Want to eat, sleep and explore sustainably while on an eco-friendly British adventure? Here’s how to dream of a future getaway with a green edge, from travel alternatives and plant-based eateries to environmentally-conscious hotels and natural beauty spots to visit, all ready for when we can travel again…
Want to spend more time outdoors? Dream of taking the path less travelled through Britain’s 15 National Parks and 46 official Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty . Perfect for hiking or simply taking a relaxing stroll, you can spend your time wandering through parks, exploring scenic coastlines or discovering calming forests.
One way to lose track of time in the British countryside is to relish the vast landscapes, quaint villages and intermittent internet connection on one of our many walking trails. As well as northern England’s well-known Lake District and Peak District National Park hikes, the south also boasts some unmissable natural beauty. Ranking at number 37 in Lonely Planet’s list of 500 unmissable UK experiences, the South West Coast Path is a walking trail that roams through some of Britain’s most beautiful coastal areas. Along the way you can get to know the best of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset, a treat for hikers and beach-lovers alike and a textbook environmentally-friendly adventure!
For a deep sense of wellbeing during a trip to Britain, step into the seductive world of forest bathing. An idea originating from Japan, forest bathing focuses on mindful walks and relaxation sessions in the heart of calm forest settings, of which Britain has plenty! For a revitalising dose of nature therapy, explore Britain’s tranquil woodlands, such as Savernake Forest in Wiltshire, Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire or Fingle Bridge in Devon.
Want to travel in a more sustainable way? Substituting planes for trains when travelling internally around the UK will not only reduce your carbon footprint, it will also give you the chance to see more beautiful British scenery. One great example is the Caledonian Sleeper train, an overnight journey taking passengers from London to Scotland in style. The trains call at destinations including Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Fort William, and come complete with comfortable bunk cabins and delicious dining options in the Club Car, so you can wake up refreshed, guilt-free and ready to explore a new part of Scotland.
If you’re tempted to go one step greener, you can plan to discover Britain by bike. There are numerous cycling holidays available, including a heritage and gardens tour with Wheely Wonderful Cycling. Alternatively, saddle up for an independent two-wheeled adventure on Sustrans’ vast National Cycle Network. One route for the travel list could be the 137-mile Sea to Sea path, a mostly traffic-free ride from Cumbria to Tyneside, passing through the rugged scenery of the Lake District before taking in the Pennines and County Durham.
Going meat and dairy free is a simple swap for eco-conscious travellers, so why not try some of the most mouth-watering and innovative plant-based options whilst getting a taste for the UK? Plan a trip to one of the capital’s most popular vegetarian restaurants, Mildreds, a Soho institution established in 1988 that now boasts three additional branches in London. Another stylish plant-based must-try is W.A.V.E., or We are Vegan Everything, in London’s trendy Hackney area. Sit back and relax in the gloriously bohemian restaurant as you tuck into diary-free freak-shakes, pancakes or fresh salad bowls. For traditional London dishes reimagined through a vegan lens, dream of dining at London’s first fully vegan pub, the Spread Eagle, in Homerton. You can also look forward to sampling plant-based versions of the Cockney classic pie and mash, or a very British Ploughman’s Board.
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is by swapping fast fashion for vintage or second-hand items. Not only will this help save the planet, it also helps you find some unique sartorial souvenirs! And when it comes to quirky markets and second-hand shops, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Britain. Prepare to rummage and haggle at London’s Portobello Road market, known for being a mecca of vintage finds, or head to Brighton to discover the permanent flea market, Snoopers Paradise. Longing for a trip to the Scottish capital? Make note of the three W. Armstrong and Son vintage shops dotted across Edinburgh, including the flagship store in Grassmarket.
Britain is packed with eco-friendly accommodation off the beaten track. Mixing the stunning scenery of the Lake District with carbon-neutral credentials is the award-winning Quiet Site – Britain’s first zero waste holiday park. Alongside their green hobbit holes, cottages, cabins and glamping pods are the carbon-positive Gingerbread Houses, new glamping spots that generate more energy than they use.
Another vibrant example is the recently opened Birch hotel in Hertfordshire. Mixing manor house grandeur, a festival atmosphere and a strong farm-to-fork ethos, the hotel sources ingredients from within the 55-acre grounds and on-site farm for their Zebra Riding Club restaurant, giving you a sustainable taste of British luxury.
Restrictions on travel to and around Britain are in place due to Covid-19. You are encouraged to always check individual attraction websites for the latest information, as details are subject to change.