2. Rent an Electric Car or an Electric CycleConsider renting an electric car. It’s a bit of a pioneering thing to do but you can rent electric vehicles from the Marble Arch branch of Hertz in London. The company also hires out electric cycles from that branch. The cars can go 60mph and can travel about 75 miles without a charge. If you use the car within London, you can go anywhere without having to pay the steep Central London congestion charge and there are now a variety of charging points in commercial parking garages and supermarket parking lots around London.
If you are experienced riding a bicycle in traffic London’s Cycling Hirescheme is a clean, healthy way to get around Central London. Visitors can use their credit or debit cards to unlock a bike from one of the many docking stations around the city. The first half hour is always free. As long as you dock a bike and wait about twenty minutes before unlocking another, you can ride around the city all day for free. Even if you’re nervous about cycling in city traffic, renting a Boris Bike (affectionately nicknamed for our cycle riding mayor Boris Johnson), is a good way to explore the quiet back streets, lanes and pocket parks you might never discover any other way.
Outside of London, bicycles are easy to rent. Cycle Hire in the UK is a new data base that has information about where to rent a bicycle just about anywhere in the country.
By their very nature, England’s self-catering, vacation rental cottages tend to be green vacation destinations. They’re rural, surrounded by lots of lanes for cycling and often come equipped with a few cycles for you to use. Frequently on farms, they are usual close to sources of local eggs, milk, meat and vegetables.
But if you want to be really green, look for the gold, silver or bronze awards of the Green Tourism Business Scheme. Cottages4You, one of the UK’s better vacation rental agents, has a number of properties on its books that qualify because of their green credentials – ranging from good insulation and rainwater capture to solar and wind power supplies.
6. Eat Local
Wherever you go, chase up the local specialties and look for the increasingly popular commitment to locally sourced ingredients on restaurant menus. The UK has wonderful local ingredients, ranging from Whitstable, Ipswich and Falmouth oysters, to Scottish Angus beef and delicious local lamb.
Look for English wines - showing up on more menus as they win prizes all over Europe. (Be careful though, don't choose "British" wines. These are blends, factory made in Britain from grape juice that can be imported from anywhere in the world).
At the Sportsman in Seasalter on the Kent Coast, the food is so local that the lamb, beef and pork come from farms within sight of your table. Look for Yorkshire rhubarb in season, local game and butcher-made sausages, and hundreds of local English cheeses.