A solar-powered music festival in Wales, a museum topped with a living roof, and the "world's first farm in a shop" in London - here are the five visitor attractions listed in this year's Guardian Green Travel List.
Centre for Alternative Energy, Powys Whether you want to learn how to turn old fabrics into bags, find useful hedgerow herbs, learn eco buildings skills or organic gardening, the Centre for Alternative Energy is the go-to place, offering short courses and accommodation in the on-site eco-lodge which sleeps 18. CAT has evolved from a 1970s outdoor laboratory to an internationally renowned family friendly visitor centre, explaining the green way of life and what is possible with dozens of exhibitions that cover just about every eco technology under the sun. There’s a playground too, but it’s an interesting place to visit even if you’re not planning to live in a straw bale house any time soon. Come by train (the nearest station is Machynlleth) and entry is half price. Entrance £8.50 per adult, £4 per child.
Car Free Walks, UK Car Free Walks is a website on which users share walking routes in the UK that can be reached by bus, train, coach or ferry. Each is given a grid reference, elevation profile and link to the relevant OS map, with information on nearby accommodation, pubs, cafes and other nearby walks. Users can rate walks and add their own routes to the growing database. Prizes are offered for the best submissions.
Party Neuf, Monmouthshire Party Neuf has pioneered the solar-powered music scene, providing non-fossil fuel energy to power lights, PA systems and stages for the last 26 years, at venues including Glastonbury. It now runs its own festival, the Croissant Neuf Summer Party near Usk, Monmouthshire in August, generating all its power on-site from solar panels and instigating green initiatives such as biodegradable beer glasses and a post festival recycling clear up. Last year’s biggest name was Ed Shereen, but there are craft and healing areas, yoga and other workshops, and it’s very family friendly. According to Party Neuf, an environmental audit showed that, on average, festival goers at last year’s Summer Party generated less than 50% of the CO2 they would have done if they’d stayed at home. Adult tickets (2011 prices) £88, children £35.
FARM:shop, Dalston, London "The world’s first farm in a shop", as FARM:shop Dalston describes itself, is an experiment in urban agriculture that combines a cafe and arts venue with a mini fish farm, rooftop chicken coops, indoor allotments and a polytunnel, to grow as much food as possible in what was once a derelict shop. While the space plays host to regular talks, tastings, parties and events (from a ho-down dance in the polytunnel to an olive oil tasting), the produce grown on the site is also served in the cafe, in dishes such as fresh tilapia with a dollop of hydroponic chilli and tomato chutney. Devised by Something & Son, an eco-social design practice, it aims to roll out the concept around the UK so is calling for anyone with a spare rooftop, balcony or vacant land to get in touch. Open Monday-Saturday 10-5.
California Academy of Sciences, US Over recent years no city worth its salt has failed to construct a major new museum or art gallery. But among all this show-stopping architecture, San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences stands out. Set in Golden Gate Park, and designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, this natural history museum went for sustainability rather than spectacle when it was rebuilt in 2008. Partly powered by solar panels and insulated with recycled jeans, the building is home to the world’s largest all-digital planetarium, its deepest living coral reef exhibition and a four-storey rainforest. But its prize exhibit is overhead; the museum is topped by a 2.5 acre living roof, the largest swathe of native vegetation in San Francisco, and one that provides a habitat for local insects and birds as well as insulation for the building below. Entrance $29.95 per adult, $19.95 per child.
Read about the other initiatives that made it onto the Guardian Green Travel List in these categories: