*This post sustainable holidays post is a collaboration, all pics supplied by nature.house
All of us are looking at ways of living more sustainably – whether we're changing our diet, habits or lifestyle. But did you know that changing the way you travel can have a big impact on reducing your carbon footprint? It can be difficult if you're planning to travel long-haul to offset the carbon emissions from flying, but since the you-know-what, many of us are choosing to stay closer to home.
For my UK readers, that might mean planning staycations in the UK, or popping over to Europe for your summer holidays. Instead of jet-setting and city-hopping, you might prefer a more remote location with less people. If the last few years have shown us anything, it's a renewed love of the great outdoors and exploring nature. That feeling of being cooped up inside was what inspired me to buy my camper van and start exploring the UK, and the first place I went was the forest, beaches, moors and anywhere wild and untouched.
If you're looking for inspiration for next year's trips, I've discovered the secret to avoiding mass tourism, busy cities and crowds. Escape into nature and stay in quirky and unique accommodations while using a platform that supports local wildlife and nature projects. nature.house support a range of projects that focus on improving habitats, restoring recreational facilities, rejuvenating forests, boosting diversity and climate adaptation. In July 2020, they reached the goal of 1 million trees planted in Africa. Currently they are working with Rewilding Europe to support the recovery of the endangered Marsican brown bear population. This project is centred around restoring and boosting biodiversity in The Central Apennines, a wilderness at the heart of Italy.
Sounds too good to be true right? Well it's not, nature.house provide opportunities to stay in unusual Dutch cottages while supporting the local environment. You could wake up to the sound of birdsong, the wind in the trees and the smell of fresh coffee brewing as you start your morning relaxing in nature. Even better, sustainable holidays with nature.house are not just in the Netherlands, they currently offer more than 18,000 nature houses worldwide! From off-grid hiker's cabins, to idyllic cottages by the water, sustainable tiny houses and even luxury camping among many other options. I've picked out some of my favourite unique and quirky stays in the Netherlands.
Dreaming of the perfect secluded spa weekend? If you fancy a touch of luxury but without leaving the walls of your nature house, this is the place for you. Relax into your stay with an infrared sauna, Turkish steam shower and a bubble bath in front of the floor-to-ceiling patio doors overlooking the river. On the banks of the River Lek, this riverside cottage is based in the green heart of the Krimpenerwaard in Lekkerkerk. Just across the river, you will find Rotterdam and the world-famous windmills of Kinderdijk. Watch the boats, geese and swans passing from your bed, or head out on a bike ride across the area. Visitors can enjoy added benefits during their sustainable holidays such as solar energy and even the use of home-grown herbs. (House ID: 47909)
Who says escaping into nature has to mean muddy campsites? Luxury glamping is a great compromise for those who prefer those extra home comforts during their stay. You could stay in this beautiful, spacious, boho tipi located in Parc Extraordinary, with spectacular views. It's your choice whether you want to relax at the tipi or you prefer outdoor adventures such as canoeing on the Niers or mountain biking in the Reichswald. (House ID: 55379)
Watch the sunrise over Dwingelderveld National Park from the comfort of your treehouse escape as birds and squirrels scamper across the terrace. Sleeping a family of six, there is a double bed with views of the stars and sunrise, with comfy box beds for the rest of the family. From the terrace you can enjoy views of the sunset from the wooden treehouse, complete with heather on the roof and a wood-burning stove to keep you cosy. Best of all, you have 3,500 acres of national park as your backyard, just waiting to be explored. The height of sustainable holidays, this property uses 50% green energy, hot water, insulation and heating, plus natural cleaning products and honey from the garden. (House ID: 36430)
Rent a floating holiday home with your family and friends to experience the peaceful port of Makkum. Part of the IJsselmeer Natura 2000 area, the port is protected which means it is a haven for wildlife. From nesting birds in the spring, to foraging swans and even the odd spoonbill. There's plenty for the avid bird-watcher to spot. The spacious ship accommodates a group of eight. Close by, there are lots of nature reserves including the Wadden Sea seal paradise. There are also lots of beautiful walks and cycle routes available from the harbour. This accommodation uses 50% green energy during your sustainable holidays which will help reduce your carbon footprint further. (House ID: 52311)
