Eco holiday ideas in the UK

Holidaying in the UK is a more environmentally-friendly option than flying overseas to an exotic location. I feel incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful country and am often telling friends about the stunning locations they could explore in Great Britain. So here are some ideas, including a special offer, for environmentally-friendly coast and country breaks in England, Scotland and Wales whatever your budget. With beaches like the one below at Broad Haven South in Pembrokeshire, why go anywhere else?

Broad Haven South beach, Pembrokeshire
Broad Haven South beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales


Rural retreats

Bluestone National Park Resort

Canaston Wood, Narberth, Pembrokeshire

Bluestone holiday resort is situated in the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. There are almost 300 luxury lodges, cottages and studios, and when you do venture outside your fantastic holiday accommodation, there's plenty to entertain you and your family including a Blue Lagoon water park, Adventure Centre and award-winning luxury Well Spa, to the Tournament Field, Steep Ravine and idyllic woodlands and lake. There's also a range of children's activities catering to 0 – 12 years. This means mums and dads get some time to enjoy themselves or just relax in the spa. If you do end up holidaying in Pembrokeshire, make sure you pay a visit to the fantastic Melin Tregwynt woollen mill and Broad Haven South (shown above), one of my favourite beaches which is part of the National Trust's Bosherston estate.
Bluestone take their environmental impact seriously. They use natural, sustainable materials wherever possible and some of their lodges have solar-heated water.  They also have a unique biomass energy centre which provides carbon-neutral heat for Blue Lagoon and the Adventure Centre. In 2012, Bluestone achieved Level Five of the prestigious Welsh Government-backed Green Dragon Award for its environmental work.

Special offers & themed breaks

Easter breaks from £349

Spring is definitely in the air so Easter is the perfect time to take advantage of the lighter evenings and warmer weather by booking a short break during the Easter holidays. I always used to get really excited about the spring break as it would be our first holiday of the year. Bluestone are offering Easter breaks from £349 whether you want to take advantage of the long weekend break beginning on Good Friday or arrive midweek during the school Easter holidays, there's a short break for everyone.

Woody Wild short breaks for tots and toddlers

Woody Wild midweek breaks are for the little ones in your life with the benefit of giving mums and dads the chance to eat, drink and relax whilst their children are being entertained. These special children's holidays  include entertainment, buffet breakfast, and meeting Bluestone's very own Woody Wild characters! Find out more info and when Woody Wild breaks are taking place in 2015 on the Bluestone website.

REAL Family Holidays

Locations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

If you want something more affordable where your family can get back to nature, take a look at REAL Family Holidays. These adventure holidays are run by the FSC (Field Studies Council), a registered charity dedicated to helping people to enjoy nature. Their holidays are great value for money as prices start from only £20 per person per night and include all meals, afternoon cake and hot/cold drinks are included, as well as one free activity per family per night stayed.

“In a modern world, where households have multiple gadgets, and kids are more likely to ask for an iPad or the latest computer game for Christmas instead of a bike, the joys of being active outside and exploring our natural surroundings are being lost.”

Their holidays are run from their centres which are housed in beautiful buildings, from Georgian mansions to stunning country houses in sprawling estates, which boast stunning views.

The FSC centres are located across the UK and include the Scottish highlands and islands, Northern Ireland, the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Surrey, Somerset and Devon. In Wales you can choose from Snowdonia, Dale Fort in Pembrokeshire and Orielton.

Accommodation varies with a mix of your own twin and family rooms and most have wash hand basins, with toilet and shower facilities close by.

“Our Real Family Holidays offer a way to enjoy all the best bits of a nature holiday, while taking any discomfort, time-consuming research and organisation, or safety concerns out of the equation.”

Website: Real Family Holidays

Jim's Barn, Diggle House Farm Cottages

Diggle, Saddleworth, Peak District

Diggle House Farm Cottages are in stunning country-side near the wonderfully-named village of Diggle in Saddleworth on the outskirts of the Peak District. are these stone-built barn conversion holiday lets. The conversions haven't lost any of the character of the original buildings and enjoy incredible views of the countryside. The accommodation is on a working farm and riding school so perfect if your little ones love farmyard animals.

