When reviewing website links,
every so often you come across a site that is really interesting
or special in some way -the sort of website that adds something
unique. Each month we feature one of our favourite travel sites
-below is the list of those we have featured:
2012: Pedibus: a different
activity perhaps while the Olympics are on -Pedibus is an innovative
idea offering Pubcrawler Parties and tours of Shoreditch and
Borough Market with their vehicle that seats eight cyclists who
sit facing each other as if at a dinner table and pedal their
way around, steered by a driver. The on-board bar and solar powered
sound system complete the atmosphere. Would be great to see more
- May 2012: Hunters
Yard: recommended by our good friend Brian, this unique
collection of classic boats ticks all the boxes for an environmentally
friendly holiday. Spend a day or a week sailing on the unspoilt
wetlands of the Norfolk Broads, with miles of navigable rivers
and lakes, teeming with wildlife including herons, kingfishers,
otters and marsh harriers.
-manufacturer of outdoor products, designed at their base in
the Lake District. Their ethical policy extends to the production
facility in Bogotá, Colombia, which is part of a cooperation
program with the Miquelina Foundation to provide employment and
skills to 'at risk' women seeking an improvement in their lives.
2012: Perche dans
le Perche -set in a natural garden within 25 acres of
unspoilt countryside of La Renardiere in Normandy is this luxury
5-berth treehouse in a centuries old sweet chestnut tree that
can be booked for periods up to a week.
2011: Dodgy Geezer
-Eco-Gite, St Jean le Thomas, Basse Normandy -this sympathetic
eco-renovation of an old bar/shop by Douglas Beal, goes under
the wonderful title of dodgygreengeezer.com. Doug's disarming
style belies a more serious message which is enlarged in the
page 'reflections on' -this contains the text of a lecture given
at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth in 2007
on his experiences and should be essential reading for anyone
planning an eco-renovation. The town house property offers accommodation
for up to 13 people in 5 bedrooms.
2011: Your Planet
Needs You -the page of Jon Symes -author, speaker, traveller
and dreamer who changed his life course and released his book
"Your Planet Needs you" in 2006. The book sets out
principles to live by and create the world we want. Jon has taken
his message over the world -to Beirut, Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria,
South Africa, Korea, Manilla and Ecuador, where Jon has been
working with the Pachamama Alliance
- September 2011: Will
Gethin -a beautiful
site to inspire you -enjoy the words and images of this beautiful
site from the noted holistic explorer and travel writer. Gethin
seeks to inspire and inform about extreme and eco travel, global
spirituality, holistic health, conscious living and cultural
change. He has written on exotic destinations including Lapland,
Mongolia, Ladakh and the Sinai for a range of publications including
The Independant, Harpers Bazaar, Evening Standard and the Tatler.
More recently, Will has been working on a documentary film that
explores the vanishing cultural and spiritual traditions of Peru.
- July 2011:Get
Walking -a new venture from the Ramblers, Get Walking is
a twelve week programme of led walks in Birmingham, East London,
South London, Manchester or Sheffield -get fit and explore your
own area at the same time.
June 2011:Les Maziures, Picardy
-this modern longhouse nestled in a "courtil" in the
heart of the village of Beaumetz, between the valleys of the
Somme and the Authie. It offers three double bedrooms along with
a winter garden equipped with a wide range of books and opening
onto the sunny garden. Breakfasts with homemade breads, brioches,
patisserie and jams, farm products, cereals, fruit juice, coffee
and tea are well suited for walkers and cyclists. The owners
encourage biodiversity through responsible, ecological and sustainable
development, and are members of the association Baie de Somme
Zéro Carbone, a group of professionals comitted to the
preservation of the Bay. They take part in the campaigns of the
Noah Conservation Association and BirdLife International. The
lodging has been awarded the Green Key ecolabel.
- May 2011: Schooner
sailing holidays on the three masted schooner, Trinovante, where
everyone plays a full role in sailing the ship. There is a strong
emphasis on developing good seamanship skills and sail training
- coastal day trips or challenging offshore voyages.
- April 2011: Field
Studies Council -may not spring to everyone's mind as
a source of family holidays, but the FSC run some very interesting
family residential holiday courses from their field centres throughout
the UK, They offer wildlife and discovery, creative and active
courses, in locations ranging from the Scottish highlands to
the South Devon coast. Courses are designed for the whole family
to take part in.so families can enjoy actually spending time,
participating, talking and learning together, as well as offering
outdoor exercise and the opportunity to learn about the natual
Architecture - a social enterprise dedicated to the promotion
and enjoyment of world-class modern architecture. The brainchild
of Dickon Robinson and Alain de Botton, they feature a number
of awesome houses available for short stay holidays, including
The Balancing Barn and The Dune House in Suffolk, along with
The Shingle House in Kent.
