If you’re itching for some escape time after so many travel restrictions you’re not alone. As Covid drags on, many of us are still reluctant to book that 2022 flight, knowing it might come to nothing. Luckily, the UK has much to offer by way of the staycation! Like any other holiday, they come in all shapes and sizes, so I’ve handpicked some of the best staycations in the country to inspire your next trip. And the best thing? Luxury doesn’t mean you have to compromise on sustainability. Reduce your travelling carbon footprint, get a guaranteed holiday and have the time of your life.
What is a Staycation?
There is much debate on the meaning of a staycation. Where some think it’s simply about staying at home but having your holiday from work, the majority say that a staycation is when you take your family holiday or weekend break in your own country. Thanks to the great British weather, many of us disregard the UK in seek of guaranteed sunshine abroad, but there are many benefits of a staycation. Not only do you get to know our own (very) beautiful British Isles on a deeper level, and there’s no limp attempts at trying to understand a foreign tongue, you’ll be reducing your personal emissions. By not flying you’re instantly helping the environment and by staying in house, you’ll be helping to support the British economy too.
There’s nothing to say you can’t just grab your tent and your airbed and get down to your local campsite of course, but these ideas for staycation in the UK only include places that are luxury and eco.
These carefully selected, environmentally friendly hotels, eco resort and self-catered options, really showcase what’s now possible for the sustainable traveller.
From glorious countryside to blissful hot tubs under the stars, I hope you’ll get all the feels like I did writing this. Be inspired to consider your next break a UK staycation.
CHEWTON GLEN TREEHOUSES
New Forest, Hampshire
The epitome of luxury retreats, the 12 Treehouses of Chewton Glen is arguably host to some of the best UK staycation options there are. There are three choices of room size and function and we’re focusing on the brand new Treehouse Yew suites, which are family and pet friendly staycations as well as a romantic couples getaway, depending on requirements.
The treehouses have been designed by blueforest , who are a professional company that specialise in sustainable buildings and treehouses. The intention was for the treehouses to have as little visual and physical impact on surroundings as possible and it’s fair to say they’ve succeeded.
Eco credentials include harvested rainwater, air-source heat pumps, solar panels and low energy lighting. Delicious locally sourced produce also ensures a lower carbon footprint.
From your super soft king size bed your personal morning view will be from amidst the treetops. A personally delivered breakfast hamper can be enjoyed on your private outdoor deck, suspended 35 feet up. Contemplate whether to absorb the beautiful surroundings, enjoy a morning swim in the adjoining multi award winning 5* Chewton Glen hotel, or perhaps opt for a game of golf on the exquisite grounds.
Later on, you may wish to star gaze with a glass of wine as you soak in your own private hot tub, strategically placed on your outdoor terrace so you can indulge in all the birdsong too. Meanwhile, for complete pampering, a hired private chef can prepare your gourmet dinner at your request.
Laze in front of the wood burning stove with underfloor heating for the ultimate warmth and indulge
Bedrooms can be accessed by a glass walkway, enabling you to absorb the trees at night. The bliss can be indulged from every element of this gorgeous venue, whether through the stunning freestanding baths, marble bathrooms or flat screen TV.
This New Forest staycation means you are instantly set for whatever countryside activities call you – horse-riding, walks and golf courses are all easy to arrange. Local attractions range from family theme park Paultons Park and the endearing Peppa Pig world to Bournemouth beaches. For car lovers and a more grown up themed day, you can also visit the National Motor Museum.
Guests have use of facilities at nearby 5 star hotel Chewton Glen hotel too. Minimum two night stay required at the weekend and three nights on a bank holiday weekend.
BROWNSCOMBE LUXURY GLAMPING
South Hams, Devon
Sleeps up to 6
If luxury glamping is your thing, then this idyllic working farm in Compton Devon will not disappoint. Surrounded by luscious farmland, there are three options to suit, from the Cabin (sleeps 4), the Safari Tents (sleeps 6) and The Tabernacle (sleeps 2).
This gorgeous venue welcomes everyone from a romantic couples retreat, friends group holiday or the type of wholesome kids friendly staycation for families that childhoods are made of.
With complete privacy on each property, these beautifully thought out abodes are both cosy and spacious with the all the little touches that define the glamping element.
Egyptian cotton linen soothes a tired body as you literally admire endless views of the valley from your pillow. Better still are the outdoor hot tubs overlooking the best of English countryside for guests staying in the Safari tents and tabernacle for two.
Fully equipped kitchens, wood burning stove and en-suite bathrooms with a copper bath tub and heated towel rails complete the marriage of camping and luxury. It’s even possible to slide the bathroom door back and bathe under the night sky.
With a consideration for the environment a centre point, the Tabernacle is a little sanctuary is built from salvaged materials. Delightful stained glass windows and vintage furniture make a cosy setting, along with the wood fired hot tub just perfect for a relaxing evening stargazing together.
