Reducing lengthy air travel is one of the best ways to shrink your carbon footprint. So, holidaying in the UK is a must. But how do we go about finding those often-elusive places to travel fairer and more sustainably?
Well, the UK has many great destinations and projects popping up where green ethics and conservation play a key role. Here are five of our favourites.
A park like no other. Holyrood Park is the dramatic backdrop to the Scottish capital Edinburgh. Running across the city’s skyline, the architecture and history spans thousands of years. The key attraction of the park is Arthurs Seat, an ancient volcano that sits 251m above sea level and provides panoramic views of the city. Next to it is one of four hill forts built around 2,000 years ago. The unique height of the settings also makes it a hotbed for flora and geology, marking it out as a Special Scientific Interest area. Such a beautiful and historic setting is bound to bring tourists in their droves, which is why it has been important to protect the area. With this in mind, the authorities in charge of the area have successfully created an award-winning conservation strategy that has led them to repeatedly be awarded a top Gold Standard grading from the Green Tourism association.
Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, the Chatsworth House estate is another Gold Standard award-winner. Found in Bakewell, Derbyshire, the extensive landscaped parklands, art collections, waterworks, cascades and playgrounds attract plenty of visitors. The team at Chatsworth House have a strong commitment to sustainability and preventing climate change as well as addressing threats to wildlife diversity and habitat. Besides addressing this by meeting the 145 criteria areas set out by the Green Tourism board, the Duke’s son, Lord Burlington, also founded a dedicated committee to promote sustainability, social equity and environmental protection across the estate.
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
Dubbed a ‘haven of peace and tranquility’ and a ‘garden for all seasons’, Fairhaven is tucked away in South Walsham near Norwich in the county of Norfolk. The well-maintained gardens are done so using only minimal machinery in order to reduce carbon footprint and avoid disruption to local wildlife like butterflies, otters and deer. The gardens are also home to a reported 95 species of migrant birds. Visitors can wander through the woods, spot wildlife and plants as well as enjoy a cup of tea and hot food at the Kingfisher Tearoom. Fairhaven has also won a Gold Standard award from the Green Tourism board.
Oxford’s Blenheim Palace offers 300 years of history and 2,000 acres of landscapes to discover. Visitors can roam the countryside, see exhibits including tapestry and antiques, and visit the homes of both the Dukes of Marlborough and Sir Winston Churchill. There are also calendared events including Christmas lights, live music and medieval jousting displays. Blenheim Palace is another winner of the Green Tourism’s Gold Standard award.
A rather different kind of tourist attraction can be found in Carnglaze, in Cornwall. Here lies a former slate mine where slate was quarried and mined underground. Visitors can learn about the history of the mine, how the slate was extracted and used and the skills and traditions of the workers. The mine also features a crystal-clear underground lake and is a constant temperature of 10c all year long. Carnglaze Caverns has been awarded the Green Tourism boards Gold Standard Award.
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