2011: Greenbox -an Irish
company offering a range of ecotourism holidays including venues
in Counties Fermanagh, Leitrim, West Cavan, North Sligo, South
Donegal and North West Monaghan. They aim to provide travel that
is small scale, low impact, culturally sensitive, community orientated,
primarily nature based, educational and capable of broadening
peoples minds and enlivening their souls but providing a unique
experience, firmly grounded in sustainable principles and practices.
- January 2011: Canopy
& Stars our pick for the new year is a site
by Alistair Sawday that presents a beautiful collection of camping
venues with a difference -here you can find everything from quirky
treehouses to luxurious yurts. The great thing is that all are
selected on the basis of their philosophy towards the natural
- December 2010: Green
Hotels and Responsible Tourism Initiative -if you want
to help the owner of your hotel to up their game on environmental
issues, then this educational resource from Hotels Combined is
designed to help both travelers and hotel owners about making
more responsible choices, as well as enhancing the lives of local
communities and conserving the natural environment. The site
was developed in collaboration with renowned sustainability academic,
Dr Sonya Graci, and responsible tourism consultant, Jacqueline
- November 2010: Alto
Hotel on Bourke, Melbourne
boutique hotel in the heart of the city was the recent winner
of the Conde Nast Traveler World Savers Award 2010, the
highest rated of all entries in the Environmental Preservation
category. The first fully carbon neutral hotel in Australia with
a carbon footprint of 13.5 g per room, which is in turn offset
with the Carbon Reduction Institute. They offer free recharging
for owners of electric cars and free parking for hybrids. Environmental
measures include wind powered electricity, reuse of rainwater
for flushing toilet cisterns, waste separation along with other
measures outlined on their sustainability fact sheet.
- October 2010: Musée
The Musée Branly in Paris has a fantastic collection of
Ethnographic artifacts from around the world carefully displayed
in a stunning building designed by architect Jean Nouvel and
featuring beautiful gardens incorporating vertical planted walls
by Patrick Blanc.
2010: Trek Ethiopia Challenge
Transaid is an international development charity that aims to
reduce poverty and improve livelihood across Africa and the developing
world through creating better transport.They are looking for
people to join their Trek Ethiopia Challenge which takes place
from 4-11th February 2011, where volunteers will get the opportunity
to trek through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ethiopia
and Africa. The challenge will take volunteers on a trek through
the World Heritage protected Simien Mountains up to an altitude
of over 4000 metres.
- July 2010: Stuff
your Rucksack -http://stuffyourrucksack.com
The website of TV presenter Kate Humble that gives guidance on
things you can take with you on your travels that may be of value
to charitable projects supporting local communities. Well worth
a read before you set off.
- June 2010: Guludo
Beach Lodge, Mozambique - http://www.guludo.com
A beautiful rustic hideaway and fair trade lodge on the beach
paradise of Pemba. The owners established the Nema Foundation,
whose philosophy is based around giving back to the local community,
with a strong emphasis on supporting women. The lodge offers
guests the chance to relax on beautiful white beaches lapped
by aquamarine sea, observe humback whales in their natural environment,
canoeing or enjoy world class scuba diving. They also take their
protection of Pemba's environment very seriously using solar
panels, water reharvesting, recycling and local education programs
as part of this commitment.
May 2010: Gaps
for Grumpies -you don't have to be nineteen to make a worthwhile
contribution whilst having a life changing experience. This organisation
caters for non traditional gappers, placing you in community
development projects in Ghana and Tanzania.
2010: Girls Travel Club
-founded by Beccy Coombes Burr, GTC specialises in gear for women
travellers. They try to source all their products as ethically
and as responsibly as possible. The site also provides tips,
unusual packing lists, natural remedies and even games for travellers.
There is some seriously good advice on the site (and not just
for women), and if you want to know why you should take an onion
on holiday, visit the website!
- March 2010 -Lanzarote
Retreats -Family run business offering six different luxury
eco accommodations, including self-catering eco yurts, cottages
and villas in stunning locations. All six properties are off-grid
being powered by the solar panels and wind turbines of "Finca
de Arrieta" in the north of the island. The mayority of
the properties are located by the sea, away from the hustle and
bustle of mass tourism.
2010 -Madventurer -combination
of award winning volunteer projects and adventures in some of
the most fascinating destinations in the world. They aim to help
local communities in developing countries with volunteer projects,
and at the same time enable travellers to gain life-changing
experiences through cultural integration, challenge and adventure.