Want to upgrade your outdoor experience? Why not stay in a stunning caravan or wagon inspired by traditional traveller or Romani vardo? This nature house has everything you need, from a cosy bed and living room, bathroom and even a fire pit. Engulfed in ferns and rhododendrons, the caravan sits on the edge of the most beautiful nature reserve in Brabant. A welcome hamper includes locally sourced wine, coffee, tea, herbs and oil. Nearby, you can explore Loonse and Drunense Duinen National Park, lots of nature and forest areas plus even the many islands in the Biesbosch. (House ID: 35417)
Once upon a time, sod huts were inhabited by the poorest workers of the 19th century. But now, you can enjoy a night of nostalgia and fairytales as you stay in this cosy little home. Dine on a homemade stew from the witches' cauldron by a crackling fire, or enjoy a glass of wine. For a cosy night, pre-book the wood-fired hot tub and sauna. If you don't feel like cooking you can also book the Finnish grill hut with a complete barbecue package. Just a few kilometres from Groningen in Germany, the sod house is located in beautiful Drenthe village Roswinkel. (House ID: 28310)
What's the most unusual accommodation you've stayed in? Have you visited the Netherlands before? Would you like to visit any of these quirky stays?
As the world starts to creep back towards “normality”, travel is back on the radar for many. Many of us are starting to plan trips abroad once more and that means we’re all on the lookout for those tantalising cheap flights. Everyone has missed travelling over the last two years and we’re all eager to make up for lost time, so how better to do it than to find a great deal on your next trip? As a budget traveller, I’ve always loved hunting down a bargain for flights and accommodation so I can save my money for fun activities when I reach my destination. I’ve caught many flights over the years, so here’s the best tips and tricks I’ve discovered for scoring a great deal on cheap travel.
One of the best tips I can give to travellers on the hunt for budget-friendly flights is to remain as flexible as possible when booking. The more you can do this, the more money you will save. If you don’t mind where you travel to, you could save even more by selecting the Everywhere function available on a lot of online flight search engines. By setting search engines to look for the best flights on certain dates, they will pluck out the cheapest deals available. It might even inspire you to travel to places you hadn’t considered before. I’ve done this before a lot when travelling Asia and Europe – it’s a great way to explore a continent and to jump out of your comfort zone.
Take this tip in two ways. Firstly, avoid travelling in peak season or school holidays. Flights, accommodation and activities are so much more expensive during these times due to popularity. If this is unavoidable, try booking as far in advance as possible to avoid being stung by price increases. You can also save a lot of money by being willing to fly at less popular times of the day. For instance, early morning flights are always less popular and yet when you arrive you have an extra day to explore. By avoiding the middle of the day flights, you can often save money and find flights less crowded. Spicejet offers a range of flights from Dubai to India available at all times of day.
Always shop around before you buy and you could find far cheaper deals on flights and accommodation. Often the same hotel room or flights will be listed on different websites for varying prices depending on whether you use flight search engines, book directly through the airline or even buy as a package deal. Make sure to research and compare prices before you book or you could end up paying more for exactly the same trip. If you really want to find cheap flights, you could try spicejet for flights from Dubai to India.
Budget airlines are notorious for being tough on travellers for baggage allowances and extras. But, if you learn to pack light and really work the system to your advantage, you could save yourself a small fortune in extra fees. Don’t risk turning up at the airport and being charged more than your flight cost for bringing a bag that is a few kilos overweight. Do your research beforehand and ensure your backpack or suitcase is the right dimensions and shape for the cabin. Don't forget to check that it will comply across a range of budget airlines so you don’t get caught out. Next up, master the art of packing light and only taking what you need. Downsize your liquids/toiletries so you only take the essentials. Always weigh your bag before you leave home and remember how you packed so you can replicate it for the flight home.
