Five soothing, eco-friendly retreats across the UK

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Treat yourself to a rustic retreat that’s both gentle on Mother Earth and soothing for the soul with these five sustainable UK countryside hotels

With summer very much on the way, you’re probably thinking about your next getaway. We’ve made a list of the coolest staycation spots where you can unwind and get your mojo back, without it needing to cost the earth. Here’s five of our favourites to book right now.

The one for wild swimming

Set in a stately Neo-Jacobean pile once favoured by Winston Churchill, South Lodge in Horsham, West Sussex announced its certification as a B Corp in 2021. What does that mean? It means the hotel is fully dedicated to environmental responsibility. So there’s EV charging points, electric tuk-tuks to whisk you around, a ground source heat pump to reduce reliance on gas, and wild swimming with natural filtration — ideal for warm summer days. At Botanica, the zero-waste restaurant, you’ll dine on ‘wasted burgers’ made with pulp from the morning’s juices. They even recycle flip-flops into building materials. Did we mention the views are utterly gorgeous?

Read more: Review: Spend a relaxing weekend at South Lodge Hotel & Spa


The one for romantic, adults-only luxury

Perched dramatically on a Cornish clifftop, The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall is so committed to sustainability they’ll give you a discount if you rock up by EV or train. Making the most of its stellar location, most windows are floor-to-ceiling, offering guests unobstructed views of gorgeous Mawga-n Porth beach and the roiling Atlantic beyond. It’s a short stroll to the Bedruthan Steps, but if you’d rather keep it cosy, the Scarlet’s ayurvedic-inspired spa is lantern-lit, offering fabulous facials using wild-crafted lotions and tinctures. Don’t miss their twin log-fired clifftop hot tubs, perfect for a romantic evening for two.


The one for ethical fine dining

Formerly of the three-Michelin-starred L’Enclume in Cumbria, the Torridon’s celebrated head chef, Paul Green, sources two-thirds of produce for the Scottish hotel’s restaurant from a two-acre kitchen garden. Meat, meanwhile, is sourced from the stags and cattle that roam the nearby pine-scented Munros that surround the stately baronial lodge with its Hogwarts-style towers. Single-use plastic is banned, heating comes from local biomass, water from an on-site borehole, and all cleaning products are chemical-free, as well.

Read more: 20 of London’s best terraces for summer sipping

The one for glamping

Think camping, but better: this upmarket cluster of lodges, villas and tents set in Lincolnshire’s Woodhall Spa (which itself is located within a 45-acre eco park) is tailormade especially to help you reconnect with nature. Cleverly constructed with a fusion of gabion walls — essentially nets holding together low-impact local stone — reclaimed wood and man-made hillocks are seeded with poppies and other wildflowers. Pools have efficient heat pumps, while Chelsea Flower Show gold-medal winning landscape designer Jody Lidgard oversees a reforestation and rewilding programme to plant over 1,500 trees. It’s also dog-friendly and great for groups, so dog owners will want to book this one quickly.


The one for spectacular scenery

A proper authentic off-grid retreat, The Salthouse is a gorgeous seaside spot overlooking the dinky yet picturesque village of Ballycastle in Northern Ireland. It features unique eco-lodges powered entirely through a mixture of on-site solar and an impressive 225kw wind turbine, LED lighting throughout and individually controlled radiators — way more efficient than the norm — plus a total ban on single-use plastic. Food miles are kept low by a restaurant that leans heavily on produce from the sea: think loin of cod with a brown shrimp and samphire risotto. Plus, you’re not far from the Giant’s Causeway, and various Game of Thrones filming locations — perfect for fans of the hit show or those who love exploring.

Read more: The best wellness retreats to boost your gut health


Words by Andy Hill

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