The convenient ‘honesty larder shop’ onsite means you can grab what you need for that all important al fresco cooking experience, often using produce from the organic farm itself. There is a fire pit BBQ and outdoor seating so you can feast under the evening sky.
If you don’t fancy cooking, then hampers and meals are available on request. Modern amenities like free wi-fi are available in the main lodge so you won’t spend precious relaxation time glued to technology.
This family friendly staycation includes all the traditional fresh air games like cricket, football, rounders and frisbee. You can of course go exploring by bike and find endless nature reserves, golf and hiking to completely embrace the great outdoors.
Brownscombe is just 10 miles from Dartmoor, Totnes and Torbay beaches, with yachting, canoeing, sailing and fishing as options to spend an afternoon. The English Riviera provides blue sea and miles of sandy beaches, whilst Devon has an abundance of old churches, stately homes and even the odd castle or two to visit. Since dogs are welcomed (in the safari tents) at this location, you’ll want for nothing.
Bookings are 3 nights minimum at weekends or 2 nights mid week off peak. Prices start from £386 for the tabernacle.
Gwelva Hills Eco Lodges
With panoramic views over the popular Cornish bay of Bude, these stylish self-catered eco lodges are available with 2 or 3 bedrooms. Modern design includes an open plan lounge and dining area with underfloor heating, and uber comfy sofas around a wood burning stove. The décor is complimentary to the surroundings, with natural hues and coastal themes. The smart TVs in lounge and en-suite bedrooms ensure energy is never wasted here.
Outside you’ll find seating with a personal BBQ overlooking stunning views of sea and countryside.
Looking back, you’ll see that the green rooftops of the Gwelva Eco Lodges are planted with wildflowers and the buildings themselves are made with oak cladding and full size windows to make the most of the magnificent views. The buildings aim to be completely sympathetic to their surroundings and blend in seamlessly.
For entertainment, you might wish to partake in all the usual outdoor activities you’d expect like golf, tennis, walking trails, cycling, swimming, fishing sailing and farm activities for the kids. There are even doggy showers for muddy days. For those who like to stretch it out and get into the meditative side, there are yoga classes and there are also beauty treatments for the all important additional pampering.
Enjoy a fully authentic family Cornish experience with tractor rides for the children and classic fish and chips for supper. An onsite barn bar offers cocktails make for a relaxing evening option too.
DAZZLING LIGHT CRUISER
Sleeps up to 8
For those wishing to soak up areas of natural beauty in the Norfolk broads, why not opt for a unique luxury boat to cruise in style? On board features of the Dazzling Light Cruiser by longstanding holiday specialists Herbert Woods, include power showers, LCD TV & DVD and bow thrusters for ease of mooring. Guests also receive a welcoming gift hamper to help start their trip off on the right foot.
The 44ft Dazzling Light luxury cruiser is a fine example of what’s possible for the river-dwelling staycation, complete with raised steering and an external upper sundeck from which you can lazily enjoy the passing views. As well as sunbathing and simply absorbing the scenery, the plentiful outdoor platforms offer space for alfresco dining. A large open plan gallery means family can spend time together playing games or enjoying a glass of wine in the evenings
This particular boat has a generous saloon with a light contemporary teak finish and holly laminate strip. Families or groups have a choice of 2 bathrooms 4 sleeping cabins with convertible beds that can be single or double.
Obviously the tranquillity of the broads with nothing but the sounds of nature might be exactly the calm you’re looking for, but if you want more than to rejuvenate and relax, you can also make a couple of day trips out of Norfolks offerings including a visit the junior farm at Wroxham Barns where the children will love to groom horses, collect eggs and bottle feed the lambs. Alternatively, you might wish to spend an afternoon taking a local brewery tour, sampling the goods in a traditional handle jug or maybe you’d love to watch the sunset at a Roman castle.
7 nights from £1399
MOONSHADOW LUXURY CANAL BOAT
Kennet & Avon Canal, Wiltshire
Akin to a boutique hotel on water, canal boats have come a long way in the past few years. Hiring a luxury model for a week is a charming and memorable way to see this part of Wiltshire from a relaxing new perspective.
10ft wide beam canal boat Moonshadow is just one of a small fleet of luxury boats, owned by family run company Moonraker Canal Boats.
Sleep well and comfortably in the master cabin in the generous king sized bed, with en-suite bathroom complete with full sized shower and electric toilet. A further ‘middle’ cabin hosts two more guests, whilst a double sofa bed in the lounge means you can bring an additional two more.
Probably most impressive is the Jacuzzi whirlpool bath in the second bathroom, which adds the novel and rather endearing touch of being able to have a relaxing bath as you float along.
A well equipped kitchen is home from home with a full sized oven, microwaves and fridge freezer. A delightful wood-burning stove adds to the charming ambience whilst keeping you toasty and warm.
