If you're searching for an eco-lodge with some of the most prestigious awards under its belt, look no further than Fair Oak Farm's eco-lodge treehouses, nestled in rural East Sussex. Located next to a chic farmhouse and converted farm buildings, these eco-lodge tree houses have been sensitively constructed within an ancient treeline and the owners are on a mission to adopt ‘environmentally friendly, ethical practices to help protect, restore and enhance local habits, wildlife and culture..' We reckon their Unique Lodge of the World award by National Geographic was well deserved.
An eco-friendly break that's not too far from the capital is Great Field Farm, set within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Once you get over the wow-factor of the setting, your jaw will hit the floor when you discover the smart technology that ensures this B&B is as green as it gets. Five of its units are solar powered while three are also fitted with ground source heat pumps and heat recovery ventilation systems. What's more, the ‘living' sedum roof of their Bumble Barn attracts wildlife and ensures it fits in with the natural environment.
It can be hard for large-scale developments to achieve an eco-friendly status, but this luxury resort in rural Pembrokeshire has some impressive initiatives which other holiday parks could take example from. In collaboration with the Woodland Trust, this luxury resort was part of a large environmental project which brought 35,000 new trees to their 500-acre estate. The company uses the Green Dragon Environmental Management System, which means it also monitors everything from its waste generation and energy consumption to the way it transports its staff.
One coastal retreat that's setting an example for responsible recycling and green power is the hotel behind The Headland Cottages, overlooking Fistral Beach in Newquay. The heating for this five-star accommodation is powered by food waste, while their onsite cardboard compactor saves an estimated annual 6-8 tonnes of landfill space. Their onsite glass crusher provides local artists with materials and if you happen to have an electric car, they have a Pod-Point on site too.
You can rest assured that your energy use at the Rose & Crown in Warwick is kept as low as possible. This building might date back to the 17th Century, but this stylish pub is installed with the best solar powered technology in eight of its B&B rooms meaning guests' carbon footprint is kept to a minimum. Equipped with energy-saving LED lighting, the food at this charming watering hole is also ethically sourced (and delicious, might we add). It's no wonder it's twice been named in the Top Ten pubs in the UK.
Few holiday homes can boast of having a carbon-neutral status, but Croft 103, perched on the edge of Scotland's sensational Loch Eriboll, is in the minority. Built by husband and wife team Fiona and Robbie Mackay, you can tell these stone crofts have the welfare of the natural environment at the top of their agenda. Not only have they been built using local timber and stone (as well as recycled car tyres), they are insulated using sheep's wool and woodfibre and powered by a small wind turbine, with solar-powered heating to boot.
We all know that our excessive meat consumption has a negative effect on the planet, so why not consider a stay at a ‘meat-free' abode like Sheepfold in the Cotswolds. Located in the idyllic village of Shipton-under-Wychwood, this dinky B&B has just two bedrooms, but if you're lucky enough to stay here you'll be close to a plethora of historic attractions including the UNESCO-listed Blenheim Palace and the renowned Daylesford Organic farm shop. With delicious vegetarian and vegan brekkies served each morning, you can start the day feeling like you've done your little bit for the planet.
Another north-of-the-border bolthole that offers a super low-impact holiday is Eagle Brae. This luxury ‘eco log village' nestled in the Scottish Highlands has a fantastic carbon playback scheme whereby visitors can offset the carbon footprint of their journey by planting a tree near the Eagle Brae village before they leave. All electricity and hot water within the grass-insulated cabins is provided by the village's own micro-hydro scheme and highly efficient underfloor heating is powered by biomass wood-pellet burners. The cedar log cabins offer a relaxing experience with characterful wooden interiors and home-cooked ‘slow-food' meals prepared onsite using produce from the owners' farm.
Setting a great example for luxury sustainable holidays is this beautiful farmstead in rural East Anglia. Set within 5,000 acres of parkland, their two private estates known collectively as the Wilderness Reserve, comprise various cottages and farmhouses. And thanks to a selection of eco-inspired activities, many guests don't even leave the estate throughout their stay. Some 600,000 trees have been planted since the estate opened and owners here are big on promoting the conservation of their bird, amphibian and insect species. Find out more by joining their guided wildlife tours, led by their own Wilderness Reserve Rangers.
Glamping is perhaps, one of the most eco-friendly types of holidays you can take. And West Lexham Glamping was one of the first to bring this eco-travel trend to the world. Scattered across Norfolk's beautiful West Lexham countryside, this collection of treehouses, bell tents and barns are in an area that's known for its pioneering permaculture and sustainability. Not only do they use reclaimed materials and locally sourced woodchips, the family-run team powers the site with 90% solar energy and puts all profits back into the conservation and maintenance of the site.
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