Archives for March 2021

Attitude Magazine has featured Melissa Tilling, Charitable Travel’s founder and CEO, Melissa Tilling as one of their 13 transgender trailblazers to celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility on 31 March 2021. Read the full article here!

'Melissa Tilling is one of the bravest women in the travel biz: “I’m proud, as a transgender woman, that we launched our social enterprise at the start of Pride month in the middle of a pandemic,” she told Attitude. “The principles of Pride in terms of self-affirmation, dignity and equality are entrenched in our social purpose, as is helping a wide range of charities rebuild and better help their beneficiaries.’

Why not mix it up for our second lockdown Easter and try out a new tradition? We've picked 10 of our favourite destinations from around the world to help inspire you.

Australia

In 1991, the Easter Bunny was changed to the Easter Bilby in Australia, as rabbits are generally considered to be pests in the land down under. Confectionary companies now make chocolate bilbies for easter, with the profits going to aiding the endangered animals!

Finland

A combination of western Halloween and Easter, children in Finland dress up like witches and go door to door asking for chocolate eggs. The costumes are usually made up of painted faces, scarves wrapped around heads, and twigs decorated with feathers. In some parts of Finland, bonfires are lit during easter. This tradition stems from the belief that flames will ward off witches who are known to fly around on their brooms between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Poland & Ukraine

On Easter Monday, people in Poland and Ukraine throw water over each other with water pistols, buckets or anything they can utilise. This tradition, known as Śmigus-dyngus (Wet Monday) is connected with the baptism of a Polish Prince. It is said that women who get soaked on Wet Monday will be married by the end of the year!

Haux, France

Every year in this small town in Southern France, a giant omelette is made. And we mean giant, the omelette uses more than 15,000 eggs and feeds up to 1,000 people! Legend says that Napoléon himself visited the town and had an omelette that he enjoyed so much, he ordered the town to make a giant version for himself and his army!

Corfu, Greece

On Easter Saturday the people of Corfu throw pots, pans, and other clay utensils filled with water, out of their windows. Some believe the tradition welcomes spring and symbolises new crops that will be gathered in new pots. Others believe the tradition comes from the Venetians throwing their old possessions out of their windows on New Year’s Eve.

Washington, USA

Since 1878, the White House has hosted the Easter Egg Roll on the south Lawn. Started by President Rutherford B. Hayes, who issued an order that if any children wanted to come to the White House to roll their Easter Eggs (a tradition that at the time was forbidden on Capitol grounds), they would be allowed to do so. The main activity involves rolling a decorated boiled egg with a large wooden spoon. The event has become so popular than now it includes music acts, an egg hunt, sports, and crafts.

Brazil

In many Latin American countries certain regions of Spain, people take part in the ‘Burning of Judas’. An effigy (or multiple) of Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, and then burned in a central location. Similar to the Bonfire Night traditions of the UK.

Antigua, Guatemala

Cobble stone roads in Antigua, Guatemala are transformed into colourful carpets to mark Easter. The stunning rainbow-like pathways are made using coloured sawdust, vegetables and flowers and can stretch up to 800 metres long. Local artists use stencils to create the elaborate patterns and scenes covering traditional and religious themes. Feast your eyes on the display while you can – the Good Friday procession over the carpets will be followed by a clean-up team that’ll sweep up all remnants of the art.

Norway

Norwegians eat more than 20 million oranges during Easter weekend. This tradition is believed to have originated when oranges were only available during their late winter season, and they are seen as a harbinger of spring, and brighter days to come.

Bermuda

Easter Festivities in Bermuda begin on Good Friday with KiteFest. People who want to celebrate take to different parts of the island and show off their homemade kites decorated with bold, geometric patterns and colours. Throughout the weekend, people eat codfish and hot cross buns.

This World Water Day we wanted to chat about our favourite water-based activities and water sports to take part in on holiday and our top picks for places in the UK to try them!

