May 2022: This year, World Environment Day (5 June 2022) is calling for collective, transformative action to celebrate, protect and restore our planet and England offers plenty of responsible travel experiences for holidaymakers to put this into practice.
On our next adventures, we can look after the wellbeing of local places whilst also satisfying our own wanderlust and coming away with a new skill or perspective. From rewilding workshops and beekeeping taster sessions, to kayaking litter picks and e-biking adventures, here are just some of England’s regenerative and responsible holiday experiences which take nature, happiness and community into consideration.
Become a countryside ‘lumenator’ this summer, nationwide
Now – September 2022
Green Space Dark Skies is a series of mass countryside gatherings inviting up to 20,000 Britons from all paths in life to experience beautiful landscapes across the UK at dusk, from now until September 2022. Anyone is welcome to sign up to the events, which celebrate nature, our responsibility to protect it and everyone’s right to explore the countryside. Using low impact lights, participants – known as ‘lumenators’ – will create magical, memorable moments outdoors at National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). In England, Green Space Dark Skies events will take place in Dartmoor National Park (21 May), Exmoor National Park in Devon and Somerset (28 May), Dorset AONB (11 June), Broads National Park in Norfolk and Suffolk (15 June), the Chilterns AONB (15 July). Green Space Dark Skies is part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.
Step into the future of food at Kew Gardens, London
21 May – 18 September 2022
Celebrate all things food and how it affects our planet at Kew this summer with their variety of immersive installations, a new trail garden, talks, films, and after-hours events. Food Forever invites you to step into the future of food to discover how combating climate change and biodiversity loss can secure a sustainable future for food. As part of the summer schedule, there will be the Pip and Pop fantasy food scape art installation until the 5th March 2023 by the award-winning Aussie artist Tanya Schultz. The gigantic psychedelic and sugar dusted rainbow creations will create the fantasy food landscape to encourage us to think about our consumption while presenting an optimistic outlook on the future.
Discover England’s new puffin trail, East Yorkshire
A trail of 40 colourful giant puffin sculptures is set to celebrate East Yorkshire’s role as a ‘puffin paradise’, thanks to its dramatic cliffside breeding sites. The Flamborough Headland, and the towering Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve, are among the best places in the UK to see puffins from land – and already a major draw for visitors during the breeding season. Now visitors will be able to celebrate one of the world's favourite birds on a new public art trail, ‘Puffins Galore!’, due to launch July 2022. At the end of Puffins Galore, all the Puffin sculptures will be sold, either to their sponsors or at a grand charity auction. The proceeds from these sales will be donated to wildlife protection charities.
Keep the waterways and green spaces clear, London
Help clean the capital's waterways and green spaces by joining as a volunteer on various projects across the capital. To help create a cleaner, more pleasant environment for Londoners and the local wildlife, Thames21 organises community volunteers to clean and green the waterways and green spaces. Activities include litter picking on the canals, tree planting, dam building and waterway clean-ups in various spots around the city. Thames21 is the voice for London’s waterways, working with communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife. They mobilise thousands of volunteers every year to clean and green the capital’s 400-mile network of waterways.
Reconnect with nature through foraging, forest bathing and wild swimming, Yorkshire
The Broughton Sanctuary, set in the foothills of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, has a mission to protect and enhance the diversity of wildlife and natural habitats and to reconnect visitors with the natural environment. The site supports a diversity of important habitats – from meadow pastures to ancient woodland, heather moorland and freshwater habitats. These habitats are home to a range of species, including kestrels, hares and otters. The Broughton Sanctuary Nature Recovery Programme is a large-scale rewilding project aiming to breathe new life into the landscape benefitting wildlife and people. The Broughton Sanctuary offers an established health and wellbeing programme, which reconnects visitors with the incredible power of nature. Activities and experiences include natural medicines workshops, wild food foraging classes, forest bathing and wild swimming.
