When Sharon Groves first signed up for a working holiday, she was looking to try a new experience and meet new people. But it was on her fourth working holiday that she made a special connection that changed her life.

I found myself in a position in my late 20's where all my friends were in relationships and I didn't have anyone to go on holiday with. I was – and still am – a nurse and had limited funds for expensive holidays abroad. 

My sister was a member of the National Trust and showed me an article about working holidays in her National Trust magazine. 

At first I was very sceptical and wasn’t sure it was something I’d like to do on my own. In the end I decided to be brave and go for it. I’m so glad I changed my mind. 

Working in the countryside

I was hooked from my first holiday and quickly signed up for two more. I did hedge-laying in the Lake District, scrub clearing at the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Surrey and preparing coastal paths in Devon. 

I thoroughly enjoyed all these holidays. I loved the physical work, being out in the beautiful countryside and the chance to meet people from completely different backgrounds. 

A romantic meeting

It was then on my fourth working holiday at Scotney Castle in 2009 that I met my husband, Matt.  

Matt was also a participant on the holiday. I liked him from the first day and as I got to know him over the course of the week, I found myself liking him more and more.

Luckily the feeling was mutual and on the last day of the holiday Matt caught me in the kitchen and asked if I would like to see him again. 

Sharon and Matt Groves
Sharon and Matt Groves met on a National Trust working holiday
Sharon and Matt Groves

We arranged to meet the very next day and as I drove home from the holiday I was pretty sure I had met 'the one'.

A year later we moved in together. In May 2012 we had our first daughter and then got married in the October of the same year. We had our second daughter in 2014. 

I will always be grateful to the National Trust working holiday team. I would happily do another working holiday and when our girls are a few years older we might look into the family working holidays you run.