Remember to book your staycation with Charitable Travel by 30th April 2021 and be in with the chance of winning a National Trust Annual Family Pass, and you can donate 5% of your holiday price to the UK charity of your choice at no extra cost to you! Find out  more here.

1. Wild Swimming

During the past year, we’ve all had no choice but to satisfy our travel bugs by exploring our local areas and spending more time outdoors in natural spaces taking part in various nature-based activities. One such activity is wild swimming, which is essentially swimming in outdoor spaces, like lakes, rivers, or the sea.

Our top picks for wild swimming in the UK:

Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire
Mourne Mountains, N. Ireland.
Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye
Walpole Bay Pool, Margate, Kent
Grantchester Meadows, Cambridgeshire
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Read this article from Countryfile before you go wild swimming for tips and safety advice!

If swimming outdoors appeals to you, but not so much in rivers and lakes, head to one of the UK’s lidos for a dip. There are over 100 lidos across the UK and are very popular in the summer. Our favourite lidos are the Saltdean Lido in Brighton, Jubilee Pool, Cornwall, and Ilkley Pool & Lido, West Yorkshire.

2. Surfing

Surfing has long been a popular water sport up and down the UK Coast, and during our year of staying home, it’s become clearer that we don’t need to journey to places like Maui, Bali, and Bondi Beach to catch some waves and rays.

Here’s a few of our favourite places to surf in the UK:

Portrush, Co. Antrim
Sennen Cove
Saltburn, North Yorkshire
Porth Neigwl, Gwynedd
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3. Paddleboarding

In recent years paddleboarding has become increasingly popular among us Brits, and it’s an ideal activity to try out during the age of the pandemic, it’s easy to socially distance, it’s a great workout for your core, and you get to explore some truly hidden gems around the UK. Make sure to check out this beginner’s guide to paddleboarding before you hit the water.

Our top picks for paddleboarding in the UK are:

Kingston-Upon-Thames
Wast Water, Cumbria
Loch Harport, Isle of Skye
Mawddach Estuary, Wales
Burgh Island, Devon
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4. Boating

Whether you choose a yacht, a motorboat, a narrowboat, or a canoe there are plenty of waters up, down and around the UK for you to traverse. 

For a city break with a twist, hire a narrowboat on the Oxford canal and explore the historic city, hit the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads on a yacht to marvel at the wildlife, if you’re feeling adventurous you could head out to sea on a yacht and try out your sea legs, or to keep things a little more chilled,  rent a kayak or canoe and explore waters of the Lake District.

Our top picks for boating breaks in the UK are:

Norfolk and Suffolk Broads
Oxford Canal
Hayling Island, Portsmouth
Lake Windermere, Cumbria
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5. Rockpooling and Crabbing

If you’re more beach bum than adrenaline junkie, but you still want a piece to the fun, an afternoon spent rockpooling or crabbing is an afternoon well spent in our books.  Rockpooling is a traditional seaside pastime that doesn’t have to be limited just to summertime. You can discover these brand new worlds year round.  Read up on some great hints and tips about how to get the most out of the experience in this post by findingnature.co.uk.

Here’s our favourite places to dip our buckets in the UK:

Rhossili Bay, Swansea
Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire
Loch Harport, Isle of Skye
Botany Bay, Kent
Wembury Beach, Plymouth
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Charitable Travel’s founder and CEO, Melissa Tilling, has been featured in an article by Emma Ledger, titled ‘The Happy List 2021: Meet five Covid Heroes who are making a difference this year ’. Read the full article here!

'Founder of Charitable Travel, which was launched last year as the pandemic hit, Melissa’s initiative is the first of its kind in the UK. Its mission is to help consumers combine travel and philanthropy by enabling them to donate 5% of the payment for their holiday to a charity of their choice. Booking holidays will one day (soon) be a regular part of life again, and Charitable Travel is a social enterprise itself, with a legally committed social purpose, meaning people who use it can be assured that every penny of profit and everything the company does supports charity fundraising and good causes.’

