Luxury that doesn’t cost the earth in south-west England
Sustainable tourism is a hot topic right now, as the fight against plastic pollution gains ground, along with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and achieving zero waste. As 5 June marks World Environment Day, we highlight a few of the multitude of eco-friendly places to stay in south-west England, just one of Britain’s regions well-known for its green approach.
The Scarlet, Cornwall
Perched on landscape that looks out over the gorgeous Cornish coastline and Mawgan Porth Beach, sustainability is a way of life at The Scarlet, which describes itself as a luxury eco-friendly hotel. Solar panels heat the indoor swimming pool, a renewable energy source provides electricity and there’s a natural ventilation system throughout. Its green credentials – which also embrace extensive recycling, water-saving initiatives and using ingredients in its menus sourced from as many local producers as possible – are seriously impressive. Guest rooms are provided with organic towels and, to save energy and reduce packaging, there are no fridges or tea and coffee trays; instead, guests are taken freshly made tea, coffee and homemade snacks (all complimentary) at their request.
Dartington Hall, Devon
A country estate near Totnes in Devon, the elegant Dartington Hall cleverly combines its long and varied history – its Great Hall dates back to the 14th century and you can stay in rooms that face onto its medieval courtyard – with a commitment to sustainability. A large proportion of its energy is produced via renewables such as biomass boilers and solar panels, while locally grown food is used at its restaurants The Green Table and The White Hart Restaurant. The estate also runs an in-depth conservation programme and, to really get back to nature, you can also enjoy wild camping on the estate.
Log House Holidays, Cotswolds
Roll-top baths under the stars, private beach and Finnish hot tub – sounds idyllic. All this luxury is also eco-friendly at Log House Holidays, which provides eight secluded luxury log houses around a 130-acre lake and nature reserve. Stargazing on a clear night is essential and guests have ample opportunity to spot local wildlife. The largest cabin, Mayo Landing, is set on a private island in the middle of the lake and has its own heated pool and wood-fired sauna, while all the lodges are furnished from local antique and auction houses, another positive step towards reducing that carbon footprint.
The Green House, Bournemouth, Dorset
This Grade II-listed Victorian villa style property in the heart of Bournemouth is fully committed to sustainability. At The Green House Hotel water is heated by solar energy, electricity is generated on site and each of its rooms are fitted with locally made wool carpets. The paint that adorns the walls is eco paint, the furniture throughout is created in the UK using trees felled by storms or tree surgeons, its restaurant sources from local producers, the wine list is created taking into account each bottle’s carbon footprint and even its company car runs on the cooking oil used in the kitchen. Yet its rooms are luxurious with walk-in showers, luxury toiletries and goose down duvets, and in-room beauty treatments are an added treat.
Burgh Island Hotel, Devon
There are many elements to recommend Burgh Island; it’s in An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the coast of south Devon, you can arrive there via sea tractor, it’s one of the most prominent places to see and experience Art Deco in the country and it counts literary legends such as Agatha Christie and Noel Coward among its former guests. But it’s also led the way in environmental matters for more than a decade. It’s gorgeous location on the coastline of south Devon means it can meet its local sourcing policy – particularly for seafood and meat – where 80% of ingredients are sourced within a 30-mile radius of the island. It has a natural sea water bathing pool and, as far back as ten years ago, it installed its own borehole used for irrigation and cleaning water, while 11 years ago it introduced elements to control external light pollution. Last year it installed electric car charging stations and there are plans a foot for a new eco-build on the island, The Pool House.
Eco Chic Cottages, Cotswolds
Effortlessly combining luxury style with sustainability, Eco Chic Cottages – The Chestnuts and Culls Cottage – are built in the beautiful honey-stone native to the Cotswolds offering elegantly luxurious accommodation that’s considerate to the environment. Its energy saving initiatives are first-class; the thick traditional stone walls keep the cottages naturally cool in summer and warm in the winter, each cottage has a wood fire rather than coal and curtains are thermally lined to keep heat in. You’ll only find products in the cottages that are kind to the environment, taps have aerators to reduce water follow and there are recycling and rainwater-harvesting initiatives in place.
You might also like these sustainable restaurants and attractions in the region:
In the beautiful cathedral city of Salisbury, Wiltshire, restaurant Greengages is focused on using locally sourced products in all its food that is prepared fresh to order – cutting down on carbon footprint and food waste. And just 30 minutes away in the Wiltshire town of Tisbury, the Pythouse Kitchen Garden focuses on an ‘eat the seasons’ ethos and grows many of its ingredients on site. Nearby attraction, the Bombay Sapphire Distillery – where you can book on tours and tastings of its gin – was awarded the BREEAM Award for Industrial Design – an award that sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design.
Cornwall has a raft of organic, sustainable restaurants; check out Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in Falmouth, which focuses on sustainability across everything from recycling and sourcing to conservation and energy usage. Or dine at the restaurant at Bangor’s Organic on the north coast of Cornwall, where the journey from garden to plate can be counted in minutes. You can also stay at its B&B, one of only three Soil Association certified B&Bs in the UK. For Michelin-star cuisine, head to Michael Caines at the stunning Lympstone Manor hotel just outside Exeter in Devon. Michael is passionate about sourcing local produce and supporting local producers and has also recently planted 17,500 vines over 10.5 acres to grow his own Lympstone sparkling wine.
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