Want to get away this year but not so keen on increasing your carbon footprint? Thankfully, there’s no need to hop on a long-haul flight or fill up your car with pricey petrol to enjoy a change of scenery. Why not simply explore the best of your local area instead?
The North of England and Scotland are packed with brilliant places where you can enjoy some R&R, set out on an incredible hike or simply laze around on a beach – hopefully in the sunshine! In need of a few ideas? Avoid the airports, forget the car and enjoy plenty of eco-friendly activities with our greener holiday options.
- Escape to the Northumberland Coast
Medieval castles, dramatic beaches and a slew of charming seaside towns await in Northumberland. The county’s vast stretch of coastline is a brilliant place for a getaway, whether you’re interested in soaking up ancient history or some seriously scenic views.
Alnmouth is particularly idyllic for those after a little peace and quiet. As well as being just a stone’s throw from Alnwick Castle (a stunning 11th-century castle with both Harry Potter and Downton Abbey filming connections), it’s also blessed with a huge sandy beach. For some eco-friendly travel while you’re there, you can hire electric bikes from the Bike Shop Alnwick (or bring your own on the train) to hop easily between the fortress and the sand.
Speaking of Alnmouth Beach, it’s possible to spend hours strolling along the dunes and admiring the uninterrupted views across the ocean. Feeling peckish? Seek out Scott’s of Alnmouth. This independently-run deli offers up an array of high-quality local products, from artisan coffee and homemade bread to tasty British cheeses and succulent salmon sourced from a nearby local smokehouse. All delicious and great for sustainable eating.
- Fill your days with fantastic food in Malton
North Yorkshire may be known for its historic cities and gorgeous moorlands – but what about its food? The pretty market town of Malton is halfway between York and Scarborough and it’s become known as the foodie capital of the region thanks to its fantastic culinary offerings and focus on sustainable produce.
If you want to eat as sustainably as possible in Malton, you’ll find all kinds of independent restaurants, cafés and tearooms – many of which use ingredients reared or grown in the surrounding Yorkshire countryside. Or, if you fancy cooking for yourself, why not check out Food 2 Remember at Talbot Yard, a family-run store that sells locally-sourced products?
As well as enjoying some incredible meals out, Malton also has many food-based activities for its visitors. You can craft your own bottle of gin at the Rare Bird Distillery Gin School or book yourself onto one of the classes at The Cook’s Place – a fantastic cookery school which focuses many of its tutorials around tasty Yorkshire produce. There’s also an award-winning food market in Malton open every second Saturday of the month that’s simply unmissable.
- Get your hiking boots on in the Lake District
Is the Lake District ever a bad idea for a staycation? The lush region of Cumbria is a hiker’s paradise packed with beautiful lakeside villages and towns.
You can walk the paths around pretty Penrith – the gateway to the North Lakes – or spend a day in the town itself, exploring the historic Penrith Castle and savouring traditional British grub in one of many authentic pubs. Or, how about swapping mountain treks for hikes along Roman-era walls in Carlisle? The border city is famed for its easy access to the Hadrian’s Wall Path – one of the best walking trails in the UK.
The UNESCO World Heritage Lake District region is also home to plenty of eco-friendly accommodation, including the cosy yet elegant Victorian House hotel in Ambleside which encourages visitors to offset their carbon emissions with their plant a tree scheme.
- Combine history with rugged beaches in Dunbar
An Edinburgh native? You won’t need to travel far for a beachside escape. Dunbar is just a short train ride from the city yet feels like it's an entire world away.
Dunbar has been an important location since the Middle Ages when it was the site of a major Scottish stronghold. Today, it’s a relaxing seaside town known for its breathtakingly dramatic beachfront and handful of world-class golf courses. Dunbar is also impressively Scotland’s first zero waste town - and that’s all down to one of its former residents. John Muir, a well-known 19th naturalist and environmental activist, born in Dunbar in 1838, left a number of legacies on the local landscape. This includes the stunning John Muir Country Park that’s criss-crossed with walking trails and perfect for family days out.
Visiting on a rainier day? Dunbar has plenty of indoor activities too. Check out the John Muir Birthplace Museum for a dose of local history. Established in 2003, its interiors were created with charity shop treasures, plus its café and shop only sells Fairtrade items. There’s also a great high street in Dunbar lined with independent shops, including the Zero Waste Shop, the Dunbar Craft Studio and several brilliant charity stores. The town has a reputation for mouth-watering food and drinks too. Why not tuck into fresh seafood at the East Coast Crab Shack or share a woodfired pizza at Hector’s Artisan Pizzeria?
- Take your pick of epic city breaks
Fancy a greener city break close to home? There are plenty of action-packed, urban escapes across our region that can also be beneficial to the planet.
History is everywhere you look in photogenic York. The ancient city also has many green businesses, from family-run organic wholefoods stores like Tullivers, to sustainable vegan eateries like much-loved Source.
Elsewhere, you’ll find Liverpool is the perfect location for both sightseeing and buzzing nightlife. The city has built up a reputation for its independent shopping and dining scene, plus you’ll be able to whizz easily across the city without a car thanks to Liverpool’s VOI e-scooter scheme.
Keen to give your holidays an eco-friendly spin this summer? Remember to check before you travel and book your tickets in advance on our website or using the TPExpress app.