By Laura Gelder, Editor of Charitable Travel Magazine

I can’t stop thinking about Sarah Everard and I haven’t been able to since I found out that she went missing while walking home in south London. I don’t know Sarah but the last sighting of her was on Poynders Road, about 200 metres from the flat I lived in for six years.

When Sarah seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth it haunted me. She was walking along a road I’ve walked hundreds of times, alone and at night on my way back from work or seeing friends, just like she was. And it’s not just any road, it’s the south circular – a busy main artery through south London.

How can she just disappear? I kept asking this question. My boyfriend, though also saddened by the news, wondered why I was so very distressed. “Bad things happen to good people all the time,” he rightly pointed out. But this, I explained to him, is every woman’s deepest fear come true. And when you see pictures of forensics people in white suits combing pavements you walked over so often you knew each crack, police officers examining bins metres from your old doorstep, divers searching ponds you sunbathed next to at the weekend and a police cordon stretching from the road your doctor’s surgery was on to the road you used on your daily commute, it feels horrifyingly real.

For people who don’t know the area they might see it as scary London, built-up and with danger and dodgy people lurking around every corner, but I see it as home. If I close my eyes I can walk that stretch of road in my mind now and recall all the details of it. The tatty houses and the nice ones, the bus stops, the police station – yes, she would have passed that just before she was abducted.

I remember, so vividly, walking that route at night, perhaps with a few glasses of wine inside me, but always aware of the potential dangers of being a lone female – as I would be anywhere. Sometimes I would run the last bit of my journey, not on Poynders Road where the constant traffic made me feel relatively safe, but as I turned off the south circular – just where Sarah was last seen – into the quieter road that led to my front door. Usually this wasn’t for any reason other than caution, but sometimes I was shaken by a sudden paranoia when I realised it was particularly quiet or saw a lone man in my vicinity.

I can’t stop thinking about the time a man followed me on Cavendish Road (just off Poynders Road), his footsteps closing in on me just as I walked through the darkest stretch where street lamps were absent. As I wheeled around to face him he asked me for a lighter. Having politely explained that I didn’t smoke and making it clear that that I didn’t want to stop and chat, I crossed the road and he called me a ‘f**king bitch’ as I walked away, praying I would meet people coming from the other direction.

Of course that wasn’t the only incident. On the same road, in broad daylight, a man curb crawled me in his sports car, offering unwanted comments on my body. On a very dark night, metres from my front door in another part of London, I passed a man who said lasciviously, “sexy dungarees,” two words that left me dumbstruck with terror and later caused me to chastise myself for not sticking to the main road, although that would have tripled the 200-metre distance from the train station and meant I walked through a badly lit estate where a gang operated.

There are so many more incidents I could mention and just chatting to some friends on WhatsApp about Sarah I realised how depressingly normal these kinds of experiences are for all women, everywhere. One told me how she was once approached by a guy on her walk home who asked “do you live here?” before betting on how warm her bed was as he walked, uninvited, beside her.

Women always prepare for the worst when they walk home alone, because you can’t always get a taxi – especially if it’s a only a five minute walk away. Or perhaps you simply don’t want to spend £8 when you could just walk your pizza off for 20 minutes. Since Sarah disappeared women have begun sharing the precautions they take to walk home on social media and it’s depressingly familiar.

I try to stick to main roads and avoid quieter roads and parks. I carry my keys in my hand, ready to get in quickly or use as a weapon. If I have to go down a quiet road I might run or walk fast in the middle of the road to avoid dark spots, driveways or bushes which I could be dragged into. If I pass a man or group of men I glance behind me after to check that they are not doubling back on me – but subtly so they don’t think I am inviting conversation or get angry at my paranoia like the afore-mentioned smoker. I cross to the other side of the road if someone is walking behind me. I never listen to music so I can hear someone approaching. I keep my eyes down to avoid eye contact when I pass a man, in case my expression is seen as an invitation to engage, but my head up to stay aware of my surroundings.

