How to Have an Eco-Friendly Holiday

9 December 2019

Whether or not you agree with the Extinction Rebellion protesters, it’s a fact: the world is heating up fast.

Research from NASA shows that “eighteen of the 19 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001”, with ice melting and sea levels rising every year.

This paints a bleak picture. Yet there is still a lot we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint and give the environment a helping hand – particularly when it comes to choosing our next holiday.

Research shows that over 54% of UK tourists are making an effort to be more environmentally aware when travelling, which is a great start. But aside from opting for a glamping staycation in the UK instead of booking airline tickets, it can be hard to know exactly what you can do to stay gorgeously green on holiday.

So we thought we’d help out, with a few of our best eco-friendly holiday tips.

Main image: Swallowtail Hill | Beckley, East Sussex
Above: Jollydays Glamping | York, Yorkshire
A 200-acre glamping site committed to maintaing respect for the natural environment
1.    Choose a UK glamping staycation…

…that specialises in eco-friendly luxury (they do exist!)  

Glamping takes the humble tent holiday to the next level, offering childhood-fantasy treehouses, exotic yurts, cosy pods, and creatively converted spaces including horse boxes and boats.

You’ll soon find you don’t need electricity for soft, twinkling evening light, while thick, downy duvets and log burning stoves take good care of warmth. Add sparkling conversation and rolling green views as far as the eye can see, and you’re all set for the perfect break in the Great Outdoors.

(With over 30 wildly different UK landscapes that have been designated a specific Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you could end up being spoilt for scenic choice).

Going even further, try to find accommodation that makes a point of listing its eco-credentials, such as use of solar energy, recycling, and conservation of water. That should help you sleep much more easily under the stars!

Above: Ling’s Meadow | Diss, Norfolk
This friendly and sustainable family-run glamping site offers a 10% eco-discount for guests arriving by public transport.
2.    Opt for eco-friendly transport

If you have to fly – and we get it, we love travelling, after all – then try to avoid short-haul flights (under 500km) if you can, and go with an airline that has a higher occupancy rate. You can opt to pay voluntary carbon tax whenever you fly, and the lighter you pack, the more energy-efficient your plane will be.

Otherwise, is there any better excuse to dust off that bike you hardly ever get to use at home, and head for the open road? Plenty of glamping spots include space for cycle storage, and most will be able to suggest somewhere you can hire a bike if you haven’t got one of your own.

Not a keen rider? There’s nothing wrong with a romantic, windswept stroll to get familiar with the local area, or how about an old-fashioned train journey, instead?

Above: Bulworthy Eco Cabin | Tiverton, Devon
A hand-crafted off-grid cabin secluded within 12.5 acres of woodland on the award-winning Bulworthy Project.
3.    Respect the environment while you’re away

It’s much easier to respect the local environment at home. But when you’re relaxing on holiday, it’s easy for the best intentions to fly out of the nearest window.

So try to stay conscious, and think about all the little things you can do to respect your holiday surroundings.

This doesn’t have to take a lot of effort, just a few extra seconds of thought. Simple things like taking showers rather than baths, reusing towels and bed linen, recycling as you would at home, and ensuring you turn off lights when they’re not needed, will all help.

Above: The Sleepout at Sunny Lea | Meifod, Powys
Breakfast hamper including locally sourced produce
4.    Keep it local

Choosing a local bed and breakfast, rather than a soulless hotel, can reward you in spades: with a truly authentic stay that has a friendly ‘community’ feel. Since local businesses are more likely to support each-other, you could even be bringing extra trade to farmers and shops in the area.

While you’re out exploring, try to avoid all the usual tourist traps, and take it upon yourself to discover some previously hidden local gems, such as family-run restaurants and quirky independent shops.  

Oh, and if you’re cooking for yourself, why not ditch the supermarkets and visit street markets for fresh, locally-sourced produce instead?

Hopefully, these tips will set you off on a fun and interesting holiday…one that just happens to be eco-friendly! 

To help you choose your next undiscovered location, our categories include some of the very best, quirkiest, UK staycation glamping spots around. You’ll even find a dedicated ‘Eco Stays‘ section, too.


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