No Fly Holidays with Not In The Guidebooks

With the COP26 taking place this week, here at Not In The Guidebooks we thought this would be a good time to highlight the option of no-fly holidays for 2022.

We’re not oblivious to the impact flying has on the planet. But we’re also not oblivious about the impact on thousands, even millions, of livelihoods that would be stripped away should foreign tourism come to a complete standstill, or of the role tourism can have in combating climate change.

However, if you’re looking for the very best way to travel sustainably, your best option to travel by car, plane, train, boat or bike.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of Not In The Guidebooks’ best no-fly destinations and holidays.

No Fly Holidays in Scotland

blue sea and beach in scotland

We often think that here in the UK, we don’t understand how lucky we are to have Scotland right on our doorstep. From the medieval beauty of Edinburgh and the urban grit of Glasgow, all the way to the rugged mountains of Skye, the snow-dusted hills of the Cairngorms and the pristine beaches of the North-West coast, there is an incredible amount of Scotland to explore by road and by rail.

Blessed with some of the most scenic train journeys on earth, not much beats sweeping through the dramatic mountain landscape in the Scottish Highlands sipping a cup of tea, before setting up near the sea in a cosy pub, a pint and a hot meal to enjoy as the sun sets over distant islets.

And with one of the world’s most infamous ring roads, the NC500, also found in Scotland, it feels as if Scotland is tailor-made to be the perfect no-fly holiday destination, where navigating hair-raising mountain passes and cruising along jaw-dropping coastal roads is as much part of the experience as the destinations you visit.

Highland Railways and Hills

train on a bridge in scotland

Starting from Edinburgh before heading north into the stunning Highlands and hills of Scotland, this adventure shows off some of the very best bits of Scotland, and some lesser-known corners of the country, via a combination of standard trains, steam locomotives, ferries and on foot.

Highlights along the way include tasting whisky in the shadow of Ben Nevis, drinking in the incredible scenery from the ‘Skye Train’, and hiking in the formidable Cairngorms. All in all, you’ll cover a huge amount of Scotland in the most environmentally way possible, and enjoy some of the best train journeys the country has to offer.

Orkney Island Highlights

stone circle in orkney scotland

You can’t get much more off the beaten track in the UK than the rugged, wild islands of the Orkneys, and by catching the ferry to reach them, you’ll be ensuring that your impact on the environment as you travel is minimal. Once again, transfers are included from Edinburgh or the slightly closer Inverness, both within reach by train.

Once on the Orkney Islands, you’ll explore these outposts of the UK with expert local guides, and discover everything from Stone Age settlements, stunning sea cliffs, rare wildlife and hearty, local food. By the time you head back to the mainland, you’ll certainly feel as if you’ve visited another country, despite the fact that it’s been a no-fly holiday.

No Fly Holidays in France

village in a wine region in france

Over the other side of the Channel lies a country of endless variety. Windswept beaches and quaint fishing villages await in the northwest at Brittany and Normandy, whole worlds of culture and cuisine in addictive cities like Paris, Lyon and Marseille, snow-capped mountains and cosy chalets in the French Pyrenees and the Alps, and gold-sand beaches on the Mediterranean coast.

All of this, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. A no fly holiday to France can take you to some of the most unexpected places and deliver truly unexpected, memorable experiences. That small, family-run vineyard you stumbled across at sunset for a wine tasting, or the rural village square and its weekly feast of fresh, local produce on long picnic benches.

By getting away from the airports and travelling through the country by car or by train then you discover people and places you might otherwise miss. Throw in the convenience of the Eurostar and the efficiency of France’s high-speed train system, and you could be at home one day and in the pure air of the Alps the next, all without flying.

Champagne and Christmas

christmas markets in reims

The city of Reims, the unofficial capital of the Champagne region, is easy to reach by simply hopping on a Eurostar from St Pancras International in London, changing in Paris to a 45-minute high-speed train from Paris Gare de l’Est to Reims itself.

This easy no-fly journey allows you to enjoy the magical city of Reims at the most magical time of year, on a Christmas markets break that doesn’t only take you around the magnificent medieval city all lit up in festive lights, and introduce you to sumptuous local cuisine, but also gets you out of the city to generations-old Champagne houses and on Champagne masterclasses.

The South of France from West to East

hilltop village in france

Turning our gaze south, this all-encompassing tour of Southern France is another potential no-fly holiday. All you need to do is get a couple of high-speed trains from London via Paris, and you can begin a trip that takes you through the wine lands of the Dordogne, all the way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Provence.

Along the way, you’ll see stunning Chateaux and idyllic villages, hilltop medieval towns and Gothic Cathedrals, all places you may well miss if you were just to fly into a south coast resort and flop on the beach. Just another great example of how much easier it is to get off the beaten track when you travel overland.

