Make the most of the summer holidays we have left with some of the UK’s best eco-friendly family days out
Eden Project, Cornwall – Did you know that the huge biomes of the Eden Project house the largest ‘captive’ rainforest? This ever-popular attraction, which aims to run its operations as greenly as possible, is also a hot-house of conservation research. Enjoy the view from the treetops on the new Aerial Walkway, and spot butterflies fluttering amongst the plant life. This summer join some the special family activities including den building, ‘Be the Bee’ interactive trails, art workshops, musical evenings and England’s longest (and fastest) zipwire. Remember to book your tickets online before you visit to save 15% on the entry price. Visit www.edenproject.com.
National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool – Five miles from Liverpool city centre is this wildflower haven founded by environmental charity Landlife. This tranquil, family-friendly venue promotes the benefits of planting and maintaining wildflower habitats. There are various free family activities taking place over summer including ‘Mini Beasts and Crafts’ sessions and ‘Wear Your Wellies’ walks. Visit www.nwc.org for more.
The Wildlife Trusts’ nature reserves, UK-wide – Ancient woodland, coast and beaches, mountains,meadows or marshes, from Southwest England to northern Scotland, there are around 2,300 nature reserves across the UK managed by conservation charity The Wildlife Trusts. Not only do these reserves offer a ‘back to basics’ day out for families (exploring nature doesn’t need to be forced!), but the 47 (mainly) county-based Wildlife Trusts run children’s events throughout the holidays. Join butterfly and bug workshops, nature trails, bat walks or practical conservation sessions. Visit www.wildlifetrusts.org to find your local reserve or visitor centre.
The Llama Park, East Sussex – New owners Bobby and Susan are dedicated to ensuring their 50 llamas, 20 alpacas, and two reindeer live a stress-free, happy and peaceful life in the 32 acres of beautiful parkland near the Ashdown Forest. There’s no commercialism here, just a lovely chance to meet and learn about these gentle creatures. The park is run with minimal impact on the environment with recycling and low energy use in operation. The cafe serves local produce and some organic options. Visit www.llamapark.co.uk for summer opening times.
Stockley Farm Park, Cheshire – This organic farm is well-equipped for little visitors. The day starts with a tractor ride into the farm, followed by a stop-off at the animal sheds to see pigs, cows, goats and more. Get involved with bottle-feeding lambs and baby goats (kids – just not those kids), visit pets corner, watch bird of prey displays, and witness milking time. Take a woodland nature walk, then finish the day sampling the local and organic produce in Willow Barn Tearoom. Visit www.stockleyfarm.co.uk for more details. There are plenty of farms open to visitors around the country – visit the National Farm Attractions Network to find one near you.
BeWILDerwood, Norfolk – Down by the Norfolk Broads is an award-winning forest of adventure – treehouses, zipwires, jungle bridges, boat trips, storytelling…it’s all here along with some special characters, the real-life setting for children’s book ‘A Boggle at BeWILDerwood’. The adventure park recycles 70% of its waste, has planted 14,000 trees and sells locally-sourced food on site. Recommended for children aged 2-12 years and their family/carers. Visit www.bewilderwood.co.uk for more details.
Cycling in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire – Take the Family Cycle Trail through the Forest of Dean for fresh air, exercise and wonderful scenery. This 11-mile circular route mainly follows an old railway line with connecting routes to villages and picnic sites. It has been especially surfaced making it suitable for all ages and abilities. Start at the Cannop Cycle Centre – bikes can be hired from Pedalabikeaway. Visit www.forestry.gov.uk for more details.
That’s just a few to get you started! There are hundreds (if not thousands) of fantastic eco-friendly days-out for all the family across the UK. If you have a good recommendation, or review of one we’ve mentioned, let us know…