The ideal family holiday or a romantic getaway, delight in the tremendous scenery of the surrounding countryside from the winding river views.
Whether you head east or west from the quay starting point in Honeystreet, you’ll enjoy all the usual canal side pubs and restaurants as you pootle along. Go westward for a week and the river will carry you as far as the Roman city of Bath. Home to an abundance of classic shops and bustling markets, you’ll see traditional sandstone houses and of course the roman baths.
You can also enjoy a blissful day of relaxation at the Thermae Bath Spa which has an incredibly special rooftop thermal spa pool that enjoys panoramic views of the city. Gaze in awe at the beautiful valley of Limpley Stoke on your way or indulge in the quaint Saxon market town of Bradford-on-Avon.
Eastward is the quieter route and you’re bound to bliss out in the stunning countryside, gentle dog walks and ample rural pubs to relax in. All you really need do is sit back and take in the view as the world drifts pleasantly by.
Prices from £2379 for a week in peak season
THE SCARLETT HOTEL
Mawgan Porth, Newquay
Located by the sea with gorgeous views from almost every angle, the charming bedrooms boast private courtyards to sit back and relax as you enjoy the scene.
The many lounges and sea view terraces provide space for snuggling down with a tipple, or watching the surfers in the water down below.
The in-house library is another peaceful way to relax for a couple of hours.
With plenty of treatments available in the in-house spa (complete with lantern lit tented treatment rooms), the cliff top hot tub or yoga in the meadow garden, you’ll be spoilt for different ways to indulge and relax. The scarlet is also a dog friendly staycation and you can bring your fur babies at £15 per dog per day.
The environmentally friendly hotel is really setting the tone for what is possible in the eco-luxe world, and make every decision with conscious respect for the planet. As their website says
“Sustainability is not just something that we feel is right, it has become a way of life. We strive to redefine what luxury can be, a richness of experience without over-consumption.”
The Scarlet hotel works towards these goals by sourcing products responsibly, reducing waste and monitoring its carbon footprint on a yearly basis. All electricity at the Scarlett is generated using only renewable energy.
Guests can enjoy the large solar heated indoor pool or reed filtered natural outdoor pool. All electricity at the Scarlett is generated using only renewable energy.
Other green minded offerings include sustainably sourced organic towels and robes.
These gestures all do really help to make this thoughtful hotel a deserving candidate for the 5 star badge of honour. As luxury eco hotels go, this one is right up there for all to enjoy.
Prices from £330 per night per two people.
For those wishing to find something truly exquisite, Eagle Brae is like something out of a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale. A small collection of luxury eco log cabins in the heart of the Scottish highlands, Eagle Brae feels like a hidden world away from everything.
The 5 star self-catered cabins offer simply breath taking views in every direction, quite literally. If the wilderness of the Scottish highlands wasn’t enough to draw you in, then by simply looking up at the northern lights you’re adding a spectacular other dimension.
As wild deer literally roam past your window, you can completely connect to nature, feeling a part of everything that’s around you. The sustainable log cabins are uniquely hand made from red cedar, with grass insulated roofs helping them blend beautifully into the surroundings. Unique Himalayan wood carvings adorn the insides while underfloor heating and an eco-friendly woodstove will keep you completely warm and snug.
Eagle Brae have named each cabin after local birds to symbolise their commitment to the environment and contain beautiful personal touches to make it feel like a home from home. Pet friendly with all the mod cons from your own PC and printer through to a food processor, you should want for nothing during your stay and this completely unique venue. Guests receive a welcome hamper and complimentary consumables from fire logs and biomass pellets for the biomass boilers, along with staple foods like olive oil, tea, salt and pepper and washing machine powder. You even get wild bird feed to encourage the many wild birds to feed where you can see and enjoy them.
THE GROVE HOTEL
Five Star luxury surrounded by 300 acres of glorious British countryside is what you can expect at the Grove Hotel. Complete with an 18 hole golf course, rejuvenating spa and on sight award winning restaurants, the Grove hotel is the epitome of English luxury and hospitality.
What’s particularly impressive, is the Groves continued dedication to the environment, having just secured the prestigious Green Apple Environment Award for their eco friendly replacements of single use plastics.
Partners with the Clean the World programme which recycles and reuses soaps and toiletry bottles discarded by the hotel guests, The Grove Hotel also donates it linens, robes and towels to a homelessness charity New Hope Trust
Booking rates from £325 per night
STOKE BY NAYLAND HOTEL GOLF & SPA
Another sustainable hotel with rural luxury is The Stoke by Nayland. Standing proud in its off-grid status, the hotel demonstrate a commitment to helping maintain and preserve the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Dedham Vale. That includes planting over 60,000 trees in the past 40 years, as well as the safeguarding and protection of all hedgerow. Their dedication means that there is a rich diversity of wildlife to admire and spot during your stay.
