Five Unmissable UK Short Breaks for the Scientifically Curious

Five Unmissable UK Short Breaks for the Scientifically Curious
27th February 2024 Samantha Anderson

Five Unmissable UK Short Breaks for the Scientifically Curious

New Scientist Discovery Tours shares the top short breaks to book in 2024, ideal for nature lovers, fossil finders, or the next Stephen Hawking.

The UK’s leading provider of science-inspired tours, New Scientist Discovery Tours, shares a collection of their top 3-day, short UK breaks for 2024. All tours are accompanied by leading experts in their topic, ideal for travellers with a curious mind looking for an immersive experience.

From learning about deep time in the beautiful Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog), to exploring the ever-changing coastal landscapes of the Jurassic Coast, or experiencing the wonders of rewilding firsthand in the beautiful British countryside of Coombeshead, these tours are all accompanied by experts in the topic.

New for 2024! The science of the Jurassic Coast, Dorset and Devon
Price from £899, departing 17 May 2024 for three days

  • A full programme of talks with local geology and palaeontology experts including Doctor Steve Etches MBE, who was recently interviewed by David Attenborough due to his involvement in finding the most complete Jurassic pliosaur ever found, on the Jurassic course
  • A private tour of Lyme Regis Museum, former home of fossil hunter Mary Anning
  • Explore the Jurassic Coast by sea on a cruise
  • Two nights’ accommodation, based on 2 people sharing a room
  • Two breakfasts, one lunch and two three-course dinners

Discover the scientific wonders of the Jurassic coast, from the ever-changing coastal landscapes to the historic beaches and geological marvels with insights from a variety of geology, palaeontology and palaeozoology experts. It is the only place on Earth where rocks from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods can be seen in one place, representing 185 million years of Earth’s history. Within these rocks are countless stories of continents colliding, landscapes being formed and shaped by time and tide, and extraordinary creatures living, dying and evolving across millions of years. This weekender is for anyone with an interest in geology, and for those wanting to learn more about the history of one of England’s most beautiful and historic coastal regions.

The science of rewilding: Coombeshead, Devon
Price from £749, departing 16 August 2024 for three days

  • Guided tours and walking safaris of 160-hectare rewilding site, breeding and reintroduction centre, and other rewilding areas
  • Programme of talks and lectures by New Scientist’s Graham Lawton and leading rewilding conservationists and wildlife experts, including Derek Gow (a driving force behind Coombeshead)
  • Opportunity to participate in a dawn beaver-watching session
  • Two nights camping at Coombeshead, a leading rewilding site in the UK which acts as a consultancy for other potential rewilding sites around Europe with optional third night free to enjoy the site at ones own leisure
  •  Two breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners (served from the garden kitchen)

This three-day trip into the beautiful British countryside lets guests experience the wonders of rewilding first-hand. Highlights include a walking safari which will allow guests to witness rewilding helpers – from beavers, wild ponies, boars and water buffalos to butterflies and birds – and a tour of the breeding and reintroduction centre, where guests will be introduced to white storks, water voles, and harvest mice, and might even catch a glimpse of a wildcat too.

Mysteries of the universe: Cheshire, England
Price from £859, departing 30 August for three days; no single supplement for solo travellers

  • Talks and demonstrations from leading experts in astronomy and a private tour of Jodrell Bank, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with iconic Lovell Telescope
  • Accompanied by an astronomy expert, who will also guide naked-eye stargazing (weather permitting) sessions
  • Accommodation at stunning rural retreat, the Grade II-listed, 4-star De Vere Cranage Estate Hotel
  • Two breakfasts, two lunches, and two three-course dinners

This three-day UK-based weekender allows guests to immerse themselves in the mysteries of the universe whilst staying at a stunning rural retreat in the UK, Cheshire’s Grade II-listed, four-star De Vere Cranage Estate Hotel. Highlights include a private tour of Jodrell Bank (home to the iconic Lovell Telescope), visiting its galleries, exhibitions and grounds including an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the historic ‘south side’, the original heart of the observatory in the 1940s and 1950s. Guests will enjoy talks from leading astronomers, astrophysicists and cosmologists – covering everything from the Big Bang, galaxy formations, stargazing, the latest research into black holes and the revelations that iconic telescopes have uncovered.

New for 2024! The science of deep time: Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog), Wales
Price from £749, departing 9 September 2024 for three days

  • Explore the National Showcaves Centre for Wales accompanied by geology experts.
  • Survey the dark skies above the Brecon Beacons with a guided stargazing session.
  • Immerse yourself in the landscapes of the Brecon Beacons with a Deep Time guided walk.
  • Two nights’ accommodation in Craig Y Nos Castle, a Grade II* listed 1840s gothic castle, that was owned by 19th-Century opera singer Adelina Patti.
  • Two breakfasts, lunches and dinners, transfers and entrance fees

Enjoy a gentle walking weekend in the Brecon Beacons, learning about the formation and geology of our earth from a range of accompanying experts, as well as how humans are impacting its future. Based in South Wales, guests will stargaze back through time, journey deep underground in caves, climb mountains, and hunt fossils with palaeontologists. This tour is designed to help guests understand the timeline involved in the formation and geology of our earth, including how humans are impacting the story.

The science of botanical gardening and horticulture: Surrey, England
Price from £899, departing 13 September 2024 for three days

  • Accompanied by leading experts in botanical gardening and horticultural science, explore the science of botany and horticulture by visiting the oldest and most horticulturally diverse Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) garden
  • Onsite talks at RHS Wisley from experts including Professor Alistair Griffiths, head of science and collections.
  • Two nights’ accommodation at the beautiful Hilton Cobham, surrounded by 27 acres of woodland
  • Two dinners and evening drinks

During this weekend break, guests will take a visit to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) garden, a hub of horticultural excellence, expanding over 240 acres. Home to some of the largest plant collections anywhere on the planet, insightful talks from leading RHS scientists will allow visitors the chance to become immersed in a broad spectrum of botanical subjects from the subtleties of soil science, identifying the plant pathogens and diseases that are impacting biodiversity and discovering how plant genetics are adapting to our rapidly changing environment.

For more information on the itineraries above and to book, visit newscientist.com/tours or email [email protected] to connect to a New Scientist Discovery Tours agent.

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About New Scientist Discovery Tours:
New Scientist Discovery Tours offers science-inspired tours, expeditions, Weekenders and cruises, creating carefully curated itineraries to the world’s most fascinating destinations. Designed for curious minds, tours are tailored for guests with an appetite for expanding their knowledge while travelling.

As part of New Scientist, the world’s leading science and technology magazine, the tour provider has an expansive network of editors, science specialists, academics and authors, who lead its experiential and exploratory trips.

Launched in 2015, New Scientist Discovery Tours currently offers over 50 tours and experiences worldwide to a committed audience of travellers. New Scientist Discovery Tours help travellers discover science through the joy of travel with minimal environmental impact, in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, people, cultures or wildlife.

For more information on the itinerary and to book, visit newscientist.com/tours or email [email protected] to speak to a New Scientist Discovery Tours agent.