Destinations include Fiji, Ghana, India, Kenya, Peru, Tanzania,
Thailand, Uganda. Projects combine volunteering, adventure or
sports projects -rugby, hockey, football, netball, cricket, basketball,
swimming, tennis and volleyball.
- January 2010 -Much
Better Adventures -a travel directory that puts you in
direct contact with carefully selected adventure sports and activity
holidays, tours, courses and accommodation with a strong commitment
to sustainability. Their
mission in particular is to generate more business for small
operators, community tourism, not for profit and charity operations
that cannot normally compete on a such a commercial platform.
- Past featured
2009 -Eco Dharma Centre
-offer courses, events and retreats that support the development
of an ecological consciousness. Retreats take place in in a beautiful
and wild mountain valley in the Sierra de Carreau of the Catalan
Pyrenees. A number of old farmhouses in various states of renovation
together with some low-impact structures provide shelter within
a mountainous landscape of mixed woodland, pasture, scrub, and
2009: WWHOOF -just
in time before the end of summer -World Wide Opportunities on
Organic Farms offers "WHOOFERS" the opportunity to
volunteer on organic farms throughout the world in return for
food, accommodation and the chance to learn about organic lifetsyles.
2009: Surf Algarve
-a surfing and yoga camp nestled in a valley of native cork trees.
The retreat is the brainchild of enthusiastic Australian traveller
and surfer Laurie Quirk. Staying here is a communal experience
with accommodation in a large teepee, or on a small island camp
just across a brook. For those wanting more privacy there is
also the more secluded 'Couples Retreat' in an African safari
July 2009 -Ethical Volunteering -an online guide to
getting the best out of international volunteering, and ensuring
that your experience is of value to both yourself and the people
you work with.
- June 2009 -Wild
Swimming -Daniel Start's book on swimming in Britains
rivers, lakes and waterfalls includes location maps, guidance
on staying safe and mouthwatering photo highlights. The is also
chance to contribute and win a free copy of the book by nominating
places for inclusion.
- May 2009: Consolacion Hotel,
Monroyo. A striking modern hotel located in the Matarraña,
Aragón, one of the most beautiful and undiscovered regions
of Spain. The hotel was designed by architects Camprubí
i Santacana as an innovative project comprising a central
house with communal areas, plus ten rooms built as cubes with
three solid and one glass wall, enjoying interrupted views of
the natural surroundings. The rooms have sunken baths of luxurious
black slate and a chimney suspended in mid air, as well as speakers
for your I-pod. The restaurant serves some of the best regional
produce and the swimming pool, carved from the rockface, enjoys
the same spectacular views.
- April 2009: The
A retreat in the foothills of the Cévennes mountain in
the south of France whose aim is to explore a lifestyle centred
around ecological and sustainable ethics, placing an emphasis
on integrating mindful awareness into daily activities.The centre
enjoys fantastic views and is surrounded by olive, almond, peach,
plum, mimosa, fig and apricot trees. The community is active
in growing food and structuring the land with permacultural ideas
and designs. At various times they hold meditation and yoga retreats,
as well as courses on topics including permaculture and green
- March 2009: Bulungula
Incubator -working with Bulunga Lodge in South Africa,
this project uses the benefits of backpacker tourism to fight
poverty in one of the poorest villages in South Africa. The village
of Nqileni is beautiful but has has no road, school, running
water, toilets, school, clinic or electricity. The lodge has
helped create thirty five jobs for the village and works in association
with the incubator project to assist people in setting up projects
ranging from fundraising for the village school to the establishment
of a permaculture food forest.
- February 2009: Where
the hell is Matt: in case you are not one of the twelve
million people who have already seen this, turn your sound up,
sit back and enjoy Matt Harding's video.
- January 2009: Deepdale
Backpackers, Deepdale Farm, Norfolk, England -we
have chosen this one because of their leading the way for eco
friendly budget accommodation. As well as the Deepdale Granary
Hostel, they also run a campsite with tipis ready erected, or
bring your own tent or camper van. (perhaps not for the current
weather!) . They have won many awards for their sustainability
projects. Read more about them and other eco hostels on our hostels
- December 2008: Trelowarren,
Mawgan, Cornwall - the worlds first eco-timeshare -half of the
cottages in this 30 house eco-community are avalaible as timeshares.
The aim of the community is to be completely carbon neutral as
well as self sufficient in food and fuel.
- November 2008: Sadie
Cove Ecolodge -this Alaskan lodge is located on a privately
owned beach inside Kachemak Bay State Park and offers guests
amazing opportunities to interact with bears, otters and whales,
as well as enjoying the peace and tranquility of Alaska's wilderness.
