advance. Prices start from £15 per adult and £5 for children aged four to 16.
Book it: Airways Holidays has four nights at the Durrell Wildlife Camp from £423pp for stays from 16 September, with the opportunity to add a Meet the Animal experience, which costs £100.
For clients seeking to reconnect with nature, Hoseasons’ Wanderwood breaks feature16 traditional lodges set in wildlife-filled woodland areas across the UK.
With various nature trails, acres of open space and guidebooks detailing outdoor activities in and around the Wanderwood sites – including bird-watching, bug hunting and stargazing – clients will be able to learn about nature in a relaxing environment, says Hoseasons sales director Sally Henry.
“We’re definitely noticing an increased demand for back-to-nature breaks where customers leave their stresses and strains behind for a few days, put their phones down and rediscover the delights of the Great British countryside.
“Bookings for 2019 departures through our Wanderwood collection of woodland-based lodge breaks are up 8.5% on last year, with customers spending an average of 5% more on this type of holiday. Trade sales of Wanderwood are also up, with a 5% bookings increase for departures between January to May.”
Wanderwood highlights include Exmoor Gate Lodges in Somerset on the edge of Exmoor national park. Here, clients have the perfect base from which to explore nearby Longleat Safari Park – which often runs educational shows about its animals – and the surrounding 12 acres of woodland.
Book it: Hoseasons offers a seven-night family break from £570 based on five people sharing an Exmoor Gate Lodge.
Taking clients off the beaten track with small group tours of up to 16 people is the name of the game for Rabbie’s. The company also strives to support local community and environmental projects by self-taxing £10 for every tonne of CO2 generated.
“The three-day Lake District Explorer tour is the perfect way to spend a long weekend taking in the fresh air, beautiful views and quintessential architecture of the Lake District,” says Heather Reekie, director of marketing and sales.
“On this trip, passengers board the train from Manchester to Penrith where they meet their Rabbie’s guide and enter Lake District national park. They will also learn about the poetry of Wordsworth, admire the serene views over Lake Windermere and Derwent Water, and wander through market towns collecting stories and photos as they go.”
Suitable for families with older children and teenagers, additional stops include Aira Force waterfall, the Neolithic-era Castlerigg Stone Circle and Honister Pass – the location of a famous slate mine.
Book it: Rabbie’s offers the Lake District explorer tour from £215pp, with entrance to visitor attractions, train journeys and accommodation included.
The Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club offers an idyllic base after a day of exploring itssurrounding forests, gardens and lakes. Whether it’s spending an afternoon on the property’s 18-hole golf course or hitting the jogging trails of Bluebell Wood, families have plenty of opportunities to take in the Sussex countryside.
The hotel is home to 186 acres of woodland where deer roam freely, and is surrounded by a walking trail where carp swim in the lakes.
Nearby attractions include The British Wildlife Centre, home to badgers, barn owls and muntjac.
Clients who visit the hotel on the first Friday of the month can also explore the market at local village Forest Row, which sells everything from locally made artisanal goods to food grown in nearby farms.
Ten minutes away by car is the National Trust’s Sheffield Park, known for its pretty landscaped gardens. The park also has a natural Woodland Play Trail and offers den building, making it appealing to little ones.
Book it: Super Break offers one night’s stay in the Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club from £256 per family of four including bed and breakfast.
What are the best UK family nature breaks? Got any suggestions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.