Eco-friendly places to stay
Here we feature a selection of the increasing number of hotels, guest houses and self-catering properties in the UK which are taking positive action for nature and wildlife. Many also have a range of environmental and sustainable policies and practices in place – including reducing environmental impact, supporting the local economy, and promoting green living to guests.
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Eco-friendly lodges, made locally from sustainable timber and dotted amongst woodland and meadow. Darwin Forest has been awarded the David Bellamy Conservation Scheme Gold Standard for 25 consecutive years, and the site includes biodiversity-boosting habitats such as woodland, wildlife ponds, wildflower meadows, wetland, and log piles.
Elegant, historic spa hotel with gardens that are packed with pollinator-friendly plants and a wild area. A Victorian walled kitchen garden, including restored Victorian glasshouses, provides fruit and vegetables for the hotel's kitchen. A dedicated 'Green Team' implements eco-friendly initiatives.
A collection of award-winning holiday lodges, many with stunning views. Lots of wildlife on the doorstep, with the possibility of spotting red squirrels, deer and pine marten from the lodges. Many different bird species are attracted to the feeders dotted around the site; there are also bat boxes and an ongoing native tree-planting scheme.
Modern and luxurious Green Tourism Gold Award hotel. Alongside many sustainable initiatives, the hotel increases planting in the surrounding areas each year, including a wildflower garden project in 2021. Ideal location for visiting Kew Gardens, a 25-minute walk away.
Beautiful converted eco-friendly coach house, with a grass-roofed extension where colourful wildflowers grow in spring and summer. A wind turbine produces electricity, and underfloor heating and hot water are provided via an air exchange heating system. The property is managed with minimal use of chemicals and is particularly suitable for guests who suffer from allergies.
Green Tourism Gold Award-winning luxury apartments, cottages and spa on the beautiful Cowal peninsula in western Scotland. Heating comes from sustainable biomass and air source heat pumps, and green roofs with summer wildflowers on some buildings boost biodiversity. Food is grown on site or sourced locally. Portavadie organises regular 'clean-up' days, both on site and at local beaches, to keep the area pristine.
One of six eco-friendly treehouses, featuring interiors crafted from reclaimed materials, such as four-poster beds made from tree branches. There's a mosaic of different biodiversity-boosting habitats on the 22-acre estate – including native trees and plants, a floating water meadow that's been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and a restored chalk stream with surrounding wetlands.
Spacious eco-friendly treehouse constructed using reclaimed, recycled and sustainable materials, and located alongside a Medieval fish pool that attracts all sorts of wildlife. Part of a farm that's run using environmentally friendly methods, with a rare pedigree herd of traditional Hereford cattle grazing on wildflower pasture that provides an excellent habitat for pollinators.
Comfortable, luxury cottages a short drive from world-famous Skara Brae. Unigar Cottages are run using eco-friendly practices to minimise environmental impact, and have been awarded a Green Tourism Gold Award. Trees are being planted around the grounds, and wilder areas are being left so that wildlife can thrive – and there are lots of opportunities for wildlife watching, with owls, hares and corncrakes in the area.