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7 sustainable summer staycations to book for an eco-friendly break

From city breaks to unplugged tiny homes, we’ve got a list of the best sustainable summer holiday staycations in the UK

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Hansa Tote
Lifestyle Intern
April 30, 2024
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Summer holidays are a highly anticipated luxury, but for the eco-conscious among us, summering sustainably while not breaking the bank can seem an impossible task. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you and found seven of the best UK breaks that don’t cost the Earth (in more ways than one).

Staying local has never been more popular. Nicky Kelvin, Editor at Large at The Points Guy, highlights that due to the current cost-of-living crisis, more Brits are choosing to stay in the UK for their holidays. "Staycations are definitely trending this year," he said. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact holidaymakers are “increasingly conscious of their carbon footprint” meaning opting not to fly abroad is becoming the new normal.

Sustainable travel is here to stay, according to The Points Guy's TPG 2024 predictions, which indicates it has become a lifestyle rather than a passing trend in the travel industry. With that in mind, here's our pick of the seven best eco-conscious stays to book in 2024 and beyond…

How we chose the best eco-friendly staycations 

  • Something for everyone: I sourced staycations of all types to suit every holidaymaker - whether you’re looking for a city break or a remote, unplugged weekend there’s something for you.
  • Location: Breaks in England, Scotland and Wales to make sure there's somewhere for everyone.  
  • Reviews: These sustainable staycations have been highly rated by previous customers, who approved of their eco-friendly credentials.
  • Affordability: The accommodation choices provide good value for money without compromising on style.

Eco friendly stays - at a glance

1. The family-friendly one - luxury woodland glamping in Holywell, Wales

2. The birdwatcher's paradise - lake lodge retreat in Northumberland

3. The sustainable city break - Marrables hotel in London

4. The rural retreat - Chestnut Eco Lodge Woodland Escape in Northamptonshire

5. The Scottish escape - The Duke of Gordon Hotel in Kingussie, Scotland

6. The treetop adventure - Kudhava in Cornwall

7. The floating eco cottage - The Lakeside in Halling, England

  • Emlyn's Coppice - Holywell, Wales

    Emlyn's Coppice – Luxury Woodland Glamping, Holywell, Wales©

    The luxury glamping experience

    • Hot tub
    • Garden terrace
    • Popular with couples
    • rating: 9.7/10

    Nestled in the picturesque Welsh countryside, a mere 17km from Bodewyddan Castle, this glamping retreat offers a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing guests to reconnect with nature.

    Forget tents, cold baked beans and sleeping bags… This stay prioritises the finer elements of camping, with guests staying in cosy wood cabins complete with free WiFi, a garden with a terrace, and best of all, a hot tub. 

    Each cabin is home to a patio with views over the garden, a kitchenette, fridge, stovetop, and a bathroom with a shower. 

    This staycation is suitable for families, but couples particularly love it, ranking it 9.6/10 on for a two-person stay. 

    A stay in mid-July starts at £122.20 a night. 

  • Lake lodge Retreat, Northumberland

    Lake lodge Retreat in Northumberland with ducks roaming free© Airbnb

    The birdwatcher's paradise

    • Lakeside 
    • Log burner
    • Cycling routes 
    • Airbnb rating: 4.87/5

    A birdwatcher's paradise, this lodge comes with ducks and chickens roaming the grounds as well as a multitude of seasonal birds. 

    The studio lodge is found in serene scenery, next to a lake and a large garden with beautiful trees and flowers. There are cycling routes nearby and the clear country sky means the stars can be seen twinkling all night long. 

    The lodge has its own decking and garden alongside underfloor heating, a log burner, WiFi, a kitchen, television, and clothes washing facilities. 

    A stay in mid-July starts at £79 a night. 

  • Marrable's Hotel, London

    Marrable's Hotel room in central London©

    The eco-conscious city break

    • City centre
    • Restaurants and bars nearby
    • Great transport links 
    • rating: 8.2/10 

    If a sustainable city break is what you crave, Marrable’s is the place for you. 

    Previously a 19th century Victorian warehouse, the water is sourced from a borehole underneath the building, the majority of lighting is natural, and all the timber used in the construction of the hotel was sourced sustainably.

    The central London, highly walkable location is perfect for guests wanting to see the sights without increasing their carbon footprint by travelling. It is a mere 20-minute walk from the British Museum, 40 minutes from the London Eye and surrounded by bars and restaurants to suit any budget. 

    Each room has an en-suite, views of the city and the option to upgrade to breakfast. 

    A stay in mid-July starts at £316.13 a night. 

