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Try a National Trust Volunteer Vacation

If you’re looking for something a bit different to do for a holiday, aren’t averse to a bit of work, and want to experience hands on life as part of an historic property, garden or estate, then why not try a working holiday?

Garden toolsThere are a variety of working holiday opportunities to take part in with various  organizations. One such organization that runs popular working holidays in the UK is the National Trust. Each year they have in the region of 400 different working holidays on offer in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, giving people the chance to learn new skills, make friends and enjoy all the usual elements of a vacation while doing some valuable work.

Working holidays are suitable for many individuals, groups and ages – students wanting a reasonably priced holiday, families wanting to try something different (up to three children aged between eight and 16 are welcome to attend with their families), singles, or couples. Go for a weekend, a few days or a whole week and choose from a variety of different types of holidays and experiences.

Like any holiday, you do pay for the experience, but it does include all your accommodations and food. And with prices starting at only £90 per week, it can work out as a reasonable way to have a holiday if you’re on a budget. Everyone stays at the same ‘base camp’, and there may be some self-catering involved, but you will have a group leader on hand who should be well versed in the ways of catering for groups, so don’t panic if you’re not a great cook!

The working holidays aren’t all just about work though – there’s a big social element to them as well – groups are usually made up of about 12 people – and you do get time off to explore the area on your own or with new found friends.

stacking paversAlthough working holidays will inevitably involve a degree of hard work, you also get to experience some fantastic locations. For example, you could find yourself working in wonderfully landscaped National Trust gardens, helping manage collections at a historic property (at Lindisfarne Castle you can also act as a room steward), helping with archaeological surveys, doing construction work, such as rebuilding and repairing footpaths or storm drains, or learning important rural skills, like dry stone walling or hedge laying.

For families, the holidays are tailored towards their needs, with the rest of the group made up of other parents and children. Working activities for families are designed with children in mind. Some of the working experiences that families get involved with include tasks such as cleaning and clearing beaches, clearing vegetation and creating deadwood habitat piles for small animals.

The National Trust working holidays are ideal for anyone who enjoys being outside (as most of the holidays are), of helping to provide valuable conservation help for historic homes or gardens and meeting and sharing the experience with other people. There’s so much variety on offer, that you’re sure to find an area of interest to you.

Although lying on a beach and spending your entire holiday relaxing may seem appealing, if you go on one of the these holidays, you can not only save money, but also return home with the knowledge that you’ve made good use of your time and made a difference too.


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