Sustainable Travel and Ecotourism in the UK

Explore sustainable travel opportunities and ecotourism in the UK.

What do you think of when you hear the terms “sustainable travel” and “ecotourism?” Perhaps an environmentally friendly safari to Tanzania or the rainforests of Brazil? Many people subconsciously tie ecotourism to places of incredible biodiversity and pristine wilderness. While these represent excellent locations for such activities, it’s easy to forget that sustainable travel and ecotourism in the UK have deep historical roots. 

The United Kingdom is the land of famed nature painters like John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough. What’s more, hikers consistently describe these islands as having some of the most rewarding terrain in all of Europe. That’s no small claim when you consider competition from wild spots in Spain, Portugal, and Croatia. 

Long before the pursuit of a cleaner and healthier environment caught the world’s attention, the UK was already taking strides to stay greener. Find out more about how you can participate in these activities today.

sustainable travel

A History of Celebrated Natural Beauty

Did you know that more than three dozen English districts have been declared areas of natural beauty? Or that the nation of England alone boasts ten national parks? It also has 12 national trails and miles upon miles of protected coastline. For example, the entire peninsula of Cornwall enjoys a special conservation status. 

Whether you’re after expansive swathes of protected moorland or verdant rolling hills, you’ll find vast parks stretching across the nation. Even city centers such as London have prized areas of green space, effectively acting as carbon absorbers in these metropolitan areas. From coastal escapes along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast to the Ingleton Waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales, you’ll find endless places to visit that bring you closer to nature in the UK

Biking in Oxford and Cotswolds
Getting Back to Nature in the UK

Where should you begin if you’d like to explore Britain’s national parks? One of our favorite resources is the Association of National Park Authorities. The association provides essential information for England and Wales, from the Lake District to the Pembrokeshire Coast. In Wales alone, three national parks cover 20 percent of the nation’s total landmass. After the inclusion of New Forest and South Downs to the list in 2011, England and Wales combined contribute ten percent of their land mass to this national park system. 

What are some of the most eco-friendly activities that let you engage with the UK’s splendid natural settings? There’s no better way to reduce your carbon footprint in Britain than by indulging in a walking, hiking, or biking experience. The UK has always lent itself to pedestrian and cycling activities and maintains a deep commitment to making the nation as walkable and cyclable as possible. To these ends, the government recently announced an ambitious £2 billion plan to boost both activities.

The nation also passed a welcome law in 2000 known as the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, designed to promote walking in the UK. This act ensures pedestrian right of access to mapped areas, from heaths to downs, moors to mountains. It grants countryside walkers open access to land even if it’s privately owned. Of course, you must follow the same seven Leave No Trace Principles you would in other natural settings worldwide. That means carrying out any personal belongings or trash from your rambling adventure. Find out more about this act and the network of pathways it makes available to ramblers. 

Cotswold animal hospital
Plan a visit to the Cotswolds animal hospital

Sustainable Travel and Making a Difference

One of the hallmarks of “green travelers” is the desire to leave the places they visit better. To these ends, you’ll enjoy plenty of excellent opportunities to lend a hand in the UK while learning more about its protected lands and wildlife. For example, at Cotswold Wildlife Hospital, discover the animals that call the English countryside home. Located in the heart of the nation, the hospital helps care for some of the more than 5 million animals injured by human negligence in the UK each year. Explore our England itinerary and an educational and rewarding volunteer experience with the wildlife hospital. 

Or head to Scotland to participate in conservation work spearheaded by the John Muir Trust. The trust has taken great strides to enhance and protect the local environment. It provides fascinating educational insight into Scotland’s wild places as well as opportunities to leave the nation better than when you arrived. You’ll learn about how natural spots have been damaged in the past by development. And you’ll participate in positive activities to help restore harmony and balance. Become a force for good on a visit to Scotland

John Muir Trust
Highland Cow, Scotland

Ecotourism in the UK

The United Kingdom has long been a haven for those who want to get lost in the beauty of green spaces. England, Wales, and Scotland all boast stunning national parks where you’ll find wildlife, plants, and landscapes protected for future generations. But you’ll also find plenty of opportunities to explore the countryside in carbon-free, sustainable ways, whether you’re off for a bike ride or a countryside ramble. 

You can also rest assured you leave the UK better than you found it by participating in activities that support wildlife and nature conservation. Would you like to find out more about sustainable travel and ecotourism in the UK? Contact us today to chat about our diverse collection of itineraries designed to support the people and organizations devoted to keeping the UK wild. 

At Global CommUnity, we offer luxury family vacations to over 35 global destinations. Each customized itinerary comes in both 4- and 5-star price points. Your family will enjoy opportunities to interact with a destination’s culture and people in profound ways. Ready to learn more about your family’s travel personality? Click here to take our complimentary Global CommUnity Travel Persona Quiz now.

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