Be a beekeeper for the day, Devon
Tucked away in the North Devonshire countryside is Quince Honey Farm, where budding beekeepers and nature lovers can turn their hand to this all-important sustainable craft. On a one-day taster, get an insight into bees and beekeeping, before taking a look at the inner workings of the hive and tending to the bees themselves. There’s plenty of honey to taste, too, including being treated to a freshly prepared lunch to keep fuelled for your eco-friendly day on the farm. The team also hosts daily 30-minute beekeeping taster sessions.
Learn about rainforest ecosystems, Berkshire
Learn about why rainforests are vital for life on Earth at The Living Rainforest. Set inside three glasshouses, experience the sights, sounds and smells of a lush tropical rainforest environment, complete with feathery, furry and scaly critters from across the world (think two-toed sloths, snakes and armadillos). Keeper experiences are also available and include feeding animals like blue frogs, making enrichment treats for toucans and handling creepy crawlies like cockroaches. As well as educating visitors, The Living Rainforest’s sustainability credentials are evident, from the recycled bricks to the solar cells covering the glass roof canopy.
E-bike through vineyards and quaint towns, Sussex
With 139 vineyards across the county, Sussex is the most densely populated wine region in Britain which means it’s a great place to cycle between vineyards rather than drive. The Great Sussex Wine Cycle Route, designed by Visit Sussex, winds its way through flint-adorned towns nestled in the South Downs National Park, stopping at some of England’s best wine producers, from Tinwood Estate to Uppertons. Tackle the self-cycle route using your own bike or hire some from a local operator like Southern eBike Rentals, whose very own Olly Evans helped create the tour. As well as the carbon-neutral transport, this activity is made even more eco-friendly by the fact that seven of Sussex’s vineyards have WineGB’s Sustainable Wines of Great Britain accreditation (awarded to wineries who minimise pesticides, improve site design and promote biodiversity), while the rest of Britain has just 16. One of the vineyards on the route, Aisling Park, also serves dishes whose ingredients are sourced from a 15-mile radius.
Hone bushcraft and wilderness skills, Lake District
Outdoor adventure company Wild Human offers immersive nature learning at three sites in the Lake District. The small team of bushcraft educators and specialist wilderness guides take guests on a journey of discovery, equipping them with new skills and wilderness knowledge. Wild Human offers themed bushcraft weekend and week-long courses with activities including foraging, axe making and animal trailing. Wild Human has ensured that it is a carbon neutral company since its creation, only using renewable electricity and planting native trees at the site.
Stay at the Sustainability Centre’s South Downs Eco Lodge, Hampshire
The Sustainability Centre has created new accommodation for those seeking a break in the South Downs, as well as offering a multitude of courses such as ‘Nature-led Meditation’ and ‘Foraging Fire and Folklore’. The eco-transformation of a former MoD building into the South Downs Eco Lodge has 12 new ensuite rooms and a vegan/vegetarian café serving delicious local, organic delights. With an impressive package of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures incorporated in the retrofit that extends to ventilation with heat recovery, triple glazing, 200mm thick natural wood-fibre external wall insulation behind locally sourced cedar cladding - all the building materials and finishes have been painstakingly selected to have as low an environmental impact as possible throughout their life. This new accommodation is perfect for those walking or cycling the South Downs Way as The Sustainability Centre is directly on the route of this national trail.
Get ‘hands on’ at West Bay Discovery Centre, Dorset
West Bay Discovery Centre offers a treasure trove of ecology activities, from learning about the Jurassic Coast, and its wildlife, to the forces of nature, including “hands-on” activities which are particularly popular with families. The Discovery Centre also provides a tourist information point with the latest information about what’s on in West Bay and West Dorset, together with guidance on local trails and attractions.
World Environment Day 2022 will be held under the theme Only One Earth, highlighting the need to live sustainably in harmony with nature by bringing transformative changes – through policies and our choices – towards cleaner, greener lifestyles. To find out more visit: www.worldenvironmentday.global
For more ideas read VisitEngland’s Top eco-friendly places for a green getaway in 2022
For more detail and to receive our comprehensive overview of England’s sustainable and responsible tourism experiences please contact the VisitEngland PR team:
Louise Ferrall / Josie Self
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