Free Spirit automatically covers a wide range of activities. You must ensure that your usual treating G.P. is happy for you to participate in any sport or leisure activity. You must also follow the safety guidelines for the activity concerned and where applicable use the appropriate and recommended safety equipment. Please read the Insurance Policy for details of the ‘Acceptable Activities’ covered as standard.
Free Spirit includes cover for a range of Winter Sports activities on payment of an additional premium. You must ensure that your usual treating G.P. is happy for you to participate in any winter sports activity. You must also follow the safety guidelines for the activity concerned and where applicable use the appropriate and recommended safety equipment. Please read the Insurance Policy for details of the activities covered.
Over 100 activities included FREE
One of the most rewarding elements of going on holiday can be the activities you take part in. Perhaps you go away specifically to take part in a sporting pursuit. On the other hand your time away may give rise to the opportunity to try something different.
Either way, Free Spirit allows you to be active with confidence while you travel. Listed below are 4 activity packs available on your policy – including over 100 as standard.
If you intend to participate in any activity not listed below, please contact us.
Of course, the most important thing is to stay safe! To participate in any sport or leisure activity, you must ensure that you follow the safety guidelines for the activity concerned and where applicable you use the appropriate and recommended safety equipment. This would include the use of safety helmets, life jackets, safety goggles and protective clothing where appropriate. Failure on any of these points will invalidate a claim.
All activities are covered on a non-professional and non-competitive basis. In other words, where there is no element of payment, sponsorship, fee or prize money involved above a total of £200.
Activity Pack 1 – included as standard
- Amateur Athletic Field Events
- Amateur Athletic Track Events
- Angling/Fishing (freshwater)
- Animal Sanctuary (non big game)
- Bamboo Rafting
- Banana Boating
- Bar Work
- Beach Games
- Body Boarding
- Boogie Boarding
- Bridge Swinging*
- Bungee Jumping*
- Camel/Elephant Riding or Trekking (UK Booked)
- Canoeing/Kayaking (White Water Grades 1-3)*
- Catamaran Sailing (inshore)
- Clay pigeon shooting*
- Cross Country Running
- Cycle Touring/Leisure Biking (up to 1,000m)
- Disc Golf
- Diving (indoor up to 5m)
- Dragon Boat Racing
- Fell Running (up to 1,000m)
- Flag Football
- Flying as a passenger (private/small aircraft/helicopter)*
- Football/Soccer (practice and training)
- Frisbee (recreational)
- Glass Bottom Boats (inshore)
- Gorilla Trekking (booked pre-trip –in a group – up to 1,000m)
- Handball (practice and training)
- Highland Games
- Hockey (field – organised amateur match)
- Horse riding (no jumping)
- Hot Air Ballooning*
- Indoor Skating (not ice)
- Jet Boating*
- Jet Skiing*
- Laser Tag
- Low Ropes
- Model Flying
- Model Sports
- Motorcycling up to 125cc on public roads for up to 14 days per trip (no racing – must possess a licence allowing you to ride an equivalent motorcycle in the UK or Channel Islands)*
- Mountain Biking (up to 1,000m)
- Mountaineering (in a group – all up to 1,000m)
- Paddle Boarding (inshore)
- Pigeon Racing
- Pony Trekking
- Rafting (white water grades 1-3)*
- Rifle Range*
- River Punting
- Roller Blading/Skating (not ice)
- Rowing (inshore – recreational)*
- Safari/Safari Trekking (UK Organised)
- Sailing/Yachting (recreational – inshore)
- Scuba diving (not solo – up to a maximum 30m)*
- Segway (supervised, non-competitive)
- Skate Boarding/Scooters (non-motorised)
- Snorkelling (inside marked areas and/or with lifeguard present – inshore)
- Swimming (inside marked areas and/or with lifeguard present)
- Swimming off a Boat (with a qualified supervisor in attendance – i.e. a lifeguard – inshore)
- Swimming with Dolphins (inside marked areas and/or with lifeguard present – inshore)
- Sydney Harbour Bridge Climbing (professionally organised and supervised)
- Table Tennis
- Theme Parks
- Tug of War
- Unicycle Riding
- Wakeboarding (inshore)
- Water Parks
- Water Polo (swimming pools only)
- Whale Watching (professionally organised)
- Yachting (inshore – crewing)*
Please Note: those activities marked with an asterisk (*) do not have Personal Accident or Personal Liability cover.
Activity Pack 2 – additional premium required
- Abseiling (indoor/outdoor climbing wall up to 25m)*
- Camel/Elephant Riding or Trekking (non-UK booked, organised tour only)*
- Climbing Wall (indoor/outdoor, up to 25m)*
- Cycle Touring/Leisure Biking (between 1,001m & 2,000m)**
- Fell Running (between 1,001m & 2,000m)*
- Hiking/Mountain Walking/Rambling/Trekking (in a group, between 1,001m & 2,000m)*
- Mountain Biking (between 1,001m & 2,000m -excludes downhill)**
- Parasailing/Parascending (over land or water – Europe only)***
- Safari/Safari Trekking (non-UK booked, organised tour only)*
- Sea Canoeing/Kayaking (under qualified supervision – inshore)**
- Sea Fishing (inshore)**
- Shark Cage Diving***
- Summer Tobogganing***
- Water Skiing (inshore)**
- Windsurfing (inshore)**
- the Medical excess is increased to £150 whilst participating in any of the activities within Activity Pack 2.
- An activity marked with * means the benefits under the Personal Accident section are reduced by 50%
- An activity marked with ** means the benefits under the Personal Accident section are reduced by 50%
and there is no cover under the Personal Liability section.
- An activity marked with *** means there is no cover provided under the Personal Accident or Personal Liability Sections.
Activity Pack 3 – additional premium required
- Breathing Observation Bubble (BOB)
- Canoeing/Kayaking (white water Grades 4 -5)
- Cycle Touring/Leisure Biking (between 2,001m & 3,000m)
- Fell Running (between 2,001m & 3,000m)
- Gorilla Trekking (non-UK booked, organised tour only, in a group and up to 1,000m)
- Hiking/Mountain Walking/Rambling/Trekking (in a group, between 2,001m & 3,000m)
- Hydro Zorbing
- Mountain Biking (between 2,001m & 3,000m – excludes downhill)
- Rafting (white water Grades 4-5, Europe only)
- Sand Boarding
- Sand Dune Skiing/Surfing
- Tree Top Walks
Please Note: the Medical excess is increased to £200 and no cover is provided under the Personal Accident or Personal Liability sections whilst participating in the activities included in Activity Pack 3.
Activity Pack 4 – additional premium required
- Cycle Touring/Leisure Biking (between 3,001m & 4,000m)
- Fell Running (between 3,001m & 4,000m)
- Gorge Walking (no ropes)
- Hiking/Mountain Walking/Rambling/Trekking (in a group, between 3,001m & 4,000m)
- Kite Boarding/Buggying/Surfing
- Land Yachting
- Mountain Biking (between 3,001m & 4,000m – excludes downhill)
- Via Ferratta
Please Note: the Medical excess is increased to £250 and no cover is provided under the Personal Accident or Personal Liability sections whilst participating in the activities included in Activity Pack 4.
Need cover for Winter Sports?
Specific cover for Winter sports is available as an option.
Unusual staycation ideas are something we think our free spirits might be looking for after the UK’s Environment Secretary recently advised us to holiday at home this year.
A staycation is a holiday that’s spent closer to home. The benefits are that they’re less stressful to plan and travel to. For example, it’s easy to plan if you’d like to avoid flying. However, a staycation holiday can be a bit more exciting than just driving an hour down the road to a distant town! Here are some unusual staycation ideas, accommodation, and inspiration, for a unique UK holiday. Many long or short breaks in the UK can be enjoyed at any time of the year!
Glamping Holidays in Glossop, Derbyshire, and the Peak District
Derbyshire sits in the heart of the Peak District National Park and welcomes ramblers and nature lovers alike. In spring, walk among beautiful flora and follow the many walking trails to see newborn lambs, before experiencing the buzz at a cattle market. It’s a highly accessible location, just 15 miles east of Manchester and 24 miles west of Sheffield. One highlight is a visit to the market town of Glossop, which used to process wool in the 18th century. You can visit Glossop by train and go glamping in its surrounding beauty spots.
What is Glamping?
Glamping or “Glam Camping” gives you the opportunity to appreciate being close to nature, while enjoying luxury accommodation, unlike traditional camping. For more, unusual holiday accommodation ideas, stay in a glamping pod, bell tent, vintage gypsy caravan, luxury yurt, or even a treehouse! Whatever accommodation you choose, it will come with a range of facilities you wouldn’t normally expect while camping, such as WIFI, television, your own shower, a fitted kitchen, and even your own butler!
Where else can I go Glamping in the UK?
- The Lake District. Home to Beatrix Potter, The Lake District boasts a mountainous landscape and 16 lakes.
- The Cotswolds is known as the largest area of natural beauty in England and Wales. With almost 800 square miles of rolling hills, it’s the perfect location for a walking or cycling holiday.
- The Yorkshire Dales is full of friendly locals, pubs and famous for the three peaks: Whernside, Ingleborough, and Penyghent. It’s also a nice place for climbers and walkers.
For a little more luxury (but still keeping with the unusual staycation idea) you could visit Wales, where you can find and rent quirky cottages with hot tubs…
Hot Tub Holidays in Wales
Planning a staycation for a long weekend could be a relaxing and romantic way for you and your partner to spend some quality time together. Take your pick of hot tub holidays across north, south, and west Wales and stay in a wood cabin or coastal cottage by the sea.
Wales has a Celtic culture to discover and its rugged coastal path offers a 186-mile trail to ramble around. A typical day might see you photograph volcanic beaches while you enjoy the sea air from rugged cliff tops. After that, what better way to soothe your muscles than a dip in your own private hot tub?
If you’re a fishing fan, head to the River Wye, which flows from central Wales and is said to be one of the UK’S best fishing locations.
Fishing on the River Wye is best from early March to August. Look out for trout or catch salmon in the upper river.
Where else is good for a UK fishing holiday?
- In a fishing lodge with a hot tub in Lincolnshire, tuck into famous Lincoln sausages and mash, steeped in hot gravy.
- One of many fishing cottages dotted along the river Severn. Running from the Cambrian Mountains in mid-Wales to Bristol, the Severn is the longest river in Great Britain.
- If you like carp fishing go to Totnes in sunny south Devon, which is best visited in the summer months.
Also in Devon (or, more specifically, the Bristol Channel), you’ll find Lundy Island…
Unusual Staycation Ideas on Lundy Island
A holiday for history lovers, Lundy Island is a show-stopping British staycation option. With stories of religious piety to piracy, explore 3000 years of history, from the Marauding Vikings who named it Lund –ey (meaning Puffin Island), to the present day. Now owned by the National Trust and managed by the Landmark Trust, you can discover this historical holiday destination by sailing on the Oldenburg ferry, from Bideford or Ilfracombe. In winter, hop on a helicopter and fly between Lundy and Hartland Point. Remember to take out a Super Duper policy to be covered if your journey is delayed or disrupted.
While there, enjoy the absence of roads, cars, and pollution by climbing rugged cliffs and walking along gentle grassy slopes to view the range of wildflowers and – of course – puffins. Spring and autumn are the best time to watch them. Diving and scuba diving trips are also an option. Plunge into the waters of one of the best diving sites in the British Isles, where over 200 ships lay bare and 2,500 creatures can be found per square meter on the seabed. If you go scuba diving, follow the safety rules and guidelines up to 30 meters and you will be covered under the sports and activities section in our policy.
To top it all off, you can stay in one of 23 historical cottages, which include castle keeps, a lighthouse, or a radio room. Lundy Island is a historical holiday in England.
If you’re a big fan of history there are many options. One is to head north. You could experience a stay in Rosslyn Castle, near Edinburgh, or try an Iron Age Dwelling like an old Broch in Coigach, Scotland. As you can imagine, Scotland is a unique UK holiday location, with its own quirky accommodation to choose from. Pick from one of many fairy tale locations…
The Scottish Highlands – perfect for quirky staycation ideas
For an enchanted staycation, spend some time in the lively fishing port of Mallaig. To get there, take a once-in-a-lifetime ferry ride from Inverie (near Loch Nevis). Look out for humpback whales, and even dolphins which regularly grace the cool waters and turn your stay into a wildlife watching holiday! Or, jump on the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William, dubbed the most beautiful railway in the world to take in the spectacular views. These include the Glenfinnan Viaduct (AKA the ‘Harry Potter Bridge’).
What unusual accommodation could I stay in?
- Great Glen yurts, near Fort William, where you can start your walk to the top of Ben Nevis.
- The Isle of Skye. Spend a week going on boat trips! Look out for the local birdlife, while camping or stay in a luxury Shepherd’s hut.
- Go Native Indian – try out a stay in a wigwam on the West Highland Way.
- Or go east and stay in an Eco Retreat Treehouse at Brockloch. A unique staycation option if you’re looking for a cosy staycation away from WIFI but without sacrificing mod cons such as hot running water.
Thinking of an unusual staycation idea for all the family and your four-legged friend? Find a dog-friendly holiday by a loch, lake or stay in a charming cottage by the sea…
Dog-Friendly Staycations in Cornwall
Cornwall has many things that make it a great summer staycation. Sit back on the sand, with a pasty in hand. Breathe in the fresh sea air, while you and your dog gaze across the blue, green aquamarine coastline. Or maybe your dog will be more interested in the pasty?
Either way, with many quaint fishing villages to explore, finding dog-friendly places to stay and visit should not be a problem. All you need to do is find a self-catering holiday cottage, which is dog-friendly. An obvious location is Padstow and Newquay. Known for their ports, some of the best waves in the UK for surfing, fabulous fish restaurants, and glorious beaches. However, if you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter we suggest the following…
Dog-friendly locations in Cornwall:
- The small port of Fowey; where you can enjoy walking, cycling, and water-based activities such as kayaking. This might even be the perfect location for an activity holiday if you’re holidaying with a young, adventurous family.
- The Lizard; the most south-westerly point of the British Isles, which is full of picturesque coves and beaches to explore.
- Polperro, an unspoiled 13th-century fishing village. Follow one of the many coastal paths and enjoy lunch at a neighbouring fishing town.
Whichever unusual staycation idea you choose, if you hold a Free Spirit Annual Multi-Trip policy you’re covered for UK travel. Plus, our UK holiday insurance is available for specific dates, by taking out a single trip policy too.
Find all the details about Free Spirit UK Travel Insurance before you book your next UK holiday here.
The dog friendly places you usually take your dog for the day, may be appealing if you don’t want to travel too far from home but what about when you both want to venture somewhere new? Allow yourself to be more adventurous. Pinpoint some great places to walk the do, while on holiday instead!
