Dreaming of an eco-friendly escape immersed in nature?
The pebble travel experts have put together a roundup of the 14 best eco hotels, nature breaks and conservation holidays in the UK.
Whether it’s glamping, environmentally friendly hotels or conservation-led adventures, these travel experiences use tourism to protect UK nature and wildlife.
This form of sustainable tourism comes at an urgent time for UK conservation. According to a report, UK biodiversity loss is nearly at 50% and at risk of ‘an ecological meltdown.’
In addition, the UK has lost 97% of wildflower meadows since the 1930s due to agriculture and property development.
The trend in off-grid nature escapes provides farmers and landowners with a new source of revenue that helps them fund their own rewilding projects.
What’s more, some organisations allow you to take it further and have a direct, positive impact on the place you visit. It’s a win-win model where everyone benefits.
So, discover natural beauty, stunning countryside and opportunities to get hands-on in this guide to the best eco hotels, nature getaways and conservation holidays in the UK.
14 Best Eco Hotels, Nature Breaks And Conservation Holidays In The UK
1. Scotland: The Big Picture, Scottish Highlands
Nestled deep in the Scottish Highlands, Scotland: The Big Picture offers nature lovers the chance to get involved with pioneering rewilding projects as part of small group and exclusive eco retreats in the UK.
Choose from weekend or week-long itineraries across Scotland’s beautiful and remote places.
Picnics alongside cascading waterfalls, wildlife spotting and learning about exciting nature recovery initiatives are just some of the activities included.
Accommodation is in the form of cosy family-owned lodgings serving up delicious, locally sourced food.
Best for: wildlife spotting | learning about cutting edge nature recovery projects
Book it: Scotland: The Big Picture
2. Alladale Wilderness Reserve, Ardgay
Named one of National Geographic’s six places to rediscover nature in 2021 and beyond, Alladale is a 23,000-acre reserve in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.
Stay in one of Alladale’s three fully catered lodges, including Alladale Lodge itself – a comfortable Victorian manor. Or choose to self-cater in the remote Deanich Lodge.
Alladale is dedicated to conservation whether it’s planting trees, wildlife projects or peatland restoration.
Staying here directly contributes to conservation projects across the UK and Europe through its charity partner The European Nature Trust.
Best for: Remote getaways | Foodie experiences | Outdoor activities such as hiking and canoeing | One of the best eco-friendly hotels in the UK
Book it: Alladale Wilderness Reserve
Discover more in our feature Alladale Wilderness Reserve: The Natural Capital Escape In Scotland
3. Kudhva, Cornwall
Cornish for ‘hideout’, Kudhva is an off-grid escape located in a 45-acre abandoned quarry.
Now a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Dark Sky Nature Reserve, the remnants of its industrial past can be seen in the Engine House that still stands today.
Kudhva offers a digital detox immersed in nature with outdoorsy activities including wild swimming, foraging, retreats and walks along the Cornish coast.
A popular hike here is the South West Coast Path. It also plans to run off-grid living and land management courses in the future.
Stay in innovative accommodation such as the raised Kudhva Cabins, Danish Cabin, Shanti Tipi and Tentsile.
Best for: Eco-friendly glamping | Hiking along the South West Coast Path | Off-grid living
Book it: Kudhva
4. Knepp Safaris, West Sussex
Approximately 1 hour 30 minutes from London, Knepp Safaris is one of the largest rewilding projects in lowland Britain.
Located across 3,500 acres of Sussex, the estate is a habitat for wild ponies, deer, cattle deer and pigs.
Nature rules here and you’re invited to enjoy it through Knepp Estate’s series of guided safari tours.
Join specific animal-focused tours including butterflies and kingfishers or opt for seasonal safaris.
Other guided tours include learning about regenerative farms, rewilding and biodiversity.
Knepp Safaris also offers its visitors the chance to stay on-site in its glamping accommodation such as bell tents, shepherd’s huts and yurts.
Alternatively, bring along your tent and pitch up in its wildflower meadow.
