Two Fifths of Crafts in the UK are in Danger of Dying Out

Airbnb and the Heritage Crafts Association collaborate on new Experiences to save unique crafts from extinction


Two fifths (37%) of traditional heritage crafts are in danger of dying out

       31% of the nation don’t remember the last time they had a hobby

       World renowned photographer Rankin has supported the campaign by capturing some of the UK’s last remaining craftspeople

       There is a growing demand as Airbnb sees 180% increase in Arts & Crafts Experience bookings in 2018*


The UK has a longstanding history of craftsmanship, however research conducted by the Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) claims 37% of traditional crafts** are in danger of dying out. There are currently 17 crafts – including clog making, paper marbling and piano making – classified as ‘critically endangered’ which are at serious risk, with a further 45 on the ‘endangered’ list. To help save these crafts, Airbnb and the HCA have joined forces to provide Experiences hosted by the endangered craftspeople on their site, that are bookable for the public.

Paper Marbler

Master Wheelwright

Clog Maker

The crafts have ended up on the endangered lists due to various factors, such as limited training opportunities and a lack of mechanism to pass on the skills and knowledge, however research conducted by Airbnb into the nation’s hobbies also provides some insight into the problem.

Hobbies have become less of a priority to the population, with a quarter (26%) of Brits stating they don’t have one, and 31%*** unable to remember their last hobby.

Unsurprisingly, the main reasons for Brits not taking part in hobbies these days were:


lack of time






other commitments


lack of skills

Although Brits may have fewer hobbies, a third of respondents stated they’d be more interested in trying out a craft if they knew it was in danger of dying out – which has now been made possible thanks to the collaboration between Airbnb and the HCA offering ‘critically endangered’ crafts as Experiences available to book on the platform.

The Experience workshops will be led by craftspeople from the critically endangered list, and guests will be able to learn about the dying crafts and the basic skills that are required. The following workshops will be hosted across the UK:

Coach Building and Wagon Making

Paper Marbling


Hand Tassel Making

Green Woodworking


World-renowned photographer Rankin is also helping to raise awareness of these dying crafts, by capturing images of wheelwright Greg Rowland, clog maker JoJo Wood and paper marbler Lucy McGrath for the campaign.

There’s so many craft-based skills which take years to properly hone and develop that are in danger of dying out. We must not let this happen. Shooting with Greg, JoJo and Lucy I got a unique insight into their work and why we should fight to keep crafts like these alive.

Rankin, Photographer 

We’re delighted to work together with the HCA and enable craftspeople to offer these unique workshops through our platform, connecting travellers and locals to authentic historical crafts. We’ve seen a growing appetite for Arts & Crafts Experiences on our site, with an increase of 180% in bookings to this category of Experiences in 2018, making it a powerful platform to raise awareness about the crafts in danger of dying out.

Hadi Moussa, General Manager for Northern Europe from Airbnb 

It has been our mission to help raise awareness and safeguard craft skills across the UK for almost 10 years. In an increasingly digital world, it’s vital to ensure that traditional crafts are taught well and thus continue into the future. We all lose part of our heritage when a traditional craft becomes extinct, which is why we are so excited to be collaborating with Airbnb to bring these unique skills to a wider group of people and hopefully, inspire them to take it up themselves.

Patricia Lovett MBE, Chair of the Heritage Crafts Association

The Airbnb x Heritage Crafts Association workshops are available to book via this link:–craft

For all UK Experiences, click here. If you’re interested in hosting an Experience, you can submit your idea here.

*Data from Airbnb on growth of bookings in the UK for Arts & Crafts Experiences, pulled on July 25 2018

**Research conducted by the Heritage Crafts Association

***Research commissioned by Airbnb and conducted by One Poll with 2,000 respondents conducted in July 2018

About Airbnb

Founded in 2008, Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where people can belong through healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable. Airbnb uniquely leverages technology to economically empower millions of people around the world to unlock and monetize their spaces, passions and talents to become hospitality entrepreneurs. Airbnb’s accommodation marketplace provides access to 5+ million unique places to stay in more than 81,000 cities and 191 countries. With Experiences, Airbnb offers unprecedented access to local communities and interests through 15,000+ unique, handcrafted activities run by hosts across 1,000+ markets around the world. Airbnb’s people-to-people platform benefits all its stakeholders, including hosts, guests, employees and the communities in which it operates.

About Heritage Crafts Association

Founded almost ten years ago by a small group of makers and those interested in craft, the Heritage Crafts Association is the advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts. Working in partnership with government and key agencies, it provides a focus for craftspeople, groups, societies and guilds, as well as individuals who care about the loss of traditional crafts skills, and works towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future. Our aims is to support and promote heritage crafts as a fundamental part of our living heritage.

To support all these endangered crafts, the Heritage Crafts Association are opening a special fund and be working towards ensuring that no more crafts are lost. Support HCA by donating towards our Endangered Crafts Fund and ensure that our most at risk British heritage crafts are given the tools and support they need to thrive. This will mean that crafts that are in danger of becoming extinct will be supported in the best ways possible.

In the UK traditional crafts are not recognised as either arts or heritage so fall outside the remit of all current support and promotion bodies. At the Heritage Crafts Association we are doing what we can to address that situation and safeguard craft skills and knowledge for the future and would appreciate any support.

The Airbnb Press Room is aimed at journalists. All Experiences referenced on the Airbnb Press Room are intended purely to inspire and illustrate. Airbnb does not recommend or endorse specific Experiences on the Airbnb platform.

Composer : Theodore Elwell ‘Climbing Ivy”