There are many dog friendly places to visit across the UK. Each makes for a suitable visit at any time of the year. Plus, your dog will be delighted to join you, whatever the British elements have in store!
Going on a dog friendly holiday is also good for your health because watching your dog wag its tail and have a good time unconsciously makes you feel happy. Walking among nature is an opportunity to practice mindfulness too. Here, you will notice nature and wildlife in more detail.
However, before leaving home, you will need to consider the best dog friendly places you can eat at, stay in and visit along the way.
1: Can I take my dog to the beach?
Of course, it’s full of exciting smells and sounds! Plus, there are lots of dog friendly beaches to visit along the British coastline. Just remember to keep your dog cool and refreshed, their paws clear of any sharp objects and use the waste disposal bins provided.
Be mindful that only a small number of beaches will allow dogs to visit all year round. Some may even request that your dog remains on its lead during its visit. Things are more relaxed in the off-season (1st October – 30th April) when there are fewer people at the beach.
To find some good places to walk your dog, while you gaze across beaches and out to the ocean, click here.
2: Which dog friendly activities can I do on holiday?
Try a dog friendly glamping holiday, perhaps in a forest setting. Or, on a warm day, cook up a meal on the BBQ! For a more active dog, a hike through a National Park in the autumn will provide him/her with lots of new scents and the sound of crunching leaves. You could also teach your dog a new skill on holiday, like Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). Easy for a smaller furry friend and a fun challenge for you to try too.
3: Where are the best dog friendly places for a family day out?
English Heritage has over 150 properties which you and your dog can visit across the UK. They include castles, abbeys and ancient settlements, where you can learn about English history. If you keep your dog on a lead, most gardens, wildlife and country parks are also dog friendly.
4: Are dogs allowed in pubs in the UK?
There are many dog friendly places to eat in across the UK because dogs are not prohibited in pubs and restaurants. This is of course at the discretion of the proprietor and dependant on food safety procedures that are in place. If you’re lucky, you may even find a pooch-friendly menu for your dog to enjoy a treat come rain or shine.
5: Can you book a dog friendly holiday cottage at the last minute?
There are lots of places to stay with dogs, from The Isle of Wight to remote locations in Scotland. So booking dog friendly accommodation at short notice should be possible. Just think about how long the drive is to your destination and if the distance will make your dog stressful. Whether you are going for a weekend break or a few weeks, Free Spirit UK Travel Insurance can cover your trip. Plus, if you have to cut your trip short, you will be covered for up to £5,000 towards loss of accommodation and pre-paid excursions.
6: What should I take to a dog friendly holiday cottage?
- Your dog’s bed and blankets to cover the sofa, chair or bed your dog will be lying on during his/her visit. This will reduce any marks, mud or hair your dog may leave in the cottage.
- A folder with your dog’s medical information. So if he/she requires veterinary treatment while away, you have their details to hand.
- Your dog’s lead, bowl, food, favourite toys and blankets or basket.
- A poop-a-scoop or doggy bags to be a respectful visitor in the area.
- A pre-packed pet first aid kit may also be useful.
7: Where are the most dog friendly places in the UK?
To provide you with some dog friendly holiday inspiration, read our blog entitled: The top 10 dog friendly holidays in the UK.
COVID travel post lockdown is going to look and feel very different in the UK and around the world. However, this means that your journey will be more safe, comfortable, and enjoyable than ever before!
Free Spirit Travel Insurance believes that everyone has the right to travel, no matter their age, disability, or medical condition. Therefore, we hope that our COVID travel guide will give you the confidence to travel once again.
When can I travel?
From April 12th we have been able to go on a domestic holiday or staycation – if you’re staying in self-catered accommodation. Pub gardens and outdoor restaurants will also be open.
So, if you see yourself as a foodie, spend a long weekend tasting a different town’s local cuisine. Or, take yourself on a culinary journey across the UK! You could start in Norfolk for a Cromer crab supper and finish in the ‘Land o’ Cakes’ (Scotland) for dessert.
May 17th is the date highlighted on our calendar for international travel if all goes well. After this, we will have to wait and see which destinations are cleared for travel by the government, and which ones we will have to self-isolate on return to the UK. Although if this is no issue for you, we can offer you specialist cover to travel against FCDO advice.
When should I book a holiday?
Whenever you feel comfortable booking a trip, make sure you find an airline or tour operator who’ll give you as much flexibility as possible within their booking terms. This will allow you to change the dates or defer travel if required. We strongly recommend a package trip as you will benefit from legal protection.
Once booked, take out Free Spirit travel insurance on the same day. That way you will have cancellation cover in place straight away. You will also then have all the features and benefits for your chosen level of cover. For instance, a Super Duper Policy is a good level of cover to have as it provides cover for the disruption caused by a natural disaster such as a volcanic eruption that affects air travel.
Where can I travel?
As the UK vaccination programme continues to progress, countries around the world are ready to open their doors to British citizens. Find out where you can travel after you’ve had your COVID vaccine, at-a-glance using our helpful guide and summary table.
If you want to stay closer to home you could spend some time exploring London town from the 12th April, while staying in rented accommodation, within one of the leafy suburbs like Richmond or Hampstead.
Do I need travel insurance for a UK Staycation?
Yes, it’s wise to obtain travel insurance for a staycation. The specialist cover will protect you against unexpected events, which could still happen during a UK holiday.
Why do I need travel insurance for a staycation?
- If you need to unexpectedly cancel your holiday. Due to illness, injury, redundancy, or bereavement, you’ll need cancellation and curtailment cover. This will help you claim the cost of your unused accommodation, any pre-booked outings, or travel expenses.
- It may be sensible to get staycation insurance if your hotel or cottage goes into administration before your departure, due to the economic climate.
- Your breakdown cover may need upgrading to help you get towed if you’re more than 10 miles away from your home or destination.
- Your home insurance may not cover all your personal belongings outside of your home as standard. Plus, if you’re travelling with many expensive gadgets and/or equipment, these items can add up. Especially if you’re travelling as a family of four or more.
- If you have annual travel insurance for multiple trips abroad it may not cover you for a staycation.
- You still need cover for adventurous activities if you are in the UK. Plus, it will come in handy if your expensive equipment is damaged or stolen. Or even if you can’t ski, due to the piste being closed during a ski holiday in Scotland.
On the other hand, if you want to treat yourself or your family to a summer’s holiday in Europe, there are sure to be options within a few hour’s travel time.
If so, check the expiry date on any EHIC cards. If they are out of date soon, order your new GHIC Cards, for access to healthcare in participating countries.
Of course, there is no need to limit yourself to European travel – further-flung destinations are also likely to be available to you too.
COVID Travel Maps
- To make a decision based upon where the lowest numbers of COVID cases are around the world, visit the CNN Health website where the number of cases is updated every 15 minutes.
- Visit the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to view a map and list of COVID-19 travel recommendations by destination.
- View the Kayak website which has a COVID travel map to illustrate which countries have entry restrictions by air, for travel into the country.
Who can I travel with?
If things go according to the government’s plan:
- from May 17th, two households of up to six people can meet inside. So from this date you could go on holiday with another household.
- from June 21st anyone you choose. By this time all legal limits on social contact within the UK should be lifted. Not only will you be able to holiday with family and friends. You’ll also be able to have a party before jetting off!
You just need to meet the entry requirements of your chosen destination and fill out any mandatory paperwork if you choose to holiday outside of the UK. We have gathered some of the most important info on ‘green list’ destinations on our at-a-glance guide.
