BEST FOR AN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE:
Old Lands, Monmouthshire
Old Lands is a vast estate in Monmouthshire, one of the most picturesque counties in southeast Wales. Owned by the same family for over 200 years, the ethos has stayed the same – slow living and giving back to the environment and community. Guests can stay in self-contained apartments in the main house, which is powered by solar energy, or one of three holiday cottages which have been carefully restored with reclaimed and vintage furniture. There’s an organic farm shop on site – all the produce is grown in its walled garden – as well a tennis court and 200 acres of land to explore. You can take boat trips on the estate’s lake, book kayaking trips, hike the nearby mountains and go wild swimming. For every holiday booked at Old Lands, the estate will plant a tree as part of its landscape restoration project.
Short breaks from £390.
BEST FOR A NIGHT IN THE CAPITAL:
Treehouse Hotel, London
Treehouse Hotel in Marylebone has one the best rooftop bars in the capital, but its eco credentials are even more impressive. There are 95 rooms with nature-inspired interiors, organic cotton sheets, locally sourced products and eco-friendly toiletries. Reclaimed wood has been used throughout, and staff have been trained in waste management to comply with the brand’s strict composting and recycling system. You won’t find any single-use plastics, but you might spot one of the ‘resident horticulturalists’ giving tours of local gardens. If you’re not staying overnight, book a table at its 15th-floor Casa Madera restaurant for seasonal dishes, followed by drinks at The Nest rooftop bar.
Rooms from £175 per night.
BEST FOR A REMOTE STAYCATION:
The Torridon, Scottish Highlands
The Torridon is a boutique resort set in 58 acres of parkland at the end of a beautiful sea loch. Surrounded by majestic mountains, it’s in one of Scotland’s most spectacular locations. With some of the most impressive sustainability credentials on this list, the hotel and its hot water is powered by biomass energy, there are extra insulators under the building’s roof to reduce heat loss, and you can use its electric car chargers. Each of the 18 rooms and suites have energy-saving LED bulbs, and each of its 18 rooms have been carefully considered so as to not disturb local wildlife. The hotel also provides year-round activities like clay pigeon shooting, sea kayaking and mountain walks, though if you’d rather have a relaxed lakeside stroll, be sure to look out for wild otters.
Rooms from £356 per night.
BEST FOR A SEASIDE ESCAPE:
The Scarlet, Cornwall
Set high in the hills above Mawgan Porth beach near Newquay, The Scarlet is an eco-friendly holiday in a truly beautiful setting. The hotel doesn’t use air conditioning – cool sea breezes from the Atlantic do the trick – and its outdoor pool is cleaned with reeds and algae rather than harsh chemicals. The hotel’s main roof is lined with sea thrift to provide a mini ecosystem for local insects and most of the materials used are reclaimed or can be recycled. Other eco measures include renewable energy where possible, a water collection system where ‘grey water’ waste from showers and baths is used to flush toilets, and electric car charging points. Guests can relax in the cliff-top hot tubs or Ayurvedic-inspired spa before enjoying locally sourced seafood at the restaurant and bar.
Rooms from £240 per night.
BEST FOR A FOODIE WEEKEND:
Grace & Savour at Hampton Manor
Foodie retreat Grace & Savour recently opened in the grounds of Hampton Manor, near Birmingham. Led by head chef David Taylor and his wife Anette, guests can enjoy fine dining in a relaxed setting, surrounded by a walled garden, then stay overnight in one of the adjoining rooms. With an emphasis on zero-waste cooking and inventive ways of using everything the land has to offer, the garden produces organic herbs and vegetables – diners can see 15-course menus made at the chef’s table, before enjoying each dish with paired drinks. On arrival, guests will be given a guided tour of the garden, before relaxing in bedrooms or exploring the estate with maps and wellies. After a generous breakfast, take part in a culinary workshop to learn about zero-waste cooking and help make your own lunch – think scallops with shaved celeriac and brown butter sauce.
Prices start from £350pp.