These eco-friendly cottages benefit from underfloor heating, rainwater harvesting, solar electricity and hot water supplied from pipes laid within the ground. There is also a woodburning stove in the open plan living area so you'll always be warm and cosy whatever the weather.

Website: Jim's Barn or have a look at Sykes Holiday Cottages range of eco-friendly holiday lettings.

Plum Cottage

Colebrooke, Devon

Plum Cottage is one of two eco-friendly, rustic cob and stone barn conversions now rented out as holiday cottages. These eco retreats have glorious views sitting in the grounds of the owner's farm, surrounded by fields and overlooking a cider orchard. If you like real ale or just beautiful countryside, take the train for the Rail Ale Trail along the Tarka line following the Yeo and Taw valleys, that run the 39 miles between the Cathedral City of Exeter up towards the North Coast and the historic market town of Barnstable. Exmouth beach is easily reached by train or by car .

The cottage uses an Air Source heat pump to provide both water and heating. The owners are keen to promote a green lifestyle providing guests with eco-friendly cleaning products to use during their stay. The nearest train station is just a 15 minute walk away at Yeoford so you can leave the car behind and explore on foot or by bike.

Website: Plum Cottage


Near Tintagel, Cornwall

If BBC1's Poldark has made you want to plan a trip to Cornwall, then Treetops could be for you. This light and airy holiday hideaway has the best of both worlds being set in a secluded woodland valley near a river but within easy reach of the Atlantic coastline with its stunning beaches. This venue is perfect for a couple looking for a romantic retreat or for nature-loving families. A 20 minute walk takes you to Bossiney Haven beach and only 10 minutes away is the large stretch of sandy beach at Trebarwith Strand. Padstow, Rock, Port Isaac, Boscastle and Bodmin Moor are within a 30 minute drive.

Treetops has been converted into an architectural eco-retreat clad with local seasoned larch to harmoniously embrace the environment. Inside natural and reclaimed timbers have been used and there is underfloor heating.

Website: Treetops

Aveton Gifford

South Hams, Devon

A tree-lined track leads to three former farm buildings which have now been converted into unique cottages for those looking to get away from it all. This is a nature lover’s paradise with several gardens, acres of grass and wildlife ponds for you and your family to enjoy. Two of the properties are heated by biomass boiler, using wood from local, sustainable woodland.

Website: Aveton Gifford

Coastal holidays

The Waves

Camber, Sussex

If you’re after a beach holiday, then The Waves could be perfect. This eco-friendly, luxury beach house is so close to the beach that you can hear the waves. This contemporary home is ideal for family breaks and is right next to the sandy beaches at Camber Sands. There’s a table tennis table in the ground floor games room plus beach chairs, buckets and spades, a windbreak, beach rug, and a selection of beach sports equipment so you can make the most of this seaside location. When you fancy a change from the beach you can explore the historic town of Rye with its cobbled streets, antique shops and sea food.

Mulberry Cottages voucher code

Mulberry Cottages is offering £25 off bookings valid for any bookings made between now and 31st March 2015 and for all holidays from 31st July-31st August 2015. This offer can be used on already discounted properties using discount code AUG25. The only condition is that is it only valid for stays of two nights or more. Book online.

Website: The Waves


59 Marine Drive

Bigbury-on-Sea, South Devon

This eco-friendly property has been designed to make the most of its vantage point on the cliffs above the beach. Balconies, sun decks, patio doors and a barbecue area allow you to relax and enjoy the stunning location. If, you like to take it easy with a book or just soak up the view across the sandy bay and out to sea, then you should take a look at the photos of this amazing eco retreat.

The beach below is accessed by a nearby path and you can also enjoy a short walk to sands of Bigbury on Sea, which at low tide lead to the famous Burgh Island and the popular Pilchard Inn. Heating is provided by an automatic air source heat pump with heat recovery system.

Website: 59 Marine Drive

Photo credit: Be a shade greener

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