With a Free Spirit policy, whether you’re jetting off somewhere exotic or going on a UK staycation, we’ll cover you and everyone in your party. Whatever their age or medical condition. Free Spirit is one of a rare group of specialist providers that provides cover for the vast majority of medical conditions. We can even cover travellers who are waiting on further treatment or investigation for some diagnosed conditions. Give us a call if this applies to you and we will do all we can to help.
COVID Travel Rules
If you go on holiday with a burning desire to explore the local area you can still do so – as long as you follow the rules and guidelines in your destination.
Travelling on public transport after lockdown
If you can, aim to travel by foot or bicycle when venturing around the UK or within a foreign city.
Many cities are trying to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians, for a safer and stronger recovery out of lockdown. For instance, Milan and Barcelona have ambitious plans for road-space reallocation and Berlin introduced a pop-up bike path.
On public transport services, measures are being put in place to facilitate physical distancing, such as reducing capacity on individual services and increasing service capacity to rebuild safe and connected cities. Be additionally aware of public transport rules set by the country you’re visiting.
3 rules to always follow on public transport post lockdown:
- Follow social distancing rules.
- Remember your face mask.
- Be prepared to make a contactless payments, to prevent the spread of illness. Doing so will also speed up the service for you and your fellow passengers. You may find that many services will only accept contactless payments for these reasons.
COVID Travel by bus or coach
Physical distancing at bus stops and stations has been put in place in many locations. You may even encounter two-meter spots for you to wait for a bus. Many bus stops themselves have also been enlarged. On a lot of buses you can now board from any door, reducing your contact with the driver and/or other passengers.
While onboard buses, look out for handwashing facilities and any monitoring systems. These will allow you to report any COVID-related symptoms to the driver.
For many coach operators, fumigation has started to become part of the daily cleaning regime. For further details, contact them before your trip to find out more.
COVID Travel by Train
Is it safe to travel by train during the COVID pandemic?
Trains are in fact much safer than you would imagine. In fact, the risk of COVID-19 infection on rail travel is less than 0.01% on an average journey (or 1 in 11,000 journeys), and that’s if you’re not wearing a face mask or practising social distancing!
The risk is halved again when the mandatory COVID-19 travel rules are followed.
Either way, it’s best to follow the advice set by National Rail while travelling in the UK, or another country:
- Travel when it’s quiet
- Use a hand sanitiser and wash your hands before and after your journey.
- Wear your face covering.
- Keep your distance between staff and other passengers.
Precautions for COVID Travel by air
Precautions for air travel post lockdown will include the use of face masks and standard-issue PPE and gloves for all staff. The easy availability of sanitisers will also become the norm. Several airlines in Asia and Europe have already made masks compulsory for both passengers and crew. For more information, read our blog on face masks.
Airports around the world are aiming to enhance their customer service. Their goal, hastened by the pandemic, is to ensure you have a safe and comfortable experience, from the moment you reach the airport.
What will air travel look like when it returns?
- Enhanced health protocols will mean you’ll have to arrive at the airport earlier.
- Pre-booked security processes will enable you to turn up at a set time slot. This way you’ll receive a personalised experience because there will be no queue.
- Contactless solutions will allow you to order food, drinks, and even duty-free shopping from your mobile to your airport lounge.
- A digitised airport journey will emerge, including contactless passport desks.
When you reach a country’s border, testing regulations processed at check-in will catch any positive cases. While your vaccine will be a way to keep the population protected. Both these actions need to be followed to keep everyone safe, to allow quarantine-free travel to return.
You should also plan for travel disruption. If a country closes its borders, it may do so with little or no warning. Before your journey, check with your transport operator for the latest travel advice on your route.
What will cruise travel look like post lockdown?
All being well, the UK government is planning to allow domestic cruises to reopen from 17th May. If you’ve never tried one before, now may be the time to give cruising a go. Either way, it’ll certainly give you the opportunity to travel again!
Which cruise lines will be offering domestic cruises in the UK?
- Princess Cruises have plans to set off in October.
- P&O Cruises are to start a series of short breaks and week-long trips in the summer.
- Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will begin a series of UK voyages for summer. Each will sail from Southampton and travel around the UK for UK residents.
- Viking Cruises will begin departures from Portsmouth.
While on board, all passengers and crew will receive daily non-invasive saliva PCR tests. Additional health checks, sanitisation, and physical distancing measures will also be introduced.
If the UK cruise industry can demonstrate that they can operate carefully and follow the correct protocols within the UK, cruising to Europe may then be made possible!
What activities can I do on holiday post lockdown?
It’s your holiday, so if you’ve had your full vaccination, give yourself the freedom to do something you’ve missed doing!
You might want to consider outdoor activities. After all, outdoor spaces (like hiking trails, national parks, and beaches), give you more room for social distancing measures, which will likely still be required in many destinations.
Don’t forget, a benefit of taking out a Free Spirit policy is that over 100 activities are included for free. So feel free to experience something new while away! Just follow the safety guidelines and use the appropriate, recommended safety equipment provided.
Why is it important to have COVID Travel Insurance?
It is important to purchase the right travel insurance after booking a break, to give you the confidence to travel.
Free Spirit travel insurance is ideal because each policy includes enhanced COVID-19 cover. When you travel abroad, COVID-19 cover includes emergency medical and associated costs, as well as state hospital benefits.
You can also choose from two different levels of cover – Super or Super Duper. Each comes with COVID-19 Cover, which includes: cancellation, repatriation, and emergency medical expenses to give you the freedom to travel.
So, in the event that you or one of your party is taken ill, or tests positive for the virus, just before you’re due to travel, our insurance will allow you to claim for cancellation and irrecoverable costs. For more details click here.
We hope we’ve included everything you needed to know, to have an anxiety-free holiday. However, if you have any questions or queries, please get in touch.
Cycling holidays allow you to feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face while giving you the freedom to discover new cycle routes within attractive, natural surroundings. Cycling is also a great way to exercise and can help you bounce back from an illness or injury. Your mental health is sure to get a boost too!
You can book cycling holidays which last a few days, or you can take a one-two week cycling break, to explore your chosen destination. In this blog, we’ll explain how to prepare for a cycling holiday and uncover top cycling trails and hotspots, at some of the most attractive UK holiday destinations.
How can I Prepare for a Cycling Holiday?
To train for a cycling holiday and avoid returning home over-tired or burned out you should do the following:
- Give yourself a warm-up by getting your body ready. Go on some weekend rides (or extend them) in the lead-up to your cycling break. Psychologically you’ll also feel prepared too.
- If you’re going on a cycling holiday in a group, pinpoint the route/s you plan to take, as well as what you all want to see and do in-between your cycling. You might even want to go for a couple of rides solo too.
- During your holiday have a ‘recovery day’, or a day when you decide to go for a shorter, flatter ride. This could be dependent on the weather, so read the forecast before leaving home.
- Prepare your bicycle by making sure your gears and brakes are in good working order. You might want to have these serviced or even replace them beforehand.
- Take removable layers of clothing that’ll wick away sweat (such as a base layer, packable jacket, arm, and leg warmers), so it doesn’t cool on your skin during descents.
- Make sure you have a comfortable saddle for any endurance rides, by testing it in advance. If you’re hiring a bike it is usually no problem to fit your own saddle, which you know to be comfortable.
- Remember to fuel correctly each day. Eat porridge for breakfast, for a slow release of energy throughout the day. Then in the evening, have a portion of pasta, rice, or a potato dish. In hot weather, drink more and eat less, and in cooler weather drink less and eat more.
