For many Brits, paying for a holiday abroad is a struggle, particularly those with a family. But if you're an active type, a working holiday right here in the UK could provide a fun, informative and adventure-packed alternative.
The National Trust offers more than 300 working holidays, where grown-ups and kids can learn crafts, practical skills, and get involved in conservation.
About the holidays
The National Trust offers six different types of working holiday, including those with basic hostel-style accommodation, short breaks of two to four nights, Youth Discovery breaks for 16 to 18-year-olds, more luxurious 'Hand Picked' breaks with twin or triple rooms that include en-suite facilities, and even family holidays, where children as young as six can enjoy a range of fun activities and workshops. You can even arrange your own accommodation and still take part in all the activities if you so wish. Prices start at as little as £85 for a short break staying on site, and while the accommodation might be basic, the settings are simply wonderful.
Activities on offer
There is a huge range of activities on offer, from helping with the repair and rebuilding of sections of Trust properties, through general estate maintenance, to learning ancient techniques and crafts, gardening and even beach cleaning.
For example, a week's break at Castle Ward in Northern Ireland will see participants doing anything from removing ivy and repairing stone walls to tree planting and brashing up. On the Holnicote Estate in Exmoor National Park, you can get involved in woodland skills such as charcoal making, coppicing and hedgelaying, and even take part in a Dormouse survey. And on the Gower Peninsula, the whole family can help out with a spot of litter picking on the beach and be rewarded by a whole host of activities such as bug hunts, building dens and wild art.
Why a working holiday?
The idea of life in a bunkhouse and some often hard, physical work may not seem like much of a holiday, but National Trust working breaks offer so much more. In exchange for your help with the conservation of some of Britain's most spectacular landscapes and buildings, you will often be rewarded, whether that be with a photography tutor in the Lake District or a tandem flight along the North Devon coast. And there will always be plenty of time to relax, socialise and just enjoy the surroundings.
For more information on the activities and destinations available, and to find your perfect working holiday, visit the National Trust website.
Have you tried a working holiday in the UK? Tell us about your experience below...