Working holidays essential information
Interested in a working holiday? Find out what to expect on your holiday with us.
What's included in the cost of your holiday
- Accommodation in a bunkhouse or specified accommodation
- Food – breakfast, packed lunch and dinner (except the evening meal on your day off, if applicable)
- Local transfer from and to the nearest bus/rail pick up point
- Where applicable, travel between the bunkhouse and worksite
What's not included
Travel to and from the holiday – some locations such as Lundy Island and Northern Ireland may involve additional costs for ferries or helicopters. You will receive more information specific to these venues with your joining instructions.
What you’ll need to pack
- A sleeping bag or sheet, duvet and pillow. At some locations bedding is provided but this will be clarified in your holiday joining instructions
- Strong footwear – steel toe capped work boots are essential for construction, dry stone walling and stone-pitching and recommended for other holidays. Trainers are not suitable for work outdoors. Strong sturdy footwear with a thick sole is necessary
- Wash kit, towel, flip flops
- Sandwich box, water bottle/flask
- Tea towel
- Set of waterproofs
- Dressing gown (useful if wc/shower is in a separate building)
- Tough, old work clothes – (please do not bring anything which you mind getting damaged, high quality clothing can be ruined by thorns and sparks from bonfires)
- Warm, casual clothes for the evening
- Work gloves – strong gardening gloves are suitable
- Small rucksack
- Insect repellent and insect bite remedy
- Sunscreen and sunhat
- Personal first aid kit
- Any medication you might need, including aspirin, etc
- Enough money for the day off, if applicable, and evening leisure activities
You will usually stay in a National Trust Bunkhouse, a farmhouse, cottage or stable block which has been converted for volunteer use. Most have fairly basic facilities but usually include a well-equipped kitchen, hot showers and bunk beds in small dormitories. They provide simple accommodation which is a far cry from the luxury of a home or hotel. Expect basic, communal living conditions and you won’t be disappointed. Some of our holidays are housed in alternative bases such as holiday cottages, isolated mountain huts or youth hostels.
Arrivals and departures
Your Working Holiday commences at approximately 6pm on the first day, allowing you time during the day for travel, and will end at approximately 10am on the last day. Short Breaks end at approximately 4pm. When booking your transport home, please allow time to travel from your accommodation to the station. Designated pick-up points will be given on your joining instructions and your holiday leader will contact you prior to your holiday to discuss your plans.
All meals are included (except an evening meal on your day off). Under the guidance of the leader, holiday participants will help prepare and serve meals. While not restaurant standard meals they are hearty, tasty and plentiful. If you are a vegetarian or follow a special diet it is vital that you let us know at time of booking or well in advance of your holiday so that the holiday leader can be told of your requirements. Our leaders are usually capable of catering for most diets, however your help in preparing meals which are suitable for you would be welcomed. If you have special ingredients which you think might be difficult to obtain, it would be very helpful if you could take some on holiday with you. If the leader needs further information in order to cater for you they will contact you to discuss your requirements.
Your holiday leader will have suggestions for group activities in the evenings and, if applicable, on the day off during your holiday (short breaks and some Active holidays do not have a day off). The activities may include visiting nearby towns or Trust properties, or you might choose to go bowling, swimming or visit a pub or other attractions. You will need to bring enough money to cover the cost.
Working Holidays groups and leaders
On your Working Holiday you will be working alongside up to twelve participants of all ages who want to contribute their time towards the preservation of our places. Your holiday leader is a volunteer. They are trained to help you have a rewarding and enjoyable holiday and work with Trust staff to ensure its smooth running. The leaders help with the day-to-day running of the work site and organise the domestic and social arrangements of the holiday. We could not deliver our programme without our skilled and enthusiastic team of leaders.
Health and safety
The National Trust is committed to ensuring that all the necessary precautions are in place to protect you from dangers or hazards whilst on a Working Holiday. Our staff will explain safety on site, including the safe use of tools, safe methods of carrying out the work involved and emergency procedures. You must follow any instructions given to ensure that you and others are safe on the work site. With the exception of steel toe capped boots, we will provide any other protective equipment including hard hats and goggles where necessary. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are protected by an anti-tetanus injection before attending the holiday.
Admission Card to National Trust properties
At our discretion, an Admission Card may be offered to participants who have completed a Working Holiday. This non-transferable card, valid for one year for participants of week-long holidays and six months for short break participants, from the start of your working holiday, will allow the volunteer free admission to properties owned and managed by the National Trust and the National Trust for Scotland.