There are some fantastic resources out there with websites and even online memberships that allow you exclusive access to flight deals. If you’re pressed for time or don’t have the inclination to hunt down those cheap flights, this can be a good way to skip the hard work and reap the rewards. You might end up paying a small membership fee but you could end up saving a lot more overall if you are planning to fly regularly. Collecting air miles through airline points cards, or even your credit card, can be an easy way to rack up the savings without even trying! You can collect miles on a range of regular purchases these days and then put these towards savings on your next trip. If you travel often, you might even earn enough miles to upgrade to business class or book a long-haul flight.
What are your best tips for saving money on flights? How do you go about finding flight deals?
*This hikes in the UK post is a collaboration with Adidas. All opinions remain my own. [ad – pr products]
If there's one thing I love, it's getting outside in the fresh air and hiking in nature. It's my favourite way to explore a new place whether I'm headed to a different timezone, visiting a new continent or simply heading on a staycation. Spending more time in the UK over the last two years provided me with the perfect opportunity to keep adventuring closer to home. I traded far-flung destinations for vanlife in the UK and it's been an amazing opportunity to discover how much the UK has to offer. If you follow me on social media, you'll have see that I went on quite the adventure travelling across Devon, Cornwall and Wales, and I still have plans to visit more in the coming months.
Rain or shine, the UK is incredibly beautiful and I can't believe it has taken a you-know-what to finally get me to visit some of these destinations. It's been a fantastic reminder that travel starts at home. Even when we can't venture further afield, we can still have adventures and enjoy some of the best hikes in the UK. Even if all you can manage is a weekend away, there are so many amazing places right on our doorsteps. I'm lucky enough to be based in Norfolk which has some incredible walks and hikes. But heading down to the south-west of the UK really highlighted how many amazing landscapes we have to enjoy. From coastal strolls to mountain climbs and much more. Pull on your hiking boots and give some of these walks a try!
Naturally I couldn't start this blog post without shouting about my home county. With an incredible 87 miles of Norfolk Coast Path to explore and some of the prettiest seaside towns and wild nature reserves in the UK. Norfolk has a lot to offer hikers and the best thing about this area? It's so quiet even in peak season and remains easy to escape the crowds even on the sunniest days. My favourite hikes include:
You can download a Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trail leaflet here with more information about routes to explore. You can also find 12 brilliant walks in Norfolk here. Check out my blog posts below on other walks and fun activities for when you visit:
One of my favourite hikes from this summer – the combination of epic views and challenging elevation provided a real contrast to the much flatter walks of Norfolk. England's largest gorge provides dramatic scenery and towering cliffs at 400ft for hikers to explore. The Cheddar Gorge walk is 4 miles and yet it was one of the more challenging hikes due to the elevation and steep inclines. It's a circular walk and takes around 3 hours to complete, providing views of Glastonbury Tor, the Somerset levels and Bridgwater Bay. There are some parts that can be muddy and slippery if it has rained so be sure to wear sturdy shoes. When you reach the road, continue on to the Black Rock path opposite to continue the hike to the other side of the gorge.
The hike that has brought me back to Cornwall on multiple occasions this summer. The Lizard Peninsula and Kynance Cove truly are some of the most spectacular, wild coastline the UK has to offer. After visiting earlier in the summer with friends, I just knew I had to return to this magical part of the south-west coast. The Lizard Walk, Cornwall, which takes you to the most southerly point of mainland Britain, also has some lovely cafes and pubs en route so it makes a great day out. The 7 mile route takes you from Kynance Cove, along the coastline and across the top of the towering cliffs towards Lizard Point, then across the village and back towards Kynance Cove. National Trust say it takes around three hours and that the walk is challenging. This could vary a lot depending on the hikers and how many times you stop to take photos/enjoy the views!
If you want a relaxing coastal walk for the whole family, Baggy Point is the place for you. There are a range of routes varying from easy family trails suitable for pushchairs to more challenging paths. Head to Croyde Bay where you'll find the National Trust car park at the beginning of the trails, here you will also find a cafe, toilets, shop and you can also pay by card for parking. From here there are several options for walks around Croyde and Woolacombe via the cliffs and headland, or easier routes that stick to the path suitable for families.