  • Chestnut Eco Lodge Woodland Escape, Northamptonshire

    4.	Chestnut Eco Lodge Woodland Escape in Northamptonshire© Airbnb

    The fairytale woodland escape

    • Off the grid
    • Outdoor kitchen
    • Farm animals 
    • Airbnb rating: 4.99/5

    Live out your Hobbit dreams in this off-the-grid tiny home tucked away in a quiet woodland section of Radmore farm. The lodge is hand built from sweet chestnut wood, making it entirely unique. Perfect for animal lovers, the farm is home to roaming goats, pigs, cats and dogs.

    The space is complete with eco-friendly cleaning and hygiene products, a log burner, shower, gas stove and fridge while outside the lodge is an outside kitchen complete with a wood-fired oven and a fire pit with a barbeque attachment.

    A stay at Chestnut Eco Lodge provides the perfect opportunity to completely unplug and rediscover the joys of life away from technology. 

    A stay in mid-July starts at £123 a night. 

  • The Duke of Gordon Hotel, Kingussie, Scotland

    The Duke of Gordon Hotel in Kingussie, Scotland© Tripadvisor

    The Scottish Highlands retreat

    • Perfect for adventurers 
    • Golf course 
    • Free breakfast
    • Google reviews rating: 4.1/5

    Found in the Scottish Highlands, this hotel is ideal for an eco-retreat, boasting a Green Leaders Bronze level from Tripadvisor. The hotel was the first in the UK to be heated entirely by carbon-neutral wood chips and is striving to complete carbon neutrality. 

    Set against the backdrop of Cairngorm National Park, the snow on the mountains melts in summer, transforming the former icy landscape into one full of colour. A perfect stay for the more adventurous traveller, the Duke of Gordon provides guests with the chance to experience climbing, rambling, pony trekking, and water sports. 

    A stay in mid-July starts at £94 a night. 

  • Kudhava, Cornwall

    Kudhava treehouse accomodation in Cornwall©

    The treetop getaway

    • Unique
    • Hot tub
    • Close to the beach 
    • rating: 10/10

    A staycation like no other, Kudhava cabins are treehouse-esque structures that stand off the ground to give guests the best views possible of the surrounding beauty. Choose between a woodland canopy or glorious Cornish coast view. If heights aren’t your thing, tipis are on offer, facing the Atlantic Ocean to provide the best morning views. 

    A short walk to the North Cornish coast and other wild swimming spots, Kudhava makes for the loveliest of summer beach breaks, giving guests the chance to swim in the beautiful Cornish waters before venturing back to warm up in the hot tub. 

    The cabins are home to floor-to-ceiling windows, a private firepit and nearby seating. 

    A stay in mid-July starts at £137. 

  • The Lakeside, Halling

    The Lakeside floating cabin in Halling©

    The floating cabin

    • Quirky 
    • Hot tub
    • Nearby town 
    • Airbnb rating: 4.89/5

    The Lakeside is a stunning floating cottage on the river Medway in the southeast of England. The remote accommodation gives guests the chance to spend time with "nature at its best", according to one reviewer who highlighted how much they enjoyed being surrounded by the fish and birds. 

    The space comes with a hot tub, WiFi and a kitchen in addition to a deck with outdoor seating that allows guests to enjoy being beside (or, more accurately, on top of) the water. 

    Perfect for families, the cottage sleeps up to four with a double bed and bunk beds. 

    A stay in mid-July starts at £170 a night.

5 simple sustainable travel tips

Top tips for travelling more sustainably from Dr Susanne Etti, Global Environment Impact Manager at Intrepid Travel

Support local

 One of the biggest impacts you can have while travelling is supporting local people – stay in locally owned accommodation, eat at locally owned restaurants and shop with local artisans. This ensures that the money you spend while travelling stays exactly where it belongs – in the local community.

Travel slow

Take fewer trips but stay for longer, truly immersing yourself in a destination and culture rather than multiple fly-and-flop holidays. Travel off the typical tourist trail so the benefits of tourism are spread out to rural areas. 

Pack mindfully

Simple things like packing a reusable water bottle and packing a reusable bag can help reduce single-use plastic while travelling. Also consider packing solid soap and shampoo bars to avoid packing miniature plastic bottles that end up in landfill.  

Keep your good habits while abroad

We make such an effort to recycle and minimise single-use plastic when we’re at home, but research shows this can be forgotten when we travel. Make a conscious choice to keep your good habits with you while you travel and try to live as the locals do.

Enjoy overland adventures

Consider taking the train where possible instead of flying – you’ll get to skip airport lines, you’ll enjoy a far more scenic journey, and you’ll arrive right in the centre of town. Hop on the Eurostar to Paris then try Intrepid’s Paris to Madrid to explore some of Europe’s highlights without the hassle of airport queues or long driving days.

DISCOVER: How can you live a more sustainable life? Introducing HELLO!s Planet Positive initiative

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