Skip to main content

Coordinators of:  

13 June 2023

Car-free holidays: it’s time to embrace the benefits

by Robin Pointon, Managing Director at GO Travel Solutions 

It’s easy to think of a car-free holiday as slightly panic-inducing! That was certainly the case for me and my wife, Lorraine, before we decided to ditch the car and travel to the Yorkshire Dales for our first carless holiday 18 months ago.

It’s no secret that travel and transport are the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions in the UK, causing around 25% of all emissions. We decided we wanted to reduce our travel impact by being more sustainable. Whilst using trains is not zero carbon, it’s a lot lower than using any form of car.

In February this year we took our fourth car less holiday where we ventured from our home in Leicester to St Ives, Cornwall. So, after taking a few car-free holidays for a spin (pardon the pun!), I thought I’d share my top 5 benefits of ditching the car!

  1. It’s better for the environment
    It’s more sustainable than using a car, and every contribution to reducing emissions helps.

  2. You get some great views along the way!
    We travelled to St Ives on the train and the journey was certainly not shy of beautiful views! Notably the seafront at Dawlish. Stunning!

  3. It makes for a longer holiday
    We kicked off our holiday with breakfast at a great eatery in Leicester city centre before getting the train. Our holiday started then, not after a 7-8 hour car journey to the far end of Cornwall!

  4. There’s less stress!
    On the train, you’re free to read, snooze, chat and eat! We don’t mind driving but not having a car close to hand didn’t make us feel restricted. It was quite liberating!

  5. It’s cheaper than travelling by car
    It was just £131.20 for the two of us to get to St Ives and back on the train with a Two Together railcard! When we were there, the maximum single bus fare was £2 and it was £5 for all-day bus travel across Cornwall. No petrol or parking charges, and no added stress of finding a suitable place to park the car!  

We’re already planning our next car-free holiday for later this year when we plan to visit Anglesey for the second time by train.

A helpful tip that we’ve learnt along the way is to ensure good planning, check bus times and local shops for food, and don’t take more luggage than you can carry! We used the Trainline app throughout our travels to St Ives and it flagged if there were any delays (there weren’t any) and what platforms trains were going from at places where we needed to change the trains. The journey was as quick as a car, with changes in London and St Erth in Cornwall.

I’d recommend giving a carless holiday a try if you’re interested in being more sustainable, saving money, having less stress, and relaxing when you travel!