Eco Retreats in the UK

As we all try to minimise our carbon footprint, it makes sense that we look to our beautiful United Kingdom for our next retreat. Here are our favourite Eco retreats in the UK.

One way we can reduce our carbon footprint is through sustainable travel. Day to day, taking the train is the most environmentally-friendly way to travel (apart from walking or cycling of course). However when travelling further afield it can be trickier. That’s why we love staying in eco-hotels. What about doing both of them at the same time? We get it that those incredibly cheap flight tickets are really tempting. We have all been there. Once you  understand the carbon footprint of a cheap weekend in Malaga theres no going back.

However if you’re not willing to give up flying to a destination: you might as well rationalise the number of times you fly abroad. There are plenty of adorable hidden gems in the UK, and structures that are devoted to reducing their environmental impact. Travelling by train can be a good excuse to actually read that novel on the bedside table you’ve been ignoring. Or simply take some time to meditate or contemplate the landscape from the train window. Travelling by train also helps us understand the actual distance to our destination. We’ve been so alienated by flying regularly that we tend to forget the pleasure of the time spent reaching a destination. We have done a bit of research and listed our favourite – sustainable, obviously – getaways in the UK.

Image: The Scarlet Hotel

Eco Retreats In The UK

Loveland Farm (and the Stargaze Pod), Devon

Loveland farm is a unique and inspiring space where sustainability comes first but without compromising on luxury. Located on the Hartland Peninsula (part of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere), their 6 Geodesic Domes and 3 Tipis are the perfect retreats. All surrounded by beautiful country and sea views. Having developed the campsite using green technologies and taking recycling very seriously, all of the pods have composting toilets which require no water, electricity or drainage and are environmentally friendly. The campsite is also the home of Griffin Studio, a creative place that is working with the local community to create a social atmosphere bringing together outdoor sports, lectures and live music.

Calgary, Isle of Mull, Scotland

Located beside the beautiful white sands of Calgary Bay, Calgary – probably the finest beach in Scotland – the site includes a selection of eco friendly accommodation right on the coast. Needless to say, they’re also champions of sustainability. The central heating for the larger houses is provided by efficient log burners, and the wood for these comes from the community owned forest just two miles away. All appliances have been selected for their high energy efficiency ratings, and low energy light bulbs are standard throughout the premises. Solar panels are installed on the roof of the laundry to assist in the heating of the water, handy clothes lines ensure that the use of tumble dryers is kept to an absolute minimum. A designated recycling area can be found behind the apartments, while the Cafe supports local producers. Fair trade products and Ecover are used at Calgary wherever possible!

Coillabus Luxury Lodges, Islay, Scotland

This retreat in the island of Islay – the Queen of the Scottish Hebrides, is a two hour sail from the Scottish mainland. The turf-roofed and stone-clad lodges are perfect for a honeymoon or romantic retreat – take notes, as Valentine’s is approaching! Encouraging tourists to engage responsibly with the environment and to support local businesses, the cottages are part of a virtuous circle. Not only do they look stunning, but the exterior walls will never need painting and have no slates or tiles to blow away. Efficient air source technology heats the Caithness slab flooring and sheep’s wool provides insulation in the exterior walls. Wool features largely with fabrics covering blinds, curtains, cushions and throws, all from the local Islay Woollen mill. Sustainability is in the details too: the bedroom furniture, salad bowls and breadboard are fabricated from end of fruiting mango wood and sustainable bamboo. Beauty with a brain!

The Green House 

The Green house is an English excellence: the “greenest hotel in the UK” is a beautiful boutique hotel that “lives and breathes sustainability”. It’s no wonder the hotel is an inspiration for other hotels and retreats in the country. They take care of the basics  well; energy efficient lighting, asking guests to reuse their towels etc. and using the sun to help heat the water. Their 32 rooms are also fitted with locally-made 100% wool carpets and bespoke eco beds. Beautiful wood furniture has been made in the UK using trees felled by storms or tree surgeons. The menu offers local, fresh and where possible organic food sourced from producers with high animal welfare standards. All the staff are trained on sustainability, and all the suppliers used are assessed against recognised environmental standards. Truly a choice for the eco minded. 

The Scarlet, Cornwall

The Scarlet is proof that sustainability can come in sleek, elegant packaging. Touted as an eco retreat for adults, it’s situated in idyllic Cornwall with views of the ocean. This absolute design gem is also a champion of environmentally friendly policies. And not only do they serve fresh, locally sourced food since 2009, they work with Cornwall’s organic and sustainable growers, farmers and fishermen. The hotel also aims to constantly reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, they monitor energy usage and aim to reduce our carbon footprint year-on-year. You can take a look at the 111 different ways in which the Scarlet is sustainable here. We’re heading there for the Ayurvedic inspired Spa and the invigorating sea air. 

The Montagu Arms, New Forest, Hampshire

The Montagu Arms is the perfect retreat for food lovers: expect free-range organic products and the finest cuisine. Using only the best seasonal, free-range ingredients sourced from carefully selected local suppliers and its own Kitchen garden, green policies don’t stop at the kitchen. They make decisions aiming to manage and monitor the use of energy and water, reducing and recycling waste and encouraging suppliers who adopt green policies. All the whilse encouraging wildlife habitats on their properties. To achieve these objectives, they have established a Green Steering Committee comprised of senior staff members and an executive working group of employees who care about their impact on the environment.

Croft 103, North West Sutherland, Scotland

These stunning low impact buildings benefit from the very best in traditional craftsmanship and cutting-edge contemporary design. At Croft 103, Fiona and Robbie Mackay have created the ultimate escape for couples who want to be a world away from it all – together. Using their combined expertise as owner/managers of Mackay’s in Durness, they have established a completely new type of visitor experience on the family croft. Their approach has always been about quality, sustainability and the creation of an experience fully in tune with the natural environment.