If you’re trying to go green but don’t want to sacrifice well-needed holiday time, help is at hand! One of the easiest ways to cut your carbon emissions (and your costs!) is with a staycation. There are so many fantastic places to stay in the UK and an increasing number of holiday home owners are doing their bit for the environment.
Solar panels, local produce, wind turbines and wildflower meadows are just a few of the amazing green initiatives these owners are providing. Show them your support and encourage other owners to follow in their footsteps by booking a stay at one of these eco-friendly rentals. They might inspire you to make some changes at your own home, too!
The Cabin at Old Summer Dairy, Glastonbury
As featured on Channel 4’s ‘Cabins in the Wild’ series, this luxurious and quirky rental in Glastonbury offers a “back to basics self-catering experience, but with all mod-cons as well”. Electricity is supplied by solar panels and a diesel generator, and visitors are asked to be considerate about their electricity consumption during their stay. You might go home with some good habits that’ll cut your bills and help the environment, too!
For nature-lovers, the cabin has its own wildflower meadow and acts as a nature reserve. The area is abundant with wildlife, including roe deer, foxes, hares, badgers, kestrels, swallows and the resident common Pipistrelle bats (who live in the log cabin). The area is renowned for its cycle routes, so there are plenty of opportunities to take to the saddle and explore this beautiful part of the country.
Skiddaw Cottage, The Lake District
A huge amount of care and attention has gone into making this small group of four cottages as eco-friendly as possible. The cottages have been renovated by local craftsmen, using timber from the original barn. Using “green design and technologies”, the cottages have an abundance of eco-friendly features: ground and air source heat pumps power the underfloor heating, and solar panels produce the heating and hot water. Furnishings include organic bedding and towels, handmade furniture from sustainable sources, and the owners have even used eco-friendly paints!
The cottages are surrounded by 10 acres of grounds, including young woodland, a wildlife meadow, a pond and an arboretum. As you’d expect, there’s an abundance of wildlife including deer, foxes, red squirrels, badgers and the occasional kingfisher that visits the beck. The owner’s hard work to make this cottage as kind to the environment as possible has paid off, as they were awarded a Gold Award from the Green Tourism Scheme.
Airigh nam Fiadh, Outer Hebrides
The Airigh nam Fiadh (the Deer Pasture) is luxurious, eco-friendly and runs almost exclusively on renewable energy. The house is insulated and heated by a ground source heat pump, and electricity is supplied by a non-intrusive wind turbine on the owner’s adjacent croft. Enjoy a stroll by the shores of Loch Bee, or maybe have a go at fishing, bird watching or kayaking. In the evening, relax in the garden with a glass of wine under a canopy of stars; this area is known as one of the best stargazing spots in the UK!
By staying and shopping locally in the village, you’ll be helping to support its crofting background. Many of the locals keep cattle and work the Machair lands, encouraging wildlife to flourish. Gaidhlig is the native tongue in the village, so you might pick up a few phrases by the end of your visit!
Lake Yurt, Dartmoor National Park
If you want to go off grid completely, this traditional Mongonlian yurt in the Dartmoor National Park is for you. There’s no electricity; lighting is provided by candles and paraffin lamps. No need to worry about getting cold, though – the yurt is well-stocked with firewood for the woodburner, and cosy rugs help to keep your toes warm.
Make the most of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty by exploring on foot, camera in hand. Hire a bike and whizz through the open countryside. Pack a picnic and go hiking in the moorlands. Or simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the peace and tranquility this eco-friendly holiday gives you… in spades.
Raithby Hill Reservoir Eco-house, Lincolnshire
Not many rentals can take credit for having a ‘bee-friendly’ roof, but this stunning eco-house in the Lincolnshire Wolds can! This modern and luxurious rental blends into its environment beautifully. It’s run using renewable energy which powers the fantastic high-tech features, including a premium Wifi connection, a surround sound Sonos System with access to Spotify Music and a 55 inch HD smart TV. Natural, sustainable materials have been used throughout, such as limestone flooring, quartz surfaces and European oak.
If you want to relax, it doesn’t get much better than this. Take a soak in the roll top bath before enjoying a glass of fizz on the balcony overlooking the gardens. In winter, curl up with a book by the fire or watch a film with your loved ones. There’s half an acre of grounds so if you need some breathing space, this is the perfect place to get away from it all.
Mizpah Ecolodge, Oxfordshire
Mizpah Ecolodge in Benson, Wallingford, has been built with the environment in mind. It’s been painstakingly engineered using timber and hemp, with clayboard-lined walls, oak floors, and oak windows and doors. The latest infrared heating and LED lighting system help to create the ultimate low-carbon living, and all electricity is sourced from renewables. Externally, the lodge is clad with green walls and a green roof to enhance the biodiversity of the site, and it’s watered by rainwater harvesting.
The owners have installed a nesting box with an internal camera so you can enjoy the secret lives of the local blue-tits! The whole building sits on a recycled tyre foundation system, and the decking is made from recycled plastic and rice husks. The lodge is just two miles from the nearest town of Wallingford and 15 miles from Oxford, so you can enjoy a nature retreat and see the sights of the city in the same holiday! If you’re trying to curb your car usage, the owners have bikes available to hire and they can also provide local organic food upon request.
Happy Vale – Bearnagh Cottage, County Down
Happy Vale in the heart of the Mourne Mountains is a fantastic example of how environmentally-friendly a home can be. There’s a ground source heat pump for the underfloor heating, solar hot water, solar PV electricity and a grey water system from a nearby mountain spring for flushing toilets. There are even external sockets for charging electric vehicles. The cottage is ideal for families, walking groups, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts who want a warm cosy base with mountain walks on the doorstep.
Spend some quality time together by tucking into a picnic in the garden with the sound of the stream running past. Or if you want to explore the nearby area, the cottage is just a few miles from Tollymore and Castlewellan forest parks where you’ll find even more opportunities to connect with nature and the great outdoors. And if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, County Down was the location for many of the filming sites, so book onto a tour and see the dramatic landscapes for yourself.
Wardle House, Yorkshire Dales National Park
This secluded bolthole in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Swaledale, is all about the amazing views. When you’re not spending hours simply gazing out of the window from the comfort of an armchair, there’s plenty to do nearby. Go walking, mountain biking, explore Bolton Castle and admire the stunning waterfalls at Aysgarth Falls. There’s a cosy village pub just down the road where you can stop for refreshments before heading back.
Wardle House has been restored as an eco-friendly property: solar panels heat the water, and electric storage heaters and a multi-fuel stove keep things toasty. Shop locally at the nearby farm shops and delis in Richmond where you’ll find a range of organic meat and cheeses. You can then tuck into a feast back at the house and look out over the dales from the large dining room… Bon appetit!
The Old Barn, Abergavenny
The Old Barn on the slopes of Sugar Loaf Mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park is surrounded by fields and National Trust woodland; it’s the perfect place to take in the fresh air and get away from it all. The barn has been lovingly restored by the owners, using traditional Welsh slate, oak, lime and eco-friendly materials. Inside, you’ll find a stylish mix of old and new, with contemporary furniture and lighting, alongside traditional oak beams and antiques.
If you like to shop for your food locally, you can’t get more local than this! A homemade cake, and eggs from the free range ducks and chickens, are included. Organic lamb and pork from the farm is available on request, so you can know exactly where your food came from. Enjoy the natural landscape by spending the day walking, cycling, riding or wild swimming in the beautiful Black Mountains.