Sarah was just like my friends and I: sticking to the main road, telling her boyfriend where she was and, I’m sure, acutely aware of potential danger. She was ready to run in her trainers and she was there to be seen in her brightly-coloured raincoat. She was walking home, just living her life, when she was cruelly taken.  

Since I started writing this a police officer has been arrested on suspicion of Sarah’s abduction and murder. My mind boggles at the thought of someone who is supposed to protect her doing the very opposite and I find it unbearable to think of the moment that she realised that she wasn’t safe.

You only have to go on Twitter to see that millions of women feel the same heart-wrenching despair and anger today, as we read the headlines and see Sarah’s face, full of life, next to the words ‘human remains’.

This Saturday the socially-distanced Reclaim These Streets vigil will take place on Clapham Common to think of Sarah and acknowledge all the women who worry about the simple act of walking home. I’ll be there in spirit, holding my head up high not in fear but in defiance and hoping for a future where women can all ‘get home safe’.

In Sarah’s honour, we have compiled five charities that are working to combat violence against women:

End Violence Against Women

This coalition of specialist women’s support services, researchers, activists, survivors and NGOs is working to end violence against women and girls in all its forms. Its vision is of a society where they can live their lives free from violence and the threat of it and its purpose is to lobby all levels of Government in the UK to improve policy and practice in response to violence against women and girls. It also campaigns to influence public attitudes towards violence against women and girls, so that there is better understanding of its causes and consequences and a better mandate for tackling it.

endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk

 

Refuge

Refuge provides specialist support to women, children and some men escaping domestic violence and other forms of violence. On any given day Refuge supports more than 6,000 people, helping them rebuild their lives and overcome abuse including sexual violence, so-called ‘honour’-based violence, human trafficking and female genital mutilation (FGM). The charity’s specialist services include refuges, independent advocacy, community outreach projects, culturally specific services and its 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline.

refuge.org.uk

The Survivors Trust

An umbrella agency for specialist rape and sexual abuse services in the UK, The Survivors Trust exists because every five minutes in the UK someone is raped and 15% of girls and 5% of boys have experienced sexual violence by the time they are sixteen. This charity’s 124 member agencies in the UK and Ireland provide information, advice, support and therapy to over 80,000 survivors each year. Its services work with people of all ages and genders, survivors of all forms of sexual violence, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, as well as supporting partners and family members.

thesurvivorstrust.org

ActionAid

Violence against women and girls, ActionAid points out, is a fundamental human rights violation which affects around one in three women and girls around the world. The charity is focused on combatting forms of violence against women and girls ranging from rape to FGM and helping survivors of violence who experience a range of problems, from depression to injury, HIV to unwanted pregnancy. ActionAid points out that women and girls living in poverty are even more at risk and is campaigning for the UK to be world leaders in gender equality.

actionaid.org.uk

Women’s Aid

As a federation of over 180 organisations, Women’s Aid provides almost 300 local lifesaving services to women and children who are suffering from domestic abuse. The charity’s ‘change that lasts’ campaign draws attention to its significant research which shows that simply listening to women can ensure help is provided earlier and its effects actually last. Change That Lasts is an approach that places the survivor at the heart and builds responses around her needs and the strengths and resources available to her.

womensaid.org.uk

Thanks to the Government’s new lockdown regulation easing, we can now start having picnics in wonderful outdoor spaces all around the UK. We’ve lined up our favourite places to nibble on a scotch egg or two for your inspiration.

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

Aerial shot of Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire

Accessible only by a half mile walk from a nearby car park, this beautiful bay backed by sand dunes and pine trees has been voted one of the best beaches in Britain and in the world! More than just a beach, you can spend your time here exploring the sand dunes, taking a dip in the sea, or examine the rock pools and caves. Remember though, this beach is isolated, there are no facilities and whatever you take with you has to leave with you.

Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire

Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire

The highest point in the East of England, Dunstable Downs affords incredible views of Aylesbury and along the Children Ridge. Any adventurer, old, young, or in between will find something to entertain, wildlife to discover, wide open spaces for sports, plenty of lush scenery to take in, and a family-friendly visitor’s centre with information about the local archaeology.

Upper Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales

Grass Woods, Near Upper Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales

Wherever you chose to go in the Yorkshire Dales, you will be treated to scenes of beautiful rolling hills and valleys and lush greenery. Upper Wharfedale follows suit. Enjoy a peaceful walk through the charming valley, dotted with pools and falls, making it the ideal place for a spot of ‘wild swimming’ followed by an amazing riverside picnic. Head a little further north of the village of Grassington, towards Grass Wood, an ancient woodland carpeted with wildflowers. The perfect spot for an idyllic picnic.

Devil's Dyke, West Sussex

Devil's Dyke, West Sussex

Discover Britain’s deepest and widest dry valley whilst taking in amazing panoramas and colourful wildlife. The increased altitude gives you incredible views over the English Channel and the South Downs and is a perfect location for kite-flying and rolling down hills, as well as picnics. The ultimate picnic spot combining stunning vistas and a fun day out.

Castlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick

Castlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick

We could have filled this list with just places in the Lake District, as it seems that around every corner and along every country lane in this National Park there’s a gem, hidden or otherwise, begging to be picnicked in. We’ve chosen Castlerigg Stone Circle as for the list however, because we would never pass up the opportunity to munch on carrots and humous surrounded by an ancient stone circle. Named as one of Britain’s most impressive pre-historic sites, you’re also offered views of four of the tallest peaks in the Lake District.

Holkham Beach, Norfolk

Holkham Beach, Norfolk

With three miles of flat golden sands, you won’t have trouble finding a secluded spot for your private picnic on this beach, despite it being a popular place for locals and tourists alike. The beach is part of Holkham National Nature Reserve, and in the dunes hide natterjack toads and a variety of wildflowers, like lavender, thistles and orchids. To work up an appetite (or work off a feast) there’s a three-hour hike that sees the landscape change from creaking pinewoods to wild-life rich marshland, to one of the most beautiful beaches in Britain.

Mussenden Temple, Northern Ireland

Mussenden Temple, Northern Ireland

Sitting pretty on the very edge of a cliff in the National Trust’s Downhill Estate, the Italianate Mussenden Temple offers one of the most beautiful coastal views in Northern Ireland. Part of and 18th Century estate, the temple was originally built as a summer library, and it is certainly a dramatic spot to sit back and enjoy a good book. We think you’d have a blast with a flask of tea and some sandwiches as well.

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

An impressive mansion and a working country estate, this National Trust property will one day allow visitors to explore the Georgian interiors, including the iconic Yellow Drawing room, but for now, only the grounds are open to the public. Take a slow stroll through the charming gardens and busy farmyard or go venture slightly further and you are rewarded with woodlands, lakes, and fields to choose from for your afternoon snack.

Marsden Bay, South Tyneside

Marsden Bay, South Tyneside

This charming bay acts as a suntrap and wind-shelter so is best visited on a sunny day. Here you can explore hidden caves and limestone cliffs or relax and watch the colonies of seabirds zooming overhead. Known locally for its colourful history with smugglers, the bay is a perfect spot for rock pooling for crabs or mussels, and stunning views of landmarks such as Marsden’s Rock and Camel Island.

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle, Dorset

Corfe Castle ruins are one of Britain’s most iconic and evocative survivors of the English Civil War and sit proudly upon the hill of the beautiful historical village of the same name. with thousands of years of history to see, it’s no wonder Corfe Castle is a hit with grown-ups and kids alike. Visit the ruins and learn about the castle’s colourful and long history, or sit, enjoy the view and tuck in.

Book a staycation with Charitable Travel before 30 April 2021 and be in with a chance to win an annual family membership to the National Trust! Call us on 020 3092 1288 or email us today!