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Hands-On Holidays in Great Britain

The National Trust, Britain’s largest conservation charity, offers 2 to 14 day working holidays in more than 150 spots throughout Great Britain. These working holidays give you a chance to learn new skills such as drystone walling, repairing footpaths, planting trees, cutting hay, gardening and more.

You pay a basic fee for food and accommodation, which can vary from roughing it in tents, to a farmhouse, cottage or, perhaps, a 17th century village hall. For your fee you’ll also receive a year’s free entry to stately homes in Britain.

It won’t all be work – this is a holiday. Hill walking, canoeing, mountain biking, rock climbing and sightseeing are just a few of the planned activities for volunteers.

Looking for something less strenuous? Oak Holidays are for over 35’s and Oak Plus is for the over 50’s. The National Trust also plays host to open-air events such as rural festivals, horse trials and concerts. Volunteers are eager to help, so these Event Holidays are some of the first to sell out.

There’s gardening on a grand scale, holidays for biology students, amateur naturalists and wildflower enthusiasts. In fact, for just about anyone interested in the outdoors and preserving the environment.

The National Trust holidays are so popular that early booking – January and February – is the only way to ensure you get what you want. People who have participated in the working holiday scheme talk of the new friends that they made, the satisfaction of knowing they’re helping conservation efforts, the lasting memories and the sense of accomplishment they achieve.

For a holiday brochure:
From North America call 011 44 870 429 2428
Working Holidays, Sapphire House
Roundtree Way, Norwich NR7 8SQ

To order a brochure via email, contact them at:

For further information on the National Trust see: or their conservation and environment web site.

©1999 Barbara Ballard. Reproduction of this work in whole or in part, including reproduction in electronic media, without the expressed written permission of the author is prohibited.