Best for: Wildlife spotting | Rewilding | Glamping | Wildlife holidays | Nature getaways
Book it: Knepp Safaris
5. Dulcie, Somerset
If you’re looking for a unique eco-friendly glamping experience, Dulcie in Somerset has got it all. The restored traditional button wagon combines quirky charm with modern comforts.
Inside, it has a double bed and wood-burning stove and a bathroom and kitchen can be found outside on the glamping site. There’s also a fire pit in your own private garden to cosy up to in the evening.
Dulcie is an ideal spot for nature lovers as it’s right in the Quantock Hills. Here, you have plenty of moorlands and woodlands to explore and cyclists can follow off-road trails up into the hills.
You’re just four miles away from the coast at Kive and you can also head to the medieval town of Dunster with its National Trust castle.
Best for: Unique glamping | Somerset sightseeing | Hills and beaches | Romantic breaks
Book it: Dulcie
Go local and read about the UK’s Best Farm Shops
6. Trees for Life, Scottish Highlands
Trees for Life is on a mission to restore Scotland’s Caledonian Forest which once covered much of the Highlands. To date, it’s planted nearly two million trees.
The organisation is also involved in conservation initiatives such as returning the lynx to Scotland, red squirrel reintroduction and rewilding the Affric Highlands along with Rewilding Europe.
If you’re keen to spend some time in nature and do some good for the environment, Trees for Life runs volunteer tree planting holidays called Conservation Weeks.
During your rewilding adventure, you and up to ten other volunteers will be led through a series of tasks by expert guides.
All accommodation and meals are provided at Dundreggan Lodge, plus transport to and from Inverness.
Wednesday is your day off on your conservation working holiday and you’re free to spend it how you choose.
Participants must be 18 years old and over to join. There’s no maximum age limit but be advised that the work can be quite physically demanding!
Best for: Rewilding retreats | Volunteering | Conservation-led holidays | Ecotourism
Book it: Trees for Life
7. Sheepdrove Organic Farm, Berkshire
You can find everything here from gorgeous accommodation in a renovated barn to a green events venue which can host weddings, office spaces and funerals.
Enjoy a relaxing holiday at Woodend, a large former farm building that sleeps up to eighteen guests (so, perfect for a big family get together!).
If something cosy is a little more your scene, the Boathouse sleeps four and is located on the shores of a tranquil lake.
These eco-stays are 100% carbon neutral and run on renewable energy. Plus, they’re both located on organic farmland which is part of the North Wessex Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Things to do here include walking, the Vale & Downland Museum and enjoying an off-grid retreat in nature.
Best for: Organic & off-grid escapes | Bird watching | Family time | Nature reserves
Book it: Sheepdrove Organic Farm
8. Wild Haweswater, Lake District
Wild Haweswater is a joint conservation initiative between RSPB and United Utilities Water for the North West located in the eastern Lake District National Park.
The initiative works to protect and preserve the land for generations to come.
You can visit Wild Haweswater on a day out either independently or join its series of wildlife photography sessions and experiences. If you want a longer holiday, you can do one of its multi-day wildlife adventures.
Choose between three or four-day pony fell adventures in some of the most secluded parts of Hawewater and camp under the stars.
For a more relaxed trip, Wild Haweswater also offers wilderness escapes and wellbeing retreats in the heart of Swindale Valley.
Best for: Rural adventures | walks | Off-grid nature escapes | Tailor-made experiences
Book it: Wild Haweswater
9. Otter’s Holt, Devon
Looking for a place to slow down and be in the moment? Otter’s Holt in Devon is an idyllic shepherd’s hut which features a pizza oven and wood-fired hot tub.
Nestled on Knightstone Farm in a little valley above the River Otter with only Beaver’s Lodge Safari Tent for company – at an angle for maximum privacy!
Here you can unwind on the patio and listen out for an owl or fox, go bird watching or fishing in the private lake.
The rural escape is great for stargazing and there are 60 acres of farmland to explore.
Further afield, you’re a few miles from the World Heritage Jurassic Coast and close by the Iron Age fort of Woodbury Castle.
Best for: Romantic breaks | Rural escapes | Jurassic Coast
Book it: Otter’s Holt
10. Coombeshead Farm, Devon
Set in the heart of Devon, Coombeshead Farm is the place where nature, wildlife and getaways meet.
