Planning an eco holiday in the UK for 2023 or 2024? This guide covers everything you need to know about having a sustainable, eco-friendly holiday in Britain.
Ecotourism is a growing trend in the tourism industry, driven by a desire for more sustainable and responsible travel experiences. The demand for this specific type of travel has increased and now accounts for around 6% of the global tourism market, with the numbers expected to rise.
Sustainable tourism focuses on education and conservation, which is why many eco-holidays involve visiting natural areas while minimizing the environmental impact. However, some eco-holidays also come in modern accommodations with sustainable practices and built-in systems for sustainability.
The UK is committed to sustainable tourism with various initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and promote eco-friendly practices. From green hotels to sustainable transport, the UK is leading the way in sustainable tourism.
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Best Eco-Holidays In The UK
For those looking to go on an eco-holiday in the UK, below are the best options that will provide a unique and unforgettable experience.
1. Country hotels
Country hotels offer a unique and authentic experience of rural areas by allowing guests to experience its culture and natural beauty. This type of hotel provides a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
With sustainability becoming increasingly important in tourism, many country hotels are implementing sustainable practices such as reducing waste, utilizing renewable energy sources, supporting local businesses, etc.
These practices not only benefit the environment but also attract eco-conscious guests. The combination of the natural landscape outside accommodations and the various sustainability efforts continuously being developed has made country hotels a popular choice for eco-holidays.
The Fish Hotel – Cotswolds
The estate is 400 acres, and the space is utilised to develop the hotel and a consistent tree-planting programme.
In addition, the entire estate is powered by renewable energy, like many other country hotels.
Other sustainability initiatives include all food waste going directly into a neighboring anaerobic digester, leading to zero landfill waste.
Other Eco Hotels in the UK
Here are some of the highlights of The Scarlet:
Here’s a video of the Whatley Manor:
2. Off-grid accommodations
Designed to operate independently from public utilities, off-grid accommodation options are some of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of living.
This accommodation obtains its own water through rainwater harvesting systems and uses renewable energy sources powered by solar panels and wind turbines. Even waste disposal is designed to be sustainable through recycling, composting toilets, and greywater systems.
While it does not provide a five-star butler type of service, it has many advantages, such as reduced environmental impact, reduced living costs, increased resilience, and self-sufficiency.
Going by its name, off-grid accommodations can be located in remote areas, providing guests with a unique and immersive experience in nature.
What better way to experience off-grid accommodation than to reside inside a bus? Inspired by the tiny house movement in the USA, Hinterlandes is a luxury off-grid accommodation that lets its guests experience off-grid living in a hut, a cabin, or a bus.
These three types of accommodations are moved to a new location every 28 days to provide various experiences and ensure the lightest environmental footprint.
3. All inclusive stays
Alongside ecotourism, another trend that has become more prevalent in the UK is the all inclusive holiday, with many travelers booking and flying to destinations across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
From accommodation to high-class meals, the use of facilities, and various entertainment options, all inclusive stays offer comprehensive packages that include everything needed to have a perfect holiday.
While this type of accommodation may seem costly to some, it is much more affordable than traditional stays because the cost of meals, drinks, and other utilities are included in the package price.
This allows guests to budget trips more efficiently and avoid any hidden charges. Because all inclusive stays are fully paid, high-quality accommodation can be guaranteed as hotels are incentivised to provide guests with the best possible experience.
This includes a high level of quality, attention to detail, and efforts at being sustainable to give the guests the utmost comfort.
Mercure Darlington King’s Hotel – Durham
A popular hotel that offers all inclusive stays is Mercure Darlington King’s Hotel, located in the industrial town of County Durham.
This hotel’s all-inclusive holiday comprises a full English breakfast in bed, welcome drinks and evening drinks, lunch and a three-course dinner, use of all hotel amenities, and various others.
This hotel is also known for its various green efforts, including not using single-use plastic, water-efficient toilets, food waste reduction, and energy-efficient LED lighting.
4. Beach Lodges
Sustainability is considered very important for beach resorts, as they preserve land and a large body of water. To advocate for sustainability, beach lodges typically use eco-friendly materials such as bamboo and recycled plastic.
They also incorporate energy-efficient solar power panels and rainwater harvesting systems. The location by the beach also allows many of these lodges to use natural ventilation and lighting to reduce their carbon footprint.
With holidaygoers visiting these lodges to use the beaches, these accommodations promote their green practices and encourage their guests to do their part in caring for the environment.
Watergate Lodge – Cornwall
One of the many beach accommodations is the Watergate Lodge on Watergate Way, located in Cornwall.
Sitting only 400 metres from the beach, this accommodation has designer interiors, a large roof terrace with a view across the decks, and an impressive list of green credentials.
Solar panels, air-source heating, and a mechanical ventilation system are a few of the sustainability efforts they’ve applied to the lodge.
The beach stay, combined with the beauty of nature and comfortable accommodations, will provide guests with an enjoyable stay.
5. Eco Lodges
For cabins and lodges, look for insulation like sheep’s wool and wood fiber. Off-grid power like solar generators, solar panels, and biomass boilers are good too. Some accommodations may have off-the-grid water systems as well.
Also check if the cottage provides recycling facilities, eco cleaning products, and local food hampers.