If you follow these steps, you should return home with an improved level of fitness. If you are a beginner the health benefits should be even more pronounced, once those aches and pains ease off…
Cycling Holidays for Beginners
A good distance to cycle every day is between 40-60 miles if you’re on a bicycle tour. However, this can be shorter or longer, depending upon your level of fitness. As it’s your cycling holiday do what is comfortable to you and only push yourself as much as you are confident to. As it is your holiday the emphasis is on enjoying yourself, relaxing and not placing too much pressure on yourself – unless you want to! Otherwise, cut down the distance and enjoy a leisurely bicycle ride!
What you should do is fewer miles on your first day. This is because you’ll be slower, due to not being in your best physical shape on day one. So just set yourself a manageable goal. Then, the longer you cycle, the stronger and faster you’ll become each day and the further you’ll be able to ride.
For easy rides that allow you to take in some of the best scenery in Britain, you could follow an old railway line, cycle through tunnels, or find a flat, traffic-free track. You can always break up your chosen cycle trail to stroll around nature reserves, and stay in country villages too!
Easy Cycling Holiday locations for Beginners:
- The Manifold Way, Staffordshire; is an eight-mile track that runs between Hulme End and Waterhouses, which follows the old Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway. Ride through a 100m tunnel after views of a limestone gorge in Staffordshire Peak District.
- The Hadrian’s Cycleway, Cumbria; which is a coast-to-coast cycling trail. Covering 174 miles (280km), you can decide which part you want to cycle along and which pubs to refresh yourself in by viewing Hadrian’s Cycleway Guide Book However, it’s very accessible for the casual cyclist, with glimses of Hadrian’s Wall within some of England’s most wild and dramatic countryside.
- The Camel Trail, Cornwall; follow old and historic railway lines, from Padstow to Wenford Bridge. Cycle past moorlands, and through the wooded Camel Valley – there’s the bonus of an award-winning pub on route! This trail is said to be good for both solo cycling holidays, but also family cycling holidays because it’s largely a traffic-free trail, easily broken up into small chunks to cater to your or your families overall fitness levels.
What is the best time for cycling?
Morning is the best time for cycling, which is great news if you love to capture a sunrise! As the sun is at its lowest then, you can avoid the peak heat and embrace comfortable morning weather. As you start to pedal, your increased blood flow will also wake your body and you’ll feel fresh to enjoy the rest of the day. After a cycle in the morning, you could then stop for lunch and explore the sights of a coastal village, or shelter from the sun under a tree with a picnic, or even go for a dip in the sea!
Where are the best places to take a cycling holiday in the UK?
There are a number of top destinations to choose from in Great Britain. However, if you wanted to cycle around the UK, which is known as The Great Tour (billed as the UK’s “ultimate cycling challenge”) it would take you 64 days, riding 60 miles each day.
Here are a selection of cycling holidays for you to choose from, which should be slightly more manageable for you and your party…
Cycling Holidays in Devon
If you admire the contrasts of Devon’s coastline, from its rocky north to its sandy, southern coastline, a cycling holiday coast to coast could be for you. The 102 -mile route through rural Devon, fr
om Ilfracombe to Plymouth can be ridden in two days. However, for families and newcomers to cycling holidays, you can cover the mainly, traffic-free route over three days.
Or, choose to have a more relaxed journey by completing the route in two weeks. As you ride, you’ll pedal along historic railway viaducts, through tunnels and over the charming Devonshire countryside. You can find places to stop in at Barnstable, Okehampton, and Tavistock.
Cycling Holidays in Dorset
Choose from one of three Jurassic coast cycling trails or complete each one over a week, for a jam-packed adventure cycling holiday in Weymouth, on the Jurassic Coast! Thanks to Dorset Country Council, the trails are fit for both young families and avid cyclists. Each starts from Overcombe, Weymouth’s eastern seafront.
The Lodmoor Trail is perfect for youngsters. At three miles long it includes a stretch along the pretty Preston Beach and goes around Lodmoor Country park and Nature Reserve. The Weymouth Trail (8.5 miles) follows the Weymouth Way to Abbotsbury, where you’ll find a Swannery and Sub-tropical Gardens. The longest trail is the Portland Trail, which joins the Rodwell Trail which will take you to Osprey Quay and Portland Marina. With views of Portland Habour, you can enjoy a well-deserved seafood supper.
You can book a guided cycling holiday with different providers across the UK, which can include overnight stays. On these types of cycling holidays, you’ll have the opportunity to make new friends, while cycling in a group. Your guides can also suggest both long and short routes, which suit your level of stamina.
During a guided cycling holiday in the Cotswolds, you’ll cycle through historic villages and down quiet lanes, as you embrace the quintessential Cotswold countryside. Start in Moreton-in-March and finish at Chipping Campden, within five days, by choosing long and/or short routes. Along the way, pause to wander around ancient streets, markets or visit Hidcote Manor Gardens. For a weekend cycling break, follow the Chipping Campden Circular.
Guided Family Cycling Holidays in the Lake District
Spend some quality time with your family during a cycling holiday in the stunning Eden Valley. To develop your cycling skills and to cycle more confidently and safely, start your guided break with a maintenance check from your MIAS (Mountain Bike Instructors Award Scheme). Then spend the next three days cycling between 10-20 miles across flat terrain. Within the hills and Lakeland Fells, visit the 13th century, Brougham Castle.
What won’t be included in a guided family cycling holiday is travel in
surance, which is where Free Spirit can offer you a range of benefits, such as curtailment cover if you need to cut your trip short unexpectedly. Free Spirit will also cover you for mountain biking, cycle touring/leisure biking (up to 1,000m), as well as over 100 other activities for free.
In contrast, if you’re looking for a self-guided or solo cycling holiday, Northern Island is a great choice…
Any cycling holiday in Ireland will be an adventure! For a self-guided cycling holiday in Northern Ireland, take one of the ‘off the beaten track’ routes from Belfast, which can be mapped out for you by a travel provider. They can also book your accommodation and luggage transfers too.
Over the course of your cycling break, roll along cycle greenways, past stunning seascapes and mighty mountain passes, and visit some top UK heritage sites, such as the Giants Causeway. One route that is perfect for novices, all ages and abilities is The Lagan and Lough Cycle Way. Just 20.3 miles long, spend a week or less taking in cityscape views. While cycling through a number of beautiful parks, stop for a picnic before finishing at Lisburn docks. If you love wildlife watching or nature photography, you might want to stop in at The Belfast Lough Nature Reserve to watch redshanks, oystercatchers, and black-tailed godwits.
Cycling Holidays in Wales
Begin a cycling holiday in Wales from the medieval market town of Ludlow, on the England-Wales border. Start with a visit to Ludlow’s 11th-century castle and choose from one of Ludlow’s many cycling routes. If you’re a fan of fishing, there are plenty of trout streams to stop off at.
For a challenge, follow The Radnor Ring, which is the remotest part of Britain south of the Highlands. Follow the signed route across the Radnorshire hills towards the Wye Valley.
A route full of archaeological intrigue, covering 108-136 miles it may be an ideal off-the-beaten-track holiday, as well as an attractive location for cycling. On this vast route, you can always cycle a section of it. For instance, cycle through the Elan Valley dams and head for the Red Kite feeding station at Gigrin Farm.