The lodge is serious about its environmental policy, with one
tree planted for every guest who stays, hydro-eclectric power,
recycling and the entire hostel built of driftwood.
- October 2008: Aqua
Dome -an absolutely stunning thermal spa and wellness hotel
set in the Tirollean mountains. Features include a domed, glass-walled
thermal spring hall with two pools and a huge waterfall -two
canal pools connect to the amazing outdoor area, with the whole
complex designed to blend with the mountain setting.
- Sept 2008: Kw'o:kw'e:hala Eco
Retreat, Othello, British Columbia -a wilderness retreat
in the mountains of the Pacific North-West, just one and a half
hours from Vancouver with accommodation in log cabins or 'soft-sided
nests'. Breathtaking scenery on seven forested acres alongside
crystal emerald waters of the Coquihalla River. Meals provided
from their own organic garden.
- August 2008: Kolarbyn -Sweden's most primitive hostel -stay
in a forest hut and really get back to nature with moose safaris,
wolf howling tours
- July 08: Galapita
Healing Garden -healing
centre and sanctuary described by TS Elliot as "one of those
rare and magical places that seems to exist outside time as though
the world only revolves around its boundaries". Stay in
open walled pavilions nestled among protected pockets of forests,
paddy fields, waterfalls and a lake along the meandering river
- June 2008: Canvas
Chic -holiday in a tent as you have never imagined it. Stay
a luxury handcrafted Yurt in a magnificent oak forest on top
of a stunning river gorge at Labastide de Virac in the Ardèche.
Canvaschic was founded in 2003 by Lodewijk van den Belt and Ruth
Lawson who wanted to offer a holiday that reflected their love
of the outdoors.
- May 08: Natural
Retreats -their vision is to build environmentally friendly,
luxury residences, founded on sustainable principles, within,
or close to, all the National Parks in the UK. Their first site
at Richmond in the Yorkshire Dales is now open offering luxury
modern eco cabins in beautiful countryside.
- April 08: Plan-it
Earth -family eco activity and yurt holidays at Govena, an
idyllic smallholding run by Rachel and Daid Smart Knight in West
Penwith, Cornwall....and additional discount if you leave the
car at home.
- March 08: OneBag.com
-Doug Dyment's site on the art of travelling light is jammed
with ways to keep your load to a minimum, with packing lists
and advice on what to take with you (and what not!).
- February 08: Earthdive -a global research project for
recreational scuba divers to log sightings of key indicator species
working inassociation with the United Nations Environment Programme.
- January 08: Palin's
Travels -writing and photos from the broadcaster Michael
Palin -including Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway and Sahara.
Previous sites -our selection
of some of the best
- Visit England North West -the official tourist site for the North
West of England, including Blackpool, Cumbria and the Lake District.
- Organic Places to stay -an extensive guide to small hotels,
farms, bed and breakfasts throughout the world who use organic
Sheep Inn -an inexpensive
ecologically friendly hotel perched on a hillside in the Andes
Mountains of Ecuador -having won a number of awards for responsible
tourism, it is a perfect place to discover diverse ecosystems.
Birder -huge resource
about birdwatching worldwide with trip reports, country data,
bird information and much more.
- Flight Path to Global Meltdown -George Monbiot's challenging discussion
of the effects of air travel on the environment.
- Been There
-from the Guardian, chance to publish your favourite tips on
the places you have been to.
- Sustrans -the UK's leading sustainable transport
charity, working on practical projects such as the National Cycle
Network, so people can choose to travel sustainably.
and Commonwealth Office
-the huge FCO site has advice on travelling to any country -health,
security, checklists, visas and how to get help if you have a
Lag Travel -if you think
you've been everywhere then try this site -special features on
travel to Molvania and Phaic Tan. Perhaps we should have waited
until April to feature this one.
Bag -the art and science
of travelling light.
- Villarenters -free online service for villa and holiday home
owners, providing a professionally run website and booking system
in return for a small commission on bookings.
leading source for scientific, educational and adventure expedition
news and information -everything from polar exploration to deep
jungle research, including links to hundreds of current, recent
and historical expeditions, organized by topic and date.
Care Emissions Calculator
-how much C02 do you generate with your air travel -well this
site has a calculator to answer just that. You can also make
a donation to the charity to offset your emissions.
- Spirit of the Hills -a
family run business that specialise in walking experiences in
Scotland -the website has some beautiful photographs that really
capture the feel of the Scottish Highlands.
Man in Seat Sixty One
-a must for all rail travellers.
Search this site with Google:
- home | transport
| accomodation | general
information | holiday activities
| weekend breaks | contact