Forget packed amusement parks and overhyped tourist attractions. These destinations make for an altogether more inspirational – and sustainable – family day out.
The UK is positively bursting with attractions and activities for a great day out. That’s just one of the reasons why holidaying at home is becoming so popular – it’s all the fun without the carbon footprint (or price tag!).
It’s not all fairgrounds and theme parks, though. Those looking for day trips with a conscience are also spoilt for choice. Here’s our pick of some of the UK’s top green days out. Most can be reached by public transport – visit Traveline to plan your journey.
1. The Eden Project, Cornwall
An obvious choice, perhaps, but with good reason. Cornwall’s huge botanical garden and iconic biomes is home to the largest indoor rainforest in the world, plus wild and rare plants, outdoor gardens, , sculptures, play areas and lots of good, healthy food made with locally-sourced ingredients. Plus, it boasts an action-packed calendar of special events and fun, educational workshops for kids and adults alike.
Tickets: Adults £28.50, children £15
More information: www.edenproject.com
Nearest train station: St Austell
2. Centre for Alternative Technology, Mid-Wales
Tucked away in the heart of Wales lies a family attraction with sustainability at its heart. The centre offers practical solutions and hands-on learning in pursuit of a zero carbon Britain, and it does so through seemingly endless displays, gadgets, workshops and activities. Learn all about renewable energy, have a go at strawbale building, take a trip on the water-powered funicular railway or simply weave your way through the centre’s sustainably-managed woodlands – there’s something for everyone.
Tickets: Adults £8.50, children £4
More information: www.cat.org.uk
Nearest train station: Machynlleth
3. BeWILDerwood, Norfolk
Okay, so there is a theme park on this list, but it’s a theme park with a difference – it’s the UK’s first environmentally-friendly theme park. This Norfolk attraction is based on the magical children’s books by local author Tom Blofeld, and is spread over 50 acres of marshland and woodland. The park boasts more tree houses, zip wires, jungle bridges, boat trips, mazes and dens than kids both young and old could ever want. Everything is forested without pesticides, all the wood used is sustainable, and 70% of all waste created is recycled.
Tickets (based on height due to the nature of activities): Up to 92cm isfree, 92-105cm £14.95, over 105cm £16.95
More information: www.bewilderwood.co.uk
Nearest train station: Hoveton & Wroxham
4. The Living Rainforest, Berkshire
You don’t have to jet off to Central America to enjoy a rainforest experience when you can get close to the real thing in Berkshire. Run by the Charitable Trust for Sustainable Living, the Living Rainforest is home to more than 650 lush tropical plants and colourful animals, including monkeys, pythons, toucans, snakes and sloths. The centre runs guided tours every day, and special feeding sessions let you get up close to the animals as you learn more about them and their global conservation value.
Tickets (give free entry for a year): Adults £11.85, children £9.55
More information: www.livingrainforest.org
Nearest train station: Newbury
5. Poole’s Cavern, Peak District
Poole’s Cavern is arguably the most spectacular natural cavern in the Peak District.! Discover the home of ancient cave dwellers, marvel at amazing crystal formations and see how stalactites have lined the chambers over millions of years. And once you’re done underground, enjoy a picnic lunch in the adjacent luscious Buxton Country Park.
Tickets: Adults £10.50, children £5.50
More information: www.poolescavern.co.uk
Nearest train station: Buxton
6. Findhorn, north-west Scotland
More of a small community than a standalone attraction, Findhorn is a thriving hub of spirituality, sustainability and green-living. Within this exceptional eco-village you’ll find organic gardens, workshops on everything from pottery to eco-gardening, live music, family-friendly activities and much more. Take a two-hour guided tour or simply stay as long as you like.
More information: www.findhorn.org
Nearest train station: Forres
If you have other ideas for great days out in the UK with an eco-twist that are worth a visit then please let us know.
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