BEST FOR A LUXURY SLEEPOVER:
Regular readers will know we’re fans of Heckfield Place in Hampshire, but did you know the hotel is one of the UK’s eco-friendliest? It has ambitious plans to up its sustainable measures over the next few years, which currently includes a biodynamic farm supplying most of the kitchen produce, hot water powered by biomass energy, a rainwater collection system and LED lightbulbs throughout the hotel. The surrounding woodland is protected to boost its ecosystem, and the hotel is planning to open an eco-friendly glass-blowing centre to replace all plastic bottles. To top it off, Heckfield’s restaurant Marle has a Michelin Green Star, an award for restaurants at the forefront of sustainable cooking. Once you’ve made the most of the hotel and 400-acre grounds, arrange a tour of the orchards or ride horses at the nearby Wellington Estate.
Rooms from £450 a night.
BEST FOR SLOW LIVING:
Glebe House, Devon
Glebe House is in the small east Devon town of Colyton. Inspired by rustic ‘agriturismo’ in Italy, the hotel is set on a 15-acre estate which includes a farm supplying most of the ingredients at the restaurant – everything else is sourced from neighbouring farms or foraged locally. Inside, there are five beautiful bedrooms featuring plush furnishings. We like The Old Kitchen Room with its pretty pink pastels, indoor wood burner and freestanding bath behind a chic rattan divider. Glebe House also has a tennis court, swimming pool and casual dining restaurant serving some of the best Devonshire food. With far-reaching views over the rolling Coly Valley, and a short drive from the Jurassic coast, think of this as a foodie retreat.
Rooms from £150 per night.
BEST FOR AN AFFORDABLE STAY:
Room2 Chiswick was the world’s first net zero hotel when it opened just over a year ago. It uses 89% less energy than typical hotels, offsetting its carbon footprint with a range of sustainable measures, including renewable energy, ultra-low flow pressure showers, efficient lighting and an impressive ‘blue roof’ which converts rainwater into energy. There are 86 individually designed bedrooms, filled with plush furniture and soft furnishings from local artisans, from handcrafted mirrors to bespoke wallpaper. Each room has its own kitchenette – ideal for longer stays – while the ground floor has a gym with Peloton equipment, and a restaurant which serves brunch by day and cocktails at night. Keep your eyes peeled for Room2 Belfast, which is set to open in the spring.
Rooms from £129 per night.
BEST FOR A DAY TRIP:
Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa, Cotswolds
Whatley Manor was made for quaint weekends, but you could easily spend the day exploring its 12 acres and manicured lawns, stopping for lunch at one of two restaurants and unwinding at the Aquarius Spa with its indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pool, thermal cabins and salt scrub showers. The hotel has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2028 and has received multiple sustainability awards including the prestigious Silver EarthCheck. Other measures include energy saving lightbulbs, water saving devices and QR codes for access to digital newspapers and magazines.
Rooms from £275 per night.
BEST FOR A COUNTRY ESCAPE:
The Pig at Combe, Devon
Only eight miles from the coast in the Devonshire hills, The Pig at Combe is part of a 3,500-acre estate. The main house is set in an Elizabethan building that has been carefully restored using second-hand materials and repurposed furniture – the Folly restaurant is clad in reclaimed wood for example. You can also choose to stay in the stable yard or a cottage on the grounds, all of which have four-poster beds, free-standing baths and beautiful views. Like The Pig’s seven other properties, the food on the menu consists of produce grown from its organic farm or sourced from suppliers within a 25-mile radius – there’s a regularly changing, seasonal menu. The hotel also has a partnership with Belu water, a social enterprise that gives all its profits to Water Aid.
Rooms from £200 per night.
BEST FOR A LONG STAYCATION:
Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall
Coombeshead is a guesthouse on a working farm in the pretty Cornish village of Launceston. Created by chefs Tom Adams and April Bloomfield (who also own The Spotted Pig in New York), the property is on a 66-acre estate surrounded by meadows, woodland and scenic walking routes. Here, sustainability comes in the form of a zero-waste restaurant where diners are treated to hearty meals made from food grown on the estate and produce from local suppliers. Guests can stay in one of four double en-suite rooms in the converted Grain Store, or in the main Farmhouse which has a further five rooms. All have recycled blankets and bathrooms with water-saving showers and eco toiletries and loo roll. Coombeshead is also part of Cornwall’s major Farm Net Zero community programme which aims to hit target within five years using traditional farming methods. You could easily spend a week here enjoying the slow pace of life and exploring the surrounding Cornish towns.
Rooms from £129 per night.