Now that the lockdown restrictions have eased, the word ‘staycation’ is on everyone’s lips. EMILY WILLIAMS shares seven sustainable UK holiday ideas to help you reset this summer.
Since the first ‘stay at home’ COVID-19 announcement over a year ago, a world without international travel has been a foreign feeling for many. But whilst we wait for the green light to jet-set again, there are plenty of greener ways to enjoy a much-needed change of scene. Now that self-contained accommodation, such as campsites and holiday lets, are legally permitted for single household groups in the UK, there are plenty of ways to expand your horizons whilst reducing your carbon footprint along the way. Tempted by a UK break this summer? Read on to discover a range of unique staycation ideas with an eco-friendly ethos.
Situated a mere two hours from the buzz of central London, The Wilderness Reserve in Suffolk is a peaceful 8000-acre respite from city life. The sprawling estate contains over 15 restored cottages available for private hire, where you can switch off, explore and savour the great outdoors with your family or flatmates. Each property is individually designed using local artisans, some with open plan kitchens, hot tubs, large private gardens or even the occasional fairy tale moat. You can spend all your time relaxing around the house, or book into a range of activities on-site, including tennis, push biking, wine tasting, archery, spa treatments or a bird-watching walk with a park ranger. The Wilderness Reserve has set a new level of self-catered luxury. www.wildernessreserve.com
As its name suggests, this 30-acre estate in Norfolk invites you to unwind in calming natural surroundings. ‘Settle’ provides a restorative experience where cosy lodgings are dotted at spacious intervals across the grounds to give the ultimate dose of privacy. Take your pick from a characterful lakeside cabin, three restored vintage train carriages or two boutique canvas tents fitted with outdoor decking and a wood fire for memorable nights together under stars. During the development of the parkland, thousands of flowering bulbs were planted in the pond meadow and trusted local suppliers were carefully selected to furnish the glamping style interiors. Settle is a serene and luxurious escape with an overarching ethos of slow sustainable living. www.settlenorfolk.co.uk
Imagine staying the night in a suspended spherical hive amongst the tree canopy of a 20-acre forest. Before Lost Meadow Treepod in Cornwall was created, it would have sounded like something you could only conjure in a dream. This unique hanging hideaway is an authentic and wild experience, where you’ll be rocked to sleep by the gentle movement of the orb-like cabin and the trickling sounds of the nearby stream. The tree tent structure has been made with recycled timber and cables that are attached to the tree in a way that causes minimal damage to the trunk. At the bottom of the ladder, there’s also a solar-powered shower block and kitchen hut so you’ll have all the necessities you need to get ready for a day exploring the vast Bodmin Moor or a day by the sea. It’s an unusual staycation idea that is impossible to forget and one that keeps nature at the fore.
Are you hoping to explore multiple places on your upcoming staycation? The answer could be Yescapa, one of the UK’s leading campervan rental companies that can link you to vehicles within 10 miles of every major city. Hiring a campervan or motorhome allows you to explore on your terms and get away from the heaving tourist spots. The process is simple: create an account on Yescapa, filter your requirements and send booking requests to thousands of leisure vehicle owners listed around the UK. The accessible and cost-efficient platform allows you to book securely and organise insurance without any hassle. With Yescapa, you can say yes to sustainable adventures and add a touch of off-grid spontaneity to your trip.
Nestled in a 40-acre beech woodland, Beacon Hill’s state of the art treehouse is a sleek and sustainable home away from home. Clad in burnt Siberian larch and perched on Corten steel columns, its cutting edge architecture blends beautifully with the landscape. Through every floor to ceiling window, you take in panoramic countryside views and the balcony patio is perfect for alfresco breakfasts or sundown drinks. The solar-powered treehouse features open-plan living space and a bedroom with curtains that open at the touch of a button. Guests also have access to the on-site gym and spa facilities, as well as a dazzling observatory to see the starry night sky through a powerful telescope.
If you’re looking for a local dog-friendly escape from the city, The Old Dairy Farm is just an hour and a half’s drive from London, making it the ideal weekend break. This charming family-run paddock has been transformed into a glamping haven, where spacious custom-made yurts are fitted with king-sized beds, mini-fridges, wood-burning stoves and barbecues on every decking. Plus, there’s no need to go outside or queue for shared bathrooms when you have an en-suite attached to your yurt. The friendly B&B owners can also provide you with a bespoke breakfast hamper, activity ideas in the local area and even horse riding lessons from their private stables. The Old Dairy Farm is a serene retreat where you can kick back and relax in rural bliss. www.olddairyfarmglamping.co.uk
Shepherd’s Huts have been growing in popularity throughout the pandemic as they make cosy self-contained holiday homes in picturesque locations. Hop Pickers Hideaway follows suit, on the idyllic periphery of an expansive field that rolls out towards the Malvern Hills. The sage green hut is a romantic getaway with a private hot tub to ease into the weekend, a fire pit ready for marshmallow roasting and shared access to a heated outdoor pool, tennis court and games room. It’s a place to savour the peace and quiet of countryside living, where you can sit by the fire under uninterrupted night skies, set off on wholesome walks that end in the local pub and discover the natural beauty of nearby National Trust sites.