KEEP your carbon footprint down with a staycation. And make it extra planet-friendly with a break in one of these coastal resorts that sport solar panels, pathways made from recycled straws and not a single-use plastic in sight.
From South Wales to St Ives in Cornwall and Bournemouth, these three getaway spots are perfect for eco-conscious families, couples and groups of mates.
The family break
Writer Laura Bond, husband Nick and children Rosa, five, and Eddie, three, had planet-friendly family fun in South Wales.
- THE PAD: Go off-grid at Pembrokeshire’s Creek Cottage, deep within the beautiful grounds of privately owned Upton Castle. It’s surrounded by woodland and has the tidal estuary of the Carew River at the end of the garden, while hot water comes courtesy of solar panels and a wood-fired Rayburn provides the central heating. Three bedrooms sleep up to five adults, and there’s a child’s fold-away bed. If you’re after seclusion and freedom for the kids and dogs to run around, with 35 acres of rhododendron-filled gardens on your doorstep, you may never want to leave!
- EXPLORE: Take a boat trip with carbon-neutral Voyages of Discovery and look out for dolphins, porpoises, seals, puffins and (if you’re really lucky) even minke whales and orcas (Ramseyisland.co.uk). Prices start from £26 for adults, £14 for kids, and your dosh helps conserve local marine life, too. Folly Farm, £16.95 per adult and £14.95 per child, is a must – there’s a petting farm, zoo animals and more than 100 acres of play and adventure areas, as well as a vintage arcade and fairground rides (Folly-Farm.co.uk).
- REFUEL: Meander around St Davids, the UK’s smallest city with a population of just over 1,600 and the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, stopping off at The Meadow for lunch (Themeadow.co). Sustainability is at the cafe’s core – and the butterbeans and pesto on sourdough, £7.50, is divine. Tenby is everything a British seaside town should be with its pastel-coloured houses and four gorgeous sandy beaches. And D Fecci & Sons does the best cod and chips in town, using only local fish and locally grown potatoes, £6.35.
- DON’T MISS: For crystal-clear waters, you won’t find better than Abereiddy’s Blue Lagoon. Once a slate quarry, ruined workmen’s cottages perch on the clifftops while the water below is super-chilly but oh-so-tempting. Be brave and take the plunge!
- BOOK IT: Seven nights at Creek Cottage start from £583, with up to six people sharing (Qualitycottages.co.uk). Plan your trip at Visitpembrokeshire.com.
The couple’s break
Writer Jennifer Tippett and husband Paul discovered eco bliss in St Ives, Cornwall.
- THE PAD: Carbis Bay Hotel is an eco-friendly estate on a blue-flag beach in buzzing St Ives. From cosy rooms to farmhouse cottages and super-sustainable beach-front lodges – think living roofs, renewable energy sources heating the water, and pathways made from recycled straws – you’ve got a choice of where to lay your head. Kick back in Scandi-style interiors and enjoy the stunning sea views. The vibe is upmarket but relaxed – sandy feet are encouraged!
- EXPLORE: Wander on to Carbis Bay beach and keep it carbon neutral by hiking the coastal path. Start outside the hotel and within 30 minutes you’ll find the cobbled streets of St Ives, lined with art galleries and shops. The Eden Project, £28.50 per adult, is 90 minutes away by train and home to the National Wildflower Centre. If you arrive by public transport you’ll nab yourself a “green discount” – £4 off the price of a ticket (Edenproject.com).
- REFUEL: The hotel’s laid-back Beach Club restaurant serves veggies and herbs from the on-site garden – order the perfectly cooked Cornish fillet steak, £32. Hit Harbour Fish & Chips in St Ives for a traditional takeaway with the bubbliest batter – cod and chips, £7.10. Or for something more chic, try Porthminster Kitchen’s terrace for gorgeous fish dishes and cocktails with magical sea views (Porthminster.kitchen).
- DON’T MISS A trip to the hotel spa – the 30-minute rose facial, £50, is heavenly. Or while away the hours in the sauna and outdoor swimming pool heated by renewable energy. Products are organic and there’s not a single-use plastic in sight.
- BOOK IT: Rooms cost from £120 a person (Carbisbayhotel.co.uk).
The mates’ break
Writer Rosie Gizauskas and friend Lucy checked into The Green House in Bournemouth for the perfect girlie getaway.
- THE PAD: Set in an elegant whitewashed Grade-II-listed Victorian villa just 10 minutes walk from the beach, The Green House is furnished with wood that comes from UK trees felled in storms and has free electric car-charging points. Its own roof-top beehives supply the breakfast honey. The roll-top baths in larger rooms, complete with eco-friendly bubble bath, are dreamy and the sustainably sourced cotton bedding guarantees a good night’s sleep.
- EXPLORE: Fancy a splash about? Hop on a bus to the pretty sand dunes of Sandbanks, less than 20 minutes away, and give paddle-boarding a go, £15 for an hour (Thewatersportsacademy.com). If the weather isn’t so kind, head to South Coast Roast Cafe and order the brunch special of butternut squash, maple-caramelised onions and home-made vegan cashew cream cheese on sourdough, £7 (Southcoastroastcafe.com).
- REFUEL: Vegan Mad Cucumber serves up amazing beanburgers complete with vegan cheese and teriyaki sauce, £9.70, plus indulgent dairy-free chocolate milkshakes, £3.50 (Madcucumber.com). Meanwhile, The Bournemouth Pizza Company nails wood-fired sourdough pizza – order the fiery vesuvio, with pepperoni, spicy provolone cheese and fresh chillies, £11 (Bournemouthpizza.co.uk).
- DON’T MISS: Take a 30-minute stroll along the prom to the quieter sands of Boscombe beach to watch the surfers riding waves, and sip a hot chocolate (or something stronger) at local fave Urban Reef (Urbanreef.com).
- BOOK IT: Doubles start from £99 B&B (Thegreenhousehotel.co.uk).
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