Popular No Fly Holidays


Champagne and Christmas

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Scottish Highlands

Highland Railways & Hills

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Devon and Cornwall

Cornish Coastal Walking Adventure – 6 Day Small Group

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8-Day Explorer Tour of The Wild Atlantic Way

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No Fly Holidays in Ireland

Benbulben mountain ireland

The Emerald Isle might lie over the Irish Sea, but that’s plenty close enough to catch a ferry from Holyhead, Liverpool or Fishguard. And once you arrive, you have a wide-open expanse of rolling hills, sapphire blue lakes, lush forests and endless stretches of white sand beaches to explore, all without the pain of passport control.

Combine all this natural beauty with cities that crackle with energy like Dublin and Cork, with fishing villages and tucked away pubs filled with happily chatting locals, and you have a travel destination that’s as compelling as any that you would fly to.

Alongside this, it’s incredibly easy to get well off the beaten track in Ireland. The distant reaches of the west coast hide countless gems just waiting for discovery, but one thing you certainly won’t have to worry about with Ireland is the friendliness of the locals – there is great craic lying behind each and every one of those glowing pub windows as you search for a place to spend the evening.

8 Day Explorer of the Wild Atlantic Way

man hiking along coast near Donegal

On this incredible offbeat tour of Ireland’s legendary Wild Atlantic Way, you will travel from the city of Cork all the way northwards up the west coast to Newport, along the way discovering incredible locations like the Cliffs of Moher, the magnificent Connemara National Park, and the beautiful lakes of Killarney.

Travel by bike, by foot and by kayak, and soak up each individual place properly on this slow travel experience that strives not to rush you through the landscape, but for you to really connect with it and remember it in years to come. Throw in wonderful local guides and an insight that helps you get to know the authentic side of the region, and you’ve got yourself a tour of a beautiful part of the world that will live long in the memory.

Heart of Ireland Experience

On this shorter itinerary running out of Dublin, once you’ve landed in the Irish capital and met your hosts, you’ll be exploring some of the more intimate, local sides of the island that many tourists don’t actually experience, as you head on an itinerary that takes you as far as Galway.

From meeting local farmers and getting to grips with rural life in Ireland, visiting Ireland’s oldest pub and getting to know the regulars, making Irish soda bread and enjoying evenings of traditional Irish food, music and storytelling, this is an experience that truly gets you to the beating heart of Ireland.

No Fly Holidays in England

sunset in the lake district

Finally, of course, there is always good old Blighty that can offer the option of a no-fly holiday. Now we understand that we have just come out of a period of nothing on offer but domestic holidays, but for us, all that did was highlight just how incredible England can be for getting off the beaten track and having a great travel experience.

The stunning coasts of Cornwall or Northumberland, the pastoral beauty of the Cotswolds and the Peak District, the brooding Lake District and Yorkshire Moors, all offer a wonderful escape from the ordinary and hide their fair share of local experiences and hidden gems.

And, of course, it’s easy to enjoy any of these places as a no-fly holiday. A few hours from you could be the most beautiful little cottage you’ve stayed in your life, the best food and the most dramatic scenery you’ve come across, or your own little paradise that for a short time offers that feeling of true escapism.

Iconic Camper Van Adventure

yellow campervan being driven in the lake district

Nothing says no-fly holiday like a holiday that is entirely based around driving. On this iconic camper van adventure that sets off from Lancaster, you can enjoy that feeling of setting your own itinerary for your holiday, and the freedom of being able to set up anywhere (within reason) for the night, as you drive your accommodation through the hills of the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales.

Stop for hikes wherever you want, sleep and cook dinner overlooking incredible beauty spots, wander to cosy local pubs from your mobile accommodation, and enjoy that feeling of having nowhere to be, and no one to tell you where to go on your low-impact holiday.

Cornwall Coastal Walking Adventure

person walking along coastal path

When it comes to natural beauty in England, it’s hard to look past the incredible southwest corner of the country and the plunging sea cliffs, misty coves and golden sand beaches of Cornwall. Join a group on a walking holiday that tours the region slowly, allowing you to really appreciate the beauty of the landscape without feeling as though you are rushing from place to place.

Discover little seafront pubs serving up fresh seafood, hidden coastal paths and local highlights like St Michaels Mount, and get to know the very best of this 630 mile stretch of walking trail that matches the beauty of any other on earth.

Here at Not In The Guidebooks, we are passionate about responsible travel. To us, that doesn’t mean never taking a flight again and staying in your home town. It means ensuring your money goes to the people who need and deserve it. It means putting your cash into the future of local communities and local environments, supporting the right causes that seek to preserve authentic cultures and delicate habitats.

We believe that travel can truly be a force for good. We will never shy away from the fact that flying is problematic. But we’re also certain and have experienced first-hand the impact that responsible travel can have on an environment and community. Learn more about our stance on sustainable and responsible travel here.

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