Wherever you’re pedalling around you’ll need some comfortable accommodation after a day on the saddle…
Cycling Holiday Accommodation
- A Farmhouse for the family
For a luxury cycling holiday stay in a thatched farmhouse within the heart of The New Forest, which will be roomy enough for all the family – including the dog! Get out the board games and play in the games barn when the weather’s wet. When dry, head to Forest Leisure Cycling to hire your bicycle and hit the plentiful cycle tracks.
- A cosy holiday cottage
Do self-catering in style, while staying in a charming cottage surrounded by cycling routes for all abilities. For couples, enhance your romantic break! Find a cottage with a hot tub cottage. Or, travel solo and focus upon your own self-care needs after a long day of cycling.
- A hotel surrounded by cycling routes
Find a sport, craft, and spa hotel surrounded by cycling routes. Here, you can hire an electric bicycle, before deciding which bike trail to follow. You could then extend your stay, to include a couple of days at the spa, or book into a wellness retreat to recuperate and reap all the benefits of your cycling break.
Whichever UK holiday destination attracts your attention for a cycling holiday, don’t forget Free Spirit UK travel insurance. There are many features and benefits of taking out a policy, such as COVID-19 Cancellation Cover. For more information contact us.
Many post COVID travel trends have emerged, as the course of the pandemic has evolved over the past 12 months or so. However, thanks to the unveiling of the roadmap out of lockdown, hand-in-hand with the first signs of spring, we have the freedom to look forward to travelling again soon.
Here are Free Spirit’s favourite up-and-coming post-COVID travel trends, which we may well be experiencing shortly.
Conservation Minded Holidays
If you loved awakening to the sound of birdsong during lockdown and now want to give something back to nature, take part in a conservation project or go on a conservation holiday. Reduce the decline of the UK’s wildlife, maintain the upkeep of their natural habitats, and return farmland back to nature, on a sustainably-minded travel experience.
The idea is to encourage guests to bring a UK ecosystem back to its natural state through rewilding and regenerative farming. In return, you’ll have a calming experience engaging with nature, enhancing your wellbeing not to mention your all-round health.
Stay within a secluded nature reserve or grassland estate, in a farmhouse, cottage, or Shepherd’s hut. However, remember that you will need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. If you’d just prefer some peace and quiet, opt for an isolation holiday.
Isolation Holidays for post-COVID Travel
Want to keep away from crowds and follow social distancing rules comfortably? Head for the hills and take a break off the beaten track. You could discover a heritage site in the UK, that you didn’t know existed. Otherwise, travel to one of the UK’s unique islands or archipelagos such as St Kilda or the Isle of Skye on the west coast of Scotland.
If you’re aiming for a holiday destination with lots of open space, you could also treat your four-legged friend to a dog walking holiday, for a scamp around in the countryside. He/she will be able to experience some new sights and aromas, while you have the perfect excuse to tuck into the best of Britain’s locally sourced cuisine.
Self Drive Holidays
If you want to escape to the open road, one of the many self-drive holidays in Canada could be for you. For instance, you could explore Nova Scotia. Two national parks and whale watching are just some of the attractions on offer! What is more, Canada has actually been endorsed as the ideal destination by many recently because it is especially suitable for social distancing.
It’s a fab destination for post COVID travel because you can avoid the crowds easily during a ‘fly-drive holiday‘. However, if you are keen on the idea of exploring while behind the wheel, but want to do so closer to home, you can also find just as many routes in the UK for an adventurous UK self-drive holiday.
Travelling through a country instead of over it also gives rise to options that support sustainable travel.
When the world went into lockdown, nature was given an opportunity to breathe again as carbon dioxide levels dropped and overtourism was paused. Since then, a growing number of people have gained a passion for sustainable travel and care for the environment. To do so, look for options to minimise use of airline travel altogether. Look for options to explore a country by travelling through it via train, bicycle (bike-packing) or partly on foot.
This practice taps into a trend called slow travel. It is becoming ever more popular as it allows for more immersive experiences of a destination, and connections with the locals who call it home.
If you enjoy a cruise, you can do so sustainably too. Check out this surprising eco-friendly cruise ship.
What was your favourite UK holiday destination as a child? Why not go back to that seaside town or countryside location and introduce it to the rest of the family?
Wander off to see if that sweet shop is still there or if the walk to the beach really is that long. Is your favourite café still there? If not, discover a new one. Either way, you’ll have lots of memories to share and new ones to make with your travelling companions!
Spend some much-needed time with family or friends. Think of the type of shared experiences to make up for lost time – why not consider an outdoor activity that you’ll all enjoy. When it comes to accommodation, there are lots to choose from in the UK, from a cosy cottage to a treehouse in a forest. You could even stay on a boat during an especially laid-back canal boat holiday!
Bucket List Breaks
Do you have dreams of ticking off a trip that’s top of your holiday wish list? Something special to celebrate, a milestone birthday, celebration, or anniversary? The last year may have been one you’d rather forget so make up for it by fulfilling your bucket list break of a lifetime! Fit in all of your favourite outdoor activities, accompanied with an attractive backdrop and some suitable accommodation and you’re ready to go!
You could even book your own tropical birthday bubble somewhere like The Maldives to keep in line with social distancing. Wherever you decide to go, to ensure you’re proved with financial protection book a package holiday and ensure it is ATOL protected.
A type of holiday close to home, which encourages you to be spontaneous! A minication is when you book a short break at the last minute. Why not allow yourself to indulge in a few throughout the year? You could base yours on a hobby or interest, and meet some like-minded friends along the way.
Or go solo and immerse yourself in nature. Stay at a wellness retreat. We’ve touched upon minications within recent blogs, so here are a few ideas to add to your list…
Free Spirit’s Minication Suggestions:
- Start by stargazing under a dark sky.
- Wake up for wildlife watching in May.
- Tee off a rewarding golf holiday.
- Take the tribe away for a family activity holiday during the October half-term.
- Rest up or energise yourself at a wellness retreat.
- Visit some of the best botanical gardens at Christmas to see magical light displays.
- Take to the slopes for a ski holiday in Scotland.
A UK holiday or ‘staycation’ has been on top of many minds since the first lockdown. It’s simply a new name for what we Brits have been doing since the birth of the British railway, which took us to the coast to escape the cities. Staycations are now a popular option to help us escape home life.
They’re also a great alternative if you’re nervous about air travel or aren’t comfortable leaving Britain’s shores at the current time. Another great benefit is taking the opportunity to take your pick of unusual staycation accommodation and outdoor activities to do, to create a unique UK holiday.
Slightly longer than a staycation, change your scenery for weeks or months at a time, by relocating to a different part of the UK for an immersive holiday. During one month, learn about a village, town, or postcode by living like a local. Find some inspiring activities to do led by friendly, local experts who you’ll be supporting within the community. Yoga, sand surfing, and pottery making, there are plenty of options and you’ll be sure to make some new friends too.
After reflecting upon the post COVID travel trends for 2021, we feel it’s time to spend some time indulging in travel and hope we’ve inspired you to try something new. Whatever type of holiday you’re most drawn to and wherever that may be, don’t forget to take Free Spirit Travel Insurance along for the adventure!
Golf Holidays are a way to relax with friends and family in the sunshine. As the days start to get longer and brighter, take the opportunity to master your handicap, while catching some rays.
For men and a growing number of women, a golf break over a long weekend can be a way to spend quality time together. While you chat and walk within attractive grounds, before relaxing with a refreshment or two.
If you’re new to golf, or an avid player, we’ve found the best places to enjoy new surroundings while you improve your skillset. Attractive and challenging courses are not hard to find to embark on a glorious golf holiday in the UK, but here are some ideas for where to start.