Sites like Wheatland Farm in Devon use eco-lodges to fund conservation efforts.
6. Glamping Sites
Combining the beauty of the outdoors with the comforts of home, glamping is perfect for those seeking unique and sustainable travel experiences.
This type of camping offers guests an opportunity to disconnect from their busy lives and reconnect with nature. As they are directly connected to the outdoors, glamping sites have taken many sustainability measures, including using eco-friendly amenities such as solar-powered energy, composting toilets, and rainwater harvesting systems.
These features reduce negative environmental impacts without forsaking the experience’s luxury.
Additionally, glamping sites often involve local community support by hiring local staff and directly sourcing food and ingredients to provide high-quality meals for their guests.
The Quiet Site – Lake District
With various room types, such as glamping burrows or hobbit holes, glamping cabins, camping pods, and holiday cottages, The Quiet Site provides housing for every type of guest.
They are also especially notable for their long list of sustainable tourism awards and various green efforts. Some of these efforts include water-efficient facilities like eco-showers, a food composter and recycling centre, ground source heat pumps, and solar thermal panels.
The Benefits of Eco Holidays in Britain
Choosing eco accommodation, using public transport, and traveling shorter distances are all ways to lower emissions. However sustainable tourism also supports local economies and protects fragile environments and species.
Eco holidays in the UK have many advantages:
- Lower carbon footprint without flights (if you live in the UK)
- Support local businesses and communities
- Discover beautiful British nature and scenery
- Learn about environmental and conservation issues
- Try eco activities like foraging, wild swimming, and stargazing
With mindful choices, we can have amazing holidays that nurture nature and people.
Eco-Friendly Holiday Activities
How we spend our time on holiday also impacts the planet and local communities. So look for activities that work with nature, not against it.
Joining guided nature tours is educational and low impact. Look for organisations like the National Trust which uses tourism to fund conservation. Choose walking tours over driving ones.
Immerse yourself in eco experiences like forest bathing or rewilding stays where you help with conservation tasks. It’s rewarding and supports habitats.
Make your holiday an active one but focus on slow pursuits like hiking, cycling, and kayaking. This connects you with the outdoors without motorised transport.
Joining a foraging course or tour gives insight into sustainable wild food. You also support local producers and farmers if you seek out regional specialty food and drink.
Restorative activities like outdoor yoga and massage have a low footprint. So do wild swimming, forest bathing, and stargazing. Or try rock pooling and beach combing.
Join a crafting workshop using natural materials or learn eco-skills like furniture upcycling. These nurture sustainability values and support teachers.
Choosing an Eco Holiday Destination
Consider not just how you travel but also where. Prioritise regions investing in eco tourism.
Areas like the Peak District, Lake District and Brecon Beacons have joined schemes supporting sustainable tourism. Use public transport to get to beauty spots.
Staying near nature reserves means tourist money helps conservation. Try Elmley Nature Reserve in Kent for families or Skomer Island for wildlife.
Visiting eco communities provides insight into sustainable living. Two great ethical destinations are the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland and Lammas in Wales.
Choosing a UK holiday home on the extensive coastline provides beach fun, wild landscapes, and seafood. Think Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, and North Norfolk.
Get away from it all in rural areas like the Forest of Dean, North York Moors, or Shropshire Hills. Outdoor pursuits, local food, and dark skies await.
Venture to remote regions like the Isle of Skye or Northumberland and you’ll support local businesses in need. Just take care not to overwhelm isolated spots.
Packing Tips for an Eco Holiday
How you prepare for your trip also makes a difference. Make sure to:
- Take reusable water bottles, coffee cups, and shopping bags
- Pack a reusable straw and cutlery set
- Choose natural sunscreens like those from Green People to protect marine life
- Buy eco-friendly toiletries like plastic-free shampoo bars
- Take rechargeable batteries and a portable solar panel if off-grid
- Pack a reusable waterproof picnic set including blankets and containers
Choosing sustainable options means you don’t trash beautiful places. Eco gear lasts longer too!
Offsetting Emissions on UK Holidays
Though lower than flights abroad, UK holidays still have carbon costs. You can offset emissions by:
- Using an online carbon calculator to total emissions
- Choosing an authenticated offset provider
- Funding equivalent emissions reductions like renewable energy
- Investing around £5-£30 to offset a return UK trip
Offsetting is controversial so focus first on reducing emissions before compensating as a last step.
In conclusion: want a sustainable and ethical break in the UK with minimal environmental impact?
Prioritise locally-owned, nature-based trips using public transport or electric cars. Choose eco accommodations like an off-grid glamping site, farm stay, eco-hotel, or eco-resort. Offset emissions if flying and pack reusable kit.
If you live in the UK, taking an eco holiday in Britain benefits the environment while letting you discover the amazing landscapes and nature on your doorstep.
Choosing mindfully is key. Opt for an eco accommodation with green credentials. Use public transport or electric cars if possible. Select activities that work with nature and support communities.
Most importantly, travel with an open mind and spirit of adventure. Enjoying sustainable holidays in the UK sets positive travel habits for the future.
Simple sustainable choices can make travel greener, supporting nature and people! What’s your favorite eco holiday spot in the UK? Let me know in the comments below!