Here on its 300-acre rewilding area, animals roam free. You can see them on the farm’s animal encounters and learn about its work introducing lost species such as wildcats to the UK.
Stay on site in one of the farm’s cosy Shepherd’s Huts or camp in the meadow. The campsite has just four pitches and each one has its own firepit. A heated shower and toilets are available and you can relax in the communal area.
Bookings include a complimentary animal encounter activity. The animal encounter involves a guided walk where you’ll see white storks, water voles, wildcats, the European lynx, owls, beavers and more!
Coombeshead is also just 30 minutes from Devon’s surfing beaches.
Best for: Wildlife encounters | Wildlife holidays | Camping and glamping | Short wildlife breaks
Book it: Coombeshead Farm
Want to see more animals? Read Where To See Wildlife In The UK
11. Wheatland Farm, Devon
Award-winning Wheatland Farm is a long-term conservation project in Devon that’s financed and sustained by its collection of beautiful wooden eco-loges, a holiday cottage and straw bale lodge.
All holiday rentals have solar hot water and run on 100% renewable energy.
Choose between cosy ecolodges with a hot tub, family-sized lodges, dog-friendly holiday lodges and accessible ecolodges suitable for wheelchair users.
Each one is unique and offers a peaceful retreat in the Devonshire countryside.
You can spend an eco-friendly holiday cycling, sailing on the pond, doing free guided nature walks, cooking up BBQs and listening to birdsong from the veranda.
Best for: Dog-friendly ecolodges | Eco holiday rentals suitable for a range of needs
Book it: Wheatland Farm
12. Tudor Farmhouse Hotel, Gloucestershire
One of pebble’s favourite UK eco hotels for great food, nature and a rural escape, Tudor Farmhouse Hotel in the Forest of Dean has got it all.
The boutique hotel was once a 13th century farmhouse and now features 20 luxurious ensuite rooms.
Come here to relax and enjoy the critically acclaimed restaurant. Dog-friendly rooms are available too.
The hotel also offers nature-based adventures. Guests can go on forest walks, enjoy wild swimming, paddle boarding, wildlife safaris, e-bike safaris and guided stargazing.
You can also book expert led experiences such as foraging, forest bathing and guided walks. There’s a shepherd’s hut spa cabin too!
Best for: Luxury nature retreats | Good food | Plenty of outdoor activities
Book it: Tudor Farmhouse Hotel
13. Room with a View, Dartmoor
This dog-friendly cabin in Dartmoor is nestled on a quiet corner of a working farm.
Just like its name suggests, it offers stunning panoramic views of Dartmoor National Park and it’s the perfect base for walks and exploring.
The cabin is off-grid and features a cosy wood burning stove, fully-equipped kitchen, double bed, ensuite shower room and enclosed garden, making it ideal for dogs.
Stay here for a rural retreat with Widecombe in the Moor with its cafes and shops less than two miles away.
You also have Dartmoor at your fingertips with Fenwothy Reservoir and picturesque country pubs nearby.
Best for: Rural retreats | Dog-friendly glamping | Dartmoor | Off-grid holidays
Book it: Room with a View
14. Wildwood Hideaway, Cornwall
The dog-friendly cabin is surrounded by 200 acres of pasturelands, fields and trees and looks out onto stunning countryside. Inside, it’s hand-built with a fully-equipped kitchen, shower room and cosy double bedroom.
The living space is the perfect space to while away the evening with its squashy sofa and log-burning stove.
Wildwood Hideaway invites you to be as relaxed or as active as you like. Drive over to Polzeath and Daymer Bay, take the ferry over to Padstow or walk the South West Coast Path for beautiful coastal views.
Best for: Dog-friendly glamping | Cornwall sightseeing | Walking the South West Coast Path
Book it: Wildwood Hideaway
Want to take your understanding one step further?
- Understand the complex issues around plastic pollution
- Find out where to find some of the most grad forests in the UK or which serene nature reserves to go to
- See what you can do to help conservationists with these great apps