Eco Retreats in the UK
Taking a holiday abroad is fraught with stress right now what with the UK Government changing quarantine guidelines daily. Why not stay in the UK instead? Here are our favourite Eco retreats in the UK.
Even though we’re approaching the light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to an efficient vaccine rollout and summer fast approaching, for now weekends away are likely to be UK based. Let’s be honest, as we emerge from this lockdown, we’re craving a break from the homes we’ve been confined to. There are excellent ways to get out there, and being immersed in nature is sometimes easier to reach than we might think.
The ‘Stay in the UK’ regulation has been lifted, meaning leisure travel from England will no longer be illegal. However, the Transport Secretary outlined how strict border control measures will remain in place as international travel gradually resumes. With quarantine following our holidays, spending a few days in the UK sounds still like the most reasonable choice. And why not do it the eco-conscious way?
One way we can reduce our carbon footprint is through sustainable travel and avoiding airlines whenever possible. Those incredibly cheap flights used to be so tempting. We have all been there. We’ve been so accustomed to flying regularly that we tend to forget the pleasure of the time spent reaching a destination. Why not pair a beautiful journey with an eco friendly destination? The current climate post lockdown remains uncertain, so staying at an eco-retreat in the UK is a logical solution. Especially when all of the below suggestions are open and COVID-19 safe.
Eco Retreats In The UK
The family-run Old Lands estate is designed to be a place to unwind and explore nature the eco-conscious way. You literally eat what grows in the walled garden. Learn about nature from their resident naturalist, & rewild your kids at the ‘Forest School’. In accordance with Government guidelines, these sessions will be offered to individual family ‘bubble’ groups at a time. The holiday cottages support the on-site conservation and biodiversity projects too. Solar water-heating was installed in the ’70s, and they stay self sufficient thanks to a walled garden. Bees and chickens mean you won’t go without locally sourced home comforts. Their commitment to a natural lifestyle is in the details: from curtains made from old blankets to recipes for the all-natural cleaning mixtures made from vinegar and baking soda.
The UK’S first 100% #vegan hotel was founded in Pitlochry, Scotland. Saorsa is a hospitality group committed to “showcasing that the best experiences in life don’t have to come at the expense of animals or the environment”. They create considered communal vegan spaces and events that spark curiosity and invite participation from vegans and non-vegans alike. Their flagship hotel, 1875, is designed for vegans, vegetarians and the plant-curious. This 11 bedroom hotel is housed within a 19th-century baronial edifice. The hotel’s bohemian stylings and eclectic furnishings are sourced as locally as possible or second hand. It’s the perfect retreat for plant-based aficionados. Vegan meals are assiduously planned to avoid waste, and electricity is supplied by Ecotricity, the UK’s first certified vegan electricity supplier.
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.
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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!
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 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 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 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.
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.
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