The hotel residence includes double story eco lodges, heated with air source heat pumps and including spacious open plan living rooms. Comfortable bedrooms overlook the stunning golf course and countryside. Options include one, two, three and four bedroom luxurious lodges that enable just two or even the entire family to get away if preferred.
The whole aim at the Stoke by Nayland is clearly to relax and recharge. The more obvious means for doing so might be a swim in the heated indoor pool, a trip to the onsite luxury spa for a choice of rejuvenating treatments, or a relaxing game of golf. The flawless golf courses are irrigated using ecological reservoir rainwater too.
To enhance your stay further, you might consider renting a BBQ or popping down to the hotel to investigate the many events they host.
Off site, there are plenty of places to go in the nearby areas of Essex and Suffolk. Castles, historic market towns, museums and the many gorgeous gardens should keep you occupied and delighted. For children you may wish to visit Colchester Zoo. There are also some beautiful local beaches to discover which invite ice creams and swimming.
Rates start at £410 for three nights in a one bedroom lodge in low season.
For another Scotland staycation with plenty of eco credentials, we recommend Saorsa 1875.
Situated within 2 acres of gorgeous gardens and woodlands and overlooks the stunning town of Pitlochry, Saorsa 1875 offers the unique experience of being the UK’s first all vegan hotel.
Winner of the National Geographics ‘Good Egg’ Award and PETAs Best Luxury Hotel, as well as listed as one of the UKs top 100 hotels in the Sunday Times, Saorsa 1875 is a stylish venue designed to showcase ethical luxury to its fullest.
The blend of gothic Victorian building and contemporary interior design includes 11 bohemian styled bedrooms that are a pleasure to be in. A plush lounge encourages time to relax by the fireside as you await your seasonal vegan dinner, paired with local craft beers and wine.
The dining experience here embraces the delicious side of the vegan experience, providing fine dining and exquisite cocktails to vegans and the ‘plant curious. The gourmet meals are made with only local, ethical and organic ingredients. Nightly 5 course supper clubs are held in communal dining areas, which promotes a sense of shared experience and helps to reflect the friendly and welcoming vibe the hotel intends.
Carbon emissions are offset by the hotel in the form of tree planting, in partnership with The Green Earth Appeal. Hotel toiletries are of course vegan too are are made by local ethical brands.
Dogs are welcome at Saorsa 1875 so owners can feel free to explore the incredible surroundings of highland Perthshire with them in tow. As well as the pull of nature, you can indulge in golf or fishing amidst the scenery, or go a little more adrenaline based with some adventure pursuits from bungee jumping, quad biking and tackling the river rapids. The many distilleries, pubs and tearooms should also keep you well entertained.
Rates from £140 B&B
THE CHAPEL, WALCOT HALL
Located within a gorgeous countryside estate, charming Walcot hall is a great weekend staycation option that is quirky enough to give you plenty to remember about it.
Although this venue comprises of 12 holiday cottages and many a yurt for glamping, we’ve chosen to feature the Chapel, in the spirit of the eco staycation search. We’ll say it’s luxury because of its uniqueness!
As featured in George Clarkes Amazing Spaces the Chapel at Walcot hall boasts unrivalled rustic charm.
What’s particularly lovely about the Chapel is that it is made entirely from repurposed and salvaged materials making it an eco option for your staycation. The chapel is like a green house nestled in amongst Oak and chestnut trees in an Arboretum. Only accessible on foot, this original venue smacks of old lands, wedged firmly and rather magically between trees in the woods after a meander from stable block and car park.
The ground floor open plan design provides a small kitchen complete with gas cooker, wood burner and all the necessities. A quirky winding spiral staircase takes you up to the mezzanine where you’ll find two double bedrooms.
In keeping with the remote hideaway, reception on the television can be poor and even the lighting on the pathway to the Chapel is sparse, which all adds to the timeless experience of stepping back into history a little. Connecting with simple pleasures and wholesome activities becomes more appealing. In fact, that’s not a bad thing since the gardens at Walcot hall extend to 30 acres, with an arboretum rich with an enormous variety of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plantings, bringing a magnificent biodiversity to the tale.
The bathroom includes a luxuriously deep bath to wile away the evenings after a day stomping out in the country.
Shropshire itself has plenty to explore, from wilderness reserve to the historic town of Shrewsbury, or the Hoo Zoo and Dinosaur world. If that doesn’t float your boat, there are of course an abundance of country pubs and breweries to enjoy.
Feel free to check out some more awesome luxury sustainable hotels across the UK, such as the zetter hotel, heckfield place and London venues at popular travel site CN Travel here
I hope you have enjoyed browsing these one of a kind UK venues who are showing how eco staycations can be done! Now get booking before they’re all full up!
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