Dust off your golf clubs, (or hire some new ones) and we’ll show you the top places that you can tee off from.
Golf Holidays for beginners
If you’re new to golf or want to brush up your skillset, book a golf tuition break. You can attend a residential golf school with courses designed for beginner to advanced players. Here you’ll learn in small groups with a professional on the driving range, short game area, or within indoor swing studios. Whatever the weather you’re sure to improve your handicap by the end of your break.
Where can I find a golf tuition break for beginners in the UK?
- Shropshire where golf was first played in 1889 at Ludlow Golf Club.
- East Sussex, which is home to two championship golf courses within 1100 acres.
- Loch Lomond Scotland where you can learn under the watchful eye of PGA Golf Professionals.
A Golf Holiday in Scotland
With over 550 golf courses to choose from in Scotland, you will be spoilt for choice! However, we recommend visiting St Andrews for a golf break known as the ‘Home of Golf’. Although the Old Course is said to be on every golf fanatics list, the surrounding areas are full of historic and high-quality courses too. Try playing at New Course, Jubilee, or Castle Course at St Andrews Golf Links, each of which with outstanding designs coupled with luxury accommodation.
Golf Breaks in England
As one of the biggest counties in England, Yorkshire has 190 golf courses. There are hidden gems as well as the better known locations found around the country’s major cities of York, Leeds, and Wakefield meaning plenty of accommodation options. So don’t just book the best course or resort ahead of time – snap up some good accommodation near the course in advance too. Then before you head off, Free Spirit will cover you for cancellation and curtailment, in the unlikely event that you need to cut your trip short.
If you’re looking for a flat course with heritage, head to Harrogate Golf Club which is home to a 100-year-old colonial-style clubhouse. For an enjoyable journey from tee to green on every hole, go to Ganton Golf Club, near Scarborough. Ganton is ranked as one of Europe’s top 30 Championship Courses, meaning you’ll find greens in top condition throughout the year.
The Midlands includes Derbyshire, Hertford, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, and Northamptonshire, which will provide you with a medieval backdrop of ancient woodlands. The Notts Golf Club at Hollinwell and the Sherwood Forest Club are two to head for if this interests you. The course at Sherwood Forest is within an area of special scientific interest. The Notts is within a natural valley called Kirkby Forest and has fairways that sweep throughout wooded hillsides, heather, fern, gorse clad, and valleys. However, to play at a famous golfing center, stay at The Belfry, which has hosted the Ryder Cup 4 times between 1985 and 2002.
For novices and professionals, a golf break in Devon will test your abilities due to its varying landscape, if you tee off with coastal views, or inland, at Dartmouth, within Dartmoor’s National Park. Dartmouth Golf Club has two courses, a relaxing 8 hole course, which will test your mid to short iron play, and an 18 hole Championship Course. However, if you really want a challenge, tee off on the coast at one of Sauton Golf Club’s courses. Each is a links course, which means they’re full of uneven fairways, thick, rough, and small deep bunkers – not to mention exposed to unforgiving coastal crosswinds and driving rain.
A golf holiday in Cornwall is a popular destination because of its mild climate all year round and challenging rugged, windswept, headland links courses for experienced golfers. For a course fit for both experienced players and amateurs, try Trevose Golf and Country Club, Near Padstow, with its charming views of Constantine Bay. There’s a short course for beginners to refine their skills and a technically challenging 9 hole Championship course, ranked as one of the best in the UK. Other highly rated golf destinations in Cornwall include St Mellion, Watergate Bay, and Fowey.
Golf Holidays in Wales
Some of the best golfing holidays in Wales can be found in the south. Although there are only seven they all come in different shapes and sizes. Each will offer something special. Play the long game at Vale Resort, which covers 7,433 yards and includes one of the longest par-fives in Wales. A par five is a hole that an expert golfer is projected to accomplish, with five strokes (hits). If your aim is to beat your best during your golf holiday this course might be for you! On the other hand, if you long for picture-perfect shots, tee off at Llanymynech, Aberdyf, Aberystwyth, or Cardigan Golf Club.
Golf and Spa Breaks for couples
To relax and unwind after a long day on the fairway, combine your golf holiday with a spa break. Luckily the best golf courses in the UK are usually linked with some of the best spas. There are many benefits of visiting a spa after a game of golf too, which help you forget any nightmare shots and alleviate your muscle tension.
As you bath in hot water, your muscles and central nervous system will relax, as your body focuses upon the heat gain. When sitting in water, its natural buoyancy will reduce your body weight by 90%, to reduce the stress on your joints. A therapeutic sports massage will also prevent future injuries and improve your posture during future games of golf. Just book in advance to enjoy all the facilities!
Where can I find a golf and spa break in the UK?
- The Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa in St Andrews for a luxurious golf holiday.
- The Mere Golf Resort and Spa in Cheshire, where you can test your driving skills.
- Old Thorns Golf and Country Estate in Liphook, Hampshire, which has 51 self-catering apartments that you can book into.
Family golf holidays
Want to take all your family on a golf holiday? Just book a golf break that’s family-friendly, with courses suitable for experienced golfers, families, and beginners.
If you’d like a range of activities to do on a golf holiday, stay at Slayley Hall in Northumberland. Slayley Hall offers golf classes, with two championship layouts to choose from and different activities for children. When the weather’s fine, take a dip in the swimming pool. When dry, follow an adventure trail around the grounds. Dukes Meadow in London can offer your group not only three golf courses but a game of tennis or a slide down the ski slopes! However, if you just want a relaxed game, play at Ferndown Forest Golf Club in Dorset, before dinner at its country pub, overlooking the 18th hole.
Travel Insurance for Golf Holidays
We hope we’ve provided you with a range of attractive and challenging golf breaks to choose from. Whichever golf holiday you go for, don’t forget Free Spirit UK holiday insurance.
When you book a golf holiday for all the family, everyone will be insured – a Free Spirit insurance policy has no upper age limit. Also, over 100 activities are included for free as well as golf. Great for when you add some other activities to your itinerary to mix things up!
You could also book a golf break around a future event in your calendar, such as a family wedding or party. Just remember that the price of your policy will be based on the total cost of your trip.
Wildlife watching provides an opportunity to sit back and immerse ourselves in nature. There may be an animal you want to watch; like a rare bird, a nocturnal creature, or an insect; or you want to spend more time observing what’s in your garden, local park, or nature reserve.
Either way, to help you start spotting even the shiest of creatures, we have created this guide to help you. What to wear, where to go, and when. If you’re happy wildlife watching close to home, or wish to head off for a long weekend away, pick up your binoculars and get ready to embrace the great outdoors!
How do I start wildlife watching?
First, find the right wildlife watching equipment. Whatever your location, even if it is just your front room or the end of your street, you’ll need the right wildlife watching supplies.
Which is the best wildlife watching equipment?
- A camera trap is a wireless, digital camera, connected to an infrared sensor. It can “see” warm objects (animals) that come into contact with its sensor. When it sees an object it will record footage of the animal, which you can playback later. They might be used for conservation projects but you can also purchase them for home use and control them via your smartphone app.
- Night Vision Kit are also useful if you’re watching wildlife after dark, at home, or within a nature reserve. Choose from night vision monoculars and binoculars, which have versatile night vision units. To enable you to see wildlife easily and at a distance, they have infrared (IR)-sensitive CMOS sensors and micro LCD screens.
- Thermal imaging kits are the next level up when it comes to wildlife watching gear! They worked for James Bond and they can work for you too. They’ll give you the visibility to spot owls and deer at a distance, despite the animal’s visual camouflage. The digital camera can provide you with an image because it can sense infrared radiation (emitted heat) and translate it into a visual.