There are so many amazing hikes in Dartmoor National Park, you could easily spend your entire trip just in this area alone. Picture lush, leafy forests with hidden waterfalls and Dartmoor ponies running wild on colourful moors overlooking the ocean. If you ever needed reminding that the UK can be just as spectacular as travelling abroad, this is the place for you. Prepare for jaw-dropping scenes of true natural beauty as you hike the following trails:
Take the South West Coast Path from Lynton Cliff Railway Station and enjoy a 3 mile loop route to the famous Valley of the Rocks. The path is tarmac and suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. You can also park at the Valley of the Rocks and complete the loop from there. The walk is fairly easy and offers incredible ocean views, plus adorable wild goats grazing around the Valley.
A 6.5 mile hike that takes around 4-5 hours and takes you alongside some spectacular Cornish coastline. It follows the South West Coast Path with endless seascapes and rugged cliffs that are bound to impress. There are lots of variations on this walk depending on how far you choose to walk and which direction you prefer. Porthcurno to Lands End and Sennen Cove is recommended, but choose the route that works for you and a level of difficulty you can handle.
One of the most well known beauty spots on Bodmin Moor, Golitha Falls is a series of cascades and waterfalls set in a stunning oak woodland. Follow the trail along the River Fowey, which has been named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Walkers will want to wear good hiking shoes as the best time to visit is after heavy rainfall and the area can become muddy and slippery. This is a stunning location, but the path is not always the clearest so best to research before you go.
Cornwall's best kept secret, the St Nectan's Glen hike takes you through beautiful ancient woodland to three mesmerising waterfalls. The circular walk is only 1.9 miles so it's super easy to squeeze into your visit. Plus the car park is free which is always a bonus.
The highest mountain in England and Wales stands at 1,085m high and provides amazing views over Snowdonia, Anglesey, Pembrokeshire and Ireland. Snowdon has a choice of six routes of varying intensity and incline to choose from – see Your Ultimate Guide to the Six Walking Routes to the Summit. Be sure to research before you go and set off early to allow enough time for the hike. Be prepared for changeable weather. Remember the temperature will vary with the elevation so pack warm layers and waterproofs. Make sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes as some of the paths will require scrambling across rocks or slippery sections.
Starting from Porth Clais Harbour, the Tregennis route covers around 6 miles and takes around 3 hours to complete. The Pembrokeshire coastline is wild, exposed and beautiful with plenty of wildlife to spot. This includes seal pups in late summer and early autumn so keep your eyes peeled! A circular walk, you pass several coastal villages and even an old copper mine.
This area remains so quiet even during peak season that it has the air of an undiscovered gem. Picturesque beaches, towering cliffs and huge caves to explore. The Stackpole Estate includes Barafundle Bay, Broadhaven South and Freshwater West. All stunning locations, but Barafundle Bay remains my favourite because it is only accessible on foot via a half a mile walk from the car park. This distance seems to put off the crowds and makes the area feel even more secluded.
Check out this blog post for The best things to do in Swansea Bay, Wales including the best hikes, places to eat out, activities and much more.
Choosing the right clothing is so important when organising hiking trips in unpredictable climates such as the UK. We can easily face four seasons in a day. So never leave home without packing clothing that will keep you comfortable in all weathers. I teamed up with Adidas this summer to try out their activewear and was amazed at the range of sustainable products they offer. I scaled Cheddar Gorge in Somerset wearing their purple set and found them so comfortable for a day of hiking. The leggings were an aeroknit material with sweat-wicking technology – perfect for hiking. I also loved that they were made from recycled materials.
During my month-long road trip I was very lucky with the weather. Yet I still experienced torrential rain and flooding, plus blue skies and a heatwave within just days of each other. But no matter what the weather, I was keen to get outside and make the most of my trip. For warmer days hiking the Cornish coastline, I loved this Adidas pink crop top and black shorts set. The shorts ended up being one of my most worn items on the trip. They even made it to the top of Snowdon in Wales! My best tips for choosing great hiking gear:
Would you add any hikes to the list? What are your best hikes in the UK? Can you recommend any hikes near where you live?