We all know that we need to consider the environment and the impact we have on it: simple steps like booking a sustainable holiday go a long way, and these days, there are heaps of wonderful eco-friendly places to stay all over the UK, ranging from off-grid escapes in the country and back-to-basics camping to environmentally friendly hotels and B&Bs. Here's a selection of our faves.
When renovating this 18th-century Georgian farmhouse tucked away in the heart of Somerset, the owners took positive action to enable sustainable living by minimising pollution, waste, energy consumption and water usage – to achieve this, they use 100% green electricity, PV panels to produce electricity, solar tubes for hot water and recycle all waste. Plus, old school insulated curtains are double-lined for added warmth, wood-burning stoves are used throughout, and furniture is upcycled. The result? A super stylish countryside retreat that's kind to the planet too.
Tilbury Farm is a tranquil and very rural place to stay, nestled within 45 acres of farmland and with breathtaking views over Somerset's Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and one at which no expense has been spared and no detail overlooked. There are two holiday cottages, each with open-plan living rooms and one double bedroom, but if neither of these is quite romantic enough, they also have a couple of Shepherds Huts – set in a huge field of their own, they’re well-positioned and super private. To top things off, Tilbury Farm has impeccable eco-credentials, with a biomass boiler, solar energy, water from their own bore-hole and a strong emphasis on recycling.
This hideaway camspite above Ullswater is a real family favourite, set amid the fells on an old Cumbrian farmstead, with dramatic views to all sides. Their eco-hearts are in the right place too, manifest in their unique 'Hobbit Holes', large underground living spaces with awesome views that are insulated and energy-efficient. The site's water is solar-heated and they have a specially created wildflower meadow while also boasting what they describe as 'the best campsite bar in Britain'. And, their shop has started the transition to zero waste.
The largest of all the Suffolk local holiday cottage providers, Suffolk Secrets is an excellent one-stop-shop with top-notch eco credentials. Straw Bale Cottage is a characterful single floor unit constructed from straw bales, a luxe 'eco home' with thick walls and clay plastering and heating powered by an attractive wood pellet burner in the living area.
This rural retreat sleeping up to five in Herefordshire is as eco-friendly as you like: natural materials have been used throughout – the beams are fashioned from oak sourced from the nearby forest – and the building has been clad with more timber, reclaimed slates and breathable, old-fashioned lime. It also boasts underfloor heating and hot water provided by a ground source heat pump. It's an amazing structure, and it feels almost a privilege to stay there. There are acres of nearby woodland to explore, an adjoining field to play in, plus access to a fire-pit, hammock, woodland swing and kite – which even novices should be able to fly.
The folks behind the glamping and camping
at Graig Wen also run a lovely boutique B&B, housed in what was once a Victorian slate-cutting mill in glorious Snowdonia National Park. They're passionate about sharing and protecting their special surroundings and are making changes both now and in the long term to protect the environment and reduce the impact of their business on it, with measures such as minimizing use of gas,
electricity and water and reducing waste by installing more energy efficient systems, using wood burning stoves fuelled by their own timber and obtaining water from a mountain cavern.
This is a gorgeous spot in where four yurts and a romantic shepherd's hut form the nucleus of a thoughtfully planned glamping site. The owners aim to create glamping holidays with a low carbon footprint, whilst at the same time ensuring a fun experience for guests. There is an abundance of wildlife, and they try to manage the meadow and their own garden (5 acres in total) to encourage diversity. Their efforts have been recognised with the award of a Suffolk Carbon Charter Gold Award.
Deep amongst the birds and the bees, the bushes and the trees of the beautiful Waveney Valley, not far from the Norfolk Broads, Wardley Hill Campsite is a simple rural meadow, a lush, six-acre space of long wild grass, ageing oaks and trickling streams. It's an eco-friendly place too: the main field has been subtly sown with wildflower seeds, boosting the butterfly numbers; there are two composting loos, housed in a shelter made from reclaimed timber along with a gas-powered shower; and the site is as populated by wildlife as it is by people.
This award-winning B&B in a quiet part of Blackpool prides itself on personal service and attention to detail. The house style is glam-boutique rather than understated – guests can enjoy a host amenities including whirlpool baths in each of the three individually styled rooms, and there's a hot tub outside in the garden. It's also one of few B&Bs that has a pod point: electric cars users can charge it overnight at their very own, universal charging socket.
This rustic woodland spot is the home of Anna and Pete Grugeon, who came to live in Henson's Wood a decade ago after years spent travelling in their campervan. They built their own eco-friendly home in the trees there, and run this unspoilt stretch of Devon forest as a place to stay and a venue for courses, events and all sorts of countryside activities. They rent out a cosy cabin set in a super-secluded woodland clearing as a perfect off-grid romantic getaway, a snug shack almost entirely handcrafted from wood – much of it using the trees that surround, from naturally fallen oaks to locally coppiced cherries. Electricity is provided by nearby solar panels which powers the wifi, USB sockets and an electric cool box.