Once you have picked your equipment, next think about what to wear…
What’s the best clothing to wear?
Apart from warm clothing such as gloves, socks, and fleeces, the items below will be useful for wildlife watching, when you need to blend in with nature or walk safely during dusk and in the darkness.
Clothing for wildlife watching:
- Wildlife watching hides. A hide is a lightweight bag that you can hide in, to spot wildlife. The best ones are waterproof, windproof, and help you to camouflage in the wilderness. You can also use some of them as a poncho when walking or sit within them to shield yourself from the elements.
- Camouflaged clothing such as a jacket, trousers, and hat.
- Sturdy waterproof footwear for all weathers.
- A head torch, if you’re out in the darkness, so you can see your footing and manage your equipment at ease.
With all the wildlife watching gear and clothing to choose from you’re almost ready to go!
If you’re looking for a particular type of bird though, you may want to train your ears. Luckily the RSPB website has an easy resource for you to identify each bird you hear or see.
When is the best time to go wildlife watching in the UK?
The UK’s wildlife can be watched at any time of the year. However, not all wildlife is on show throughout each season. So just decide where you want to explore and appreciate what you do spot.
Where can I see wildlife in the UK all year round?
- Visit saltmarshes and estuaries in autumn and winter to see ducks, geese, swans, and waders.
- Along the coasts, you can watch bird migrations in the spring and autumn.
- Within urban parks, where crows, magpies, and squirrels can be spotted and both hedgehogs and foxes live. In leafy parks, you may also see deer!
- Discover ancient and unusual trees, which are the homes of squirrels and dormice.
- Rockpools are the perfect environment for the skulking crab, white starfish, blooms of sea anemone, and shrimp.
When you think about it, you might not need to travel far to do wildlife watching. The right location maybe your garden or park! To get an idea check out the Wildlife Trust website. Whenever you go and wherever you are, if you see a wildlife sighting that you’d like to report, visit theNational Biodiversity Network (NBN) website to do so. Not sure what the species is? Visit the iSpot website where a community of people will help you identify what you’ve seen.
Where can I go on a wildlife watching tour in the UK?
- The Isle of Mull, West Scotland
Visit the magical Isle of Mull and the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, located in Lochaber. Renowned as remote, the Isle of Mull is home to Otters, Hen Harriers, Red Deer, and White-tailed Eagles. Go on the Mull Nature Expedition which includes short walks, where you can learn about the habitats of the wildlife of Mull.
- Collard Hill, Somerset
To watch the flutter of the rarest species of butterfly in the UK, visit the National Trust Reserve at Collard Hill. Since disappearing from sight in the 1970s, you can now catch a glimpse of the Large Blue butterfly within quiet spots along the Glastonbury Tor. You can also book a birds and butterfly tour over two days, with a pub lunch and morning tea or coffee included during the warmer months.
In winter, go on a wildlife photography safari tour. Escape for three days to Norfolk’s biodiverse Coastline to look out for Barn and Tawny Owls by night and seal pups and pink-footed geese by day! Tuition and flash equipment can also be provided by professional, wildlife photographer David Tipling. The area has a lot of photographic potential and so do you! Visit beaches, David’s woodland hide, and Norfolk’s National Parks for some wildlife photography inspiration.
Wildlife Watching Hikes
Go for a wildlife watching hike by visiting one of the UK’s nature reserves. Seek out Britain’s best wildlife in meadows, wetlands, ancient woodlands, moorland, heathlands, around the coast, and mountains. With 224 nature reserves to choose from you should be able to find one not far from home.
The best places to go for a wildlife watching hike in the UK:
- Pembrokeshire, Wales; where you can find the small island of Skomer. Skomer’s bay provides a shelter for puffins, seals, and bluebells when you visit between 1st April and 30th September.
- The Bystock Nature Reserve, Devon; which is a patchwork of lily ponds, heaths, and open meadows. With the Jurassic Coast in the distance, you can greet the great spotted woodpecker and dragonflies.
- Lindisfarne, Northumberland; where you can take in views of the North Sea. Much of it is mudflats and marshlands but this provides the perfect home for geese, ducks, and shorebirds.
- Smardale Gill in The Peak District has a limestone landscape, which has been the home to sheep for centuries. Among its hamlets and villages, you can also spot red squirrels and wild birds such as aquatic denizens and nuthatches.
- BEES Urban Nature Reserve Bradford, Yorkshire; has existed since 1990. An area with contrasts. On one hand, it’s historically associated with Britain’s industrial past. On the other, it’s a relaxing spot where you can observe dragonflies and damselflies.
If you choose to plan a hiking or trekking adventure in a group, be rest assured that Free Spirit will cover you for hikes between 3,001 and 4,000m, at an additional premium (activity pack 4). However, if that sounds a bit too challenging, you can always find shorter walks by visiting the Wildlife Trust website. for a route. Once you have decided where you want to spot wildlife, find yourself a wildlife retreat to rest in during your wild weekend away.
The top Wildlife retreats and cottages in the UK
- Secluded Shepard’s Huts in Dorset. Sleep in a Shepherd’s hut near the Jurassic Coast. Surrounded by fruit trees within an area of outstanding natural beauty, you’re sure to wake to the sound of birdsong.
- Woodlands retreats in Norfolk; for a fairy-tale hideaway opt for a treehouse or bell tent in Norfolk’s woodland. Although small, a boutique glamping site can offer you all the facilities you require, as well as the warmth ofa wood-burning stove or BBQ. At dusk, go wildlife watching from your treehouse!
- Luxury self-catering holidays cottages in Devon; if you prefer to take all your home comforts away with you. Watch the wildlife from your doorstep while staying in a charming cottage. Sit back and take in views of wooded glades, mighty moorlands, and rolling green pastures with fluffy sheep.
- Lodges in Cumbria; for a tranquil backdrop in a remote location. Stop in at one of the Lake Districts’ beauty spots at a warm lake house or lodge. Full of traditional furnishings, it will be a nice welcome after a day searching for red squirrels, deer, and otters along the lakes.
Do remember that in the unlikely event that your accommodation provider suffers from financial failure before or after your departure, Free Spirit will cover you for End of Supplier Failure. This is one of the many features and benefits of taking out a Super Duper Policy! There are many benefits of wildlife watching too…
The Benefits of Wildlife Watching
We have a natural human desire to be close to wildlife. Wildlife watching also offers essential benefits for our well-being too.
- After spending time close to nature it has been reported that you can concentrate better (Attention Restoration Theory).
- Watching wildlife in a natural environment can help you relax and recover from fatigue.
- When we watch nature we remove ourselves from the socially constructed fast pace of life and are left in stillness to enjoy the natural world.
- As we focus all our thoughts and actions upon our encounters with wildlife, it provokes a deep feeling of well-being, spiritual fulfilment, and psychological health benefits.
What should also be noted is that the long-term advantage of preserving wildlife is not just so we can watch. Through conservation projects, initiatives can be put in place to protect human health. The Conservation International Reports tell us that “more than 50% of modern medicines and more than 90% of traditional medicines come from wild plants and animals”. So we should spend some time watching and appreciating wildlife when we have the opportunity to do so.
We hope we’ve provided you with everything you need to know to get set and go wildlife watching! Don’t forget that if you need to cut your break short or cancel unexpectedly, Free Spirit UK Travel Insurance will provide you with cancellation and curtailment cover if needed.