Community Events UK Directory

Gap year do-Gooders can do Harm



Helping out at an African nursery or digging trenches in rural India has become a fashionable – rite of passage for a generation of young Britons.

But many volunteers end up doing more harm than good – and the gap year trend is even being blamed for potentially fuelling child abuse in the host communities.

Mounting concern that the growing numbers of tourists keen to work in orphanages in countries such as Cambodia and Nepal could be leading to local children being abandoned or abducted to meet the demand has led to calls for a radical rethink on the ethics of so-called voluntourism. Read More »

Ethical Boat tour of Philippine Islands



holidays between El Nido, in the north of long, thin Palawan island, and Coron, further north, off Busuanga island.

Drifting with good intentions

The endless ocean, broken occasionally by sand-fringed islands, stretched before me. A salty breeze caressed my face and two magnificent sails billowed bright in the sunlight as we headed into the unknown. I was on an oceanic adventure, sailing across the Palawan archipelago in a replica of a boat that first crossed these Philippine seas more than 1,000 years ago.

My trip was a taster of a new tour by local company Tao Philippines, which offers off-the-beaten-track sailing holidays between El Nido, in the north of long, thin Palawan island, and Coron, further north, off Busuanga island. Taking in areas few tourists visit, it directs some of its profits to funding community projects across the islands. Read More »

Eco-Hotel Spa Yves Rocher



spaAt Spa Yves Rocher, in the heart of France’s Brittany region, you’re definitely in five-star-boho territory. Everything about the Eco-Hotel, including the elegant treehouse, immerses you in a sensual experience with nature.

Let’s start with the food. The restaurant, Les Jardins Sauvages, serves organic meals made from ingredients grown by local gardeners, prepared by local bakers, craftsmen and apiarists, all within 20 or so miles from the hotel. Read More »

Keeper’s House Inn



living off grid, off grid livingWorking Lighthouse in Isle au Haut, Maine:

Yearning for a true island getaway? “No television, no fax, no e-mail, no Internet, no electricity,” promises the Keeper’s House Inn.

A 40-minute ride on the mail boat from Stonington takes you across Penobscot Bay to Isle au Haut, on which dwell about 75 full-time residents, a stubby 1907 lighthouse, and the comfy but rigorously off-the-grid inn. There’s no electricity here, save for some solar and windmill power supplementing the gaslights, candles, and kerosene lanterns. Read More »

Gadget-free isle of Tiree



YOU know you are way off-grid when people view WiFi as a question.

“Why Fi? Why indeed,” came the response when I asked about about internet connection upon realising I had no phone signal.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the kids went white when we arrived at our cottage to find there was no TV signal. What the hell were we going to do for three days?

The only SKY was the big boring blue stuff outside.

But it doesn’t take long after arriving on the fantastically remote and beautiful island of Tiree to adopt a similar view to the locals. Read More »

From Gozo to Hastings – authentic retreats



It’s a cliche but Malta’s little sister island really is one of the Med’s best-kept secrets. Its ancient citadels, sun-baked terraces and Byzantine churches are a gift for location scouts (see Gladiator, Troy, Game of Thrones), but for the rest of us, the red-sand beaches and impossibly blue waters are the real stars of the show. At the end of February the low-key islanders go nuts for Carnival (28 February to 4 March).

What to do If you see only one sight ? Make it the Ggantija Temples at Xaghra – the oldest freestanding structures in the world, dating back to 3600BC. Swim in the “Inland Sea”, a lagoon surrounded by cliffs and connected to the sea by a narrow limestone archway. Relax on the gorgeous sandy beaches at Ramla Bay and San Blas. Gozo’s crystal-clear waters offer some of the best dive spots in the Med – you can book dive and snorkelling trips in the harbour town of Marsalforn. Read More »

Cruising the Sea of Cortes



Eco-cruising  - new to World Travel Market

Mexico, but not as we know it

SAN EVARISTA, Mexico — Rising at dawn to catch the sunrise, cruise passengers nursing coffee cups watched as the Safari Endeavour glided past the Baja Peninsula’s ragged coast.

As the rays played over the cliffs, each thumb-shaped cove and crescent beach came into view for a minute or two, then slid out of sight, disappearing astern.

Fifty metres off the starboard bow, a whale surfaced, blowing an airy spray and leaving a widening circle of ripples. On the port side, a squawking band of seagulls hovered over a rocky islet shared by a colony of croaking sea lions.

They – and the Endeavour – were the only signs of life, or so it seemed to this first-time visitor to the Sea of Cortes, a 1,000-kilometre long finger of ocean separating the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. Read More »