Types of working holiday

Volunteers clearing bracken on a National Trust Working Holiday, at Bosigran Farm, Cornwall
Bosigran Farm, Cornwall National Trust Images / John Millar

Fancy helping behind the scenes in one of our houses, conserving the landscapes we protect or digging at a real archaeological site? We've got a varied programme of working holidays to suit every interest and ability. You'll meet like minded people and help us make a difference.

Volunteers will need to be aged within the limits indicated. If you require any further information on age restrictions, please contact our holidays team via email or telephone us on 0344 800 3099.

Each individual holiday is listed under one of six main categories:

Trust (age 18+ cost: from £135)

These holidays are accommodated in base camps, simple hostel type communal accommodation. Domestic tasks are shared between the group.

Short Break (age 18+ cost: from £85)                                                               

Designed for those who don't have a whole week to get away, short breaks are only two to four nights long. They offer the opportunity to get involved with the valuable work of the National Trust in a short space of time.

Hand Picked (age 18+ cost: from £140)                                                              

We have hand picked accommodation in a limited number of locations, where participants share twin or triple rooms, rather than dorms, which sometimes have en-suite facilities. In these bunkhouses the relaxation areas and domestic tasks are still shared by the group.

Youth Discovery (age 16-18 cost: from £135)                                                        

Designed specifically for those aged 16-18 to give the opportunity to carry out conservation work and enjoy social activities with other teenagers.

Family (children age 6-16 accompanied by adults age 18+ cost: from £125)                           

Perfect for families with children aged between 6-16 years, this is a great way to make new friends and to spend some quality time with the family. There are plenty of fun activities for adults and kids such as pond dipping, learning survival skills, carrying out plant surveys, rock pooling and scavenger hunts.

Helping Hands (age 18+ cost: from £100)                                                            

A holiday specially designed for physically able-bodied people with learning difficulties to come along on a working holiday with their carer or family member.

The holiday is then assigned at least one activity type, which indicates the nature of the work that the volunteer can expect to do during that holiday.

Here's a list of the activities that you can take part in on a working holiday:

  • Active - these unique holidays combine essential conservation work with exhilarating active pursuits including surfing, sailing, wild swimming, coasteering, walking and cycling.
  • Archaeology - dig up a little piece of the past by getting involved in an existing archaeological project. This is a perfect holiday for those who are interested in archaeology and want to get to grips with how an archaeological site looks and functions.
  • Coast and countryside - help preserve some of Britain's most beautiful landscapes with a variety of activities. You could be clearing invasive plants, cleaning beaches or maintaining ponds. No matter what you know you'll be making a difference.
  • Construction - for those who like to see the finished product of the fruits of their hard work this is a very rewarding hands on task. Make a real difference by helping with vital rebuilding and repair works including walls, footpaths and storm drains.
  • Event - a unique chance to help out behind the scenes at one of our popular events. You could be helping with the smooth-running of a fete, Christmas fair, family fun-day or even dressing up in costume to bring our special places to life. These are holidays with a difference and as well as setting up, running and clearing away the event you'll also get the chance to experience it for yourself.
  • Farming - get hands on experience on a working farm such as getting involved in stock management and a host of practical tasks like gate hanging and fencing. See how quality food production and conservation are working hand in hand.
  • Gardening - help create a masterpiece in one of our stunning gardens whilst soaking in the scents of fragrant flowers and the shade of leafy canopies overhead. You may be deadheading roses, trimming box hedges or planting new eye catching beds of tulip or lavender.
  • Historic houses - walk behind the rope and through the doors marked private in one of our impressive properties. You may learn to handle historic collections, archive material or put the house to bed at the end of the season. Typically indoors these holidays do not rely on the great British weather!
  • Rural skills - a chance to learn traditional skills from an expert whilst carrying out vital conservation work. You could be learning the ancient art of hedge-laying, coppicing woodland, developing green wood work skills or making cider.
  • Special interest - a working holiday with a twist. These unique holidays combine essential conservation work with activities such as digital photography, arts and crafts, bush craft and medieval stone carving.
  • Surveys - there are a huge number of animal and plant species to map and record by carrying out biological surveys. This is one of the less physically challenging holidays that allows you to enjoy the local wildlife, including bats and butterflies.

Some holidays offer a variety of activities, and these are indicated by having more than one activity symbol in the brochure calendar.