Forest Holidays: The New Eco-Travel Trend You Need to Know About

In the name of slow, sustainable travel, we're seeking wooded pastures and looking for places to get our fix of countryside in the UK. These are the South West's greatest treehouse getaways, and what to get up to when you visit.

Getaways immersed in nature have become one of 2019's biggest travel trends, with "forest holidays" rising up Google's ranking of searched terms. They're the perfect antidote to fast-paced city life and make the call of Mother Nature never louder at a time when our planet needs sustainable travel the most.

The UK is abundant with secluded, foliage-laden escapes and eco-friendly retreats that blend into their natural habitats. With pastoral idylls and spots of rugged beauty, the South West is a sanctuary to some of the finest treehouses. With all-year-round appeal, these are the forest-holiday destinations you should be booking now.


The Hygge Hideaway

Uplands Treehouse, Somerset

Just a 30-minute drive from central Bristol lies the sleepy village of Wrington. Here, tucked at the back of owners David and Tricia's house, surrounded by fields filled with horses and alpacas, is Uplands Treehouse. Stepping out of the wilderness and into this cosy, self-catered hideaway feels like coming home. Scandi-style floor-to-ceiling windows greet you with views of the Mendip Hills. Curved oak beams, a wood burner and super-comfy king-size bed imbue this place with a sense of hygge. Meanwhile a scenic outdoor shower and spacious balcony immerse you into your surroundings. Special touches don't go amiss, including a photo album detailing the treehouse's creation, a delightful welcome hamper and walking trails recommended by David.

What to Do: Half an hour's walk away, situated within beautiful walled gardens, is The Ethicurean, a Michelin-starred restaurant serving sustainable, seasonal food, botanical cocktails and wonderful fermentations. Stop by the family-run Aldwick Estate for a vineyard tour and a sampling of its award-winning wine. Visit Tyntesfield, a National Trust-revived gothic mansion set among gorgeous grounds or see the dramatic Cheddar Gorge, where a 9,000-year-old human skeleton (Britains' oldest) was found in 1903.


West Hay Road Wrington Somerset BS40 5NP

The Sublime Sanctuary

Treehouse On The Lake, Cornwall

Come to the Clowance Estate in Cambourne, where staff radiate Cornish charm. Set across 97 acres and home to an 18th-century manor house, the lush estate is home to the Treehouse on the Lake which hangs above the forest floor. Overlooking a boathouse, its open-plan living area soothes with curved walls, calming tones and high ceilings with wooden beams. A well-stocked modern kitchen and timber dining table ensure that natural touches are blended with homely comforts. Windows provide immersive, panoramic forest views - wake to dappled sunlight from enveloping Hypnos beds. For an unforgettable bathing experience, sink into the balcony's huge outdoor copper bathtub while absorbing the lakeside scenery. With two bedrooms this treehouse can accommodate as many as four guests, so get deciding which people you'll invite along.

What to Do: Row around Clowance's picturesque four-acre boating lake or meander through woodland trails. Clowance Spa offers bespoke treatments while the estate also has a pool, sauna, gym, golf course, croquet lawn and games courts to keep you entertained. Close to Clowance, Wendron's Slice of Cornwall is a rural garden café offering healthy eats and sweet treats with low carbon footprints. Lap up St Ives' sandy beaches, surf at Perranporth Beach or visit Kynance Cove of Poldark fame. A worthwhile hour's drive away, you'll find the Eden Project, the world's largest indoor rainforest.


Clowance Estate & Country Club Praze-an-Beeble Camborne Cornwall TR14 0PT

The Fairy-tale Getaway

Ravendere Retreats, Devon

North Devon's Ravendere Retreats could be from a Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale, with its majestic, dense forest and valley vistas. This secluded adults-only retreat is huddled by 12 acres of ancient woodland near the pretty village of Lee. The treehouse, built by couple Kieran and Helen, is stylishly furnished and decorated by Wayfair, with some pieces sourced from reclamation yards. The gorgeous decking area, complete with a pizza oven and barbecue, immerses you in the forest. Inside, the living room's wood-burning stove, royal-blue soft furnishings and antique drawers create a snug, chic stay while large windows, floral motifs, hanging plants and botanical paintings echo the lush surrounds. Romantic touches include the bedroom's dressing screen and a roll-top bath overlooking the valley.

What to Do: A 10-minute stroll takes you to local pub, The Grampus, great for a hearty meal with garden views while the continental-style Seventy Bistro is a short drive away. Ilfracombe's amazing beaches include secluded Lee Bay, surfer's favourite Croyde Beach, sandy Woolacombe Beach and Putsborough Sands, another surfing hotspot. From Ilfracombe's harbour take a boat trip to Lundy Island, known as Britain's Galapagos for its incredible wildlife and marine-life including puffins, ponies, dolphins and seals.


Lee Ilfracombe Devon EX34 8LW


The Out-of-this-World Escape

Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa, Hampshire

Chewton Glen goes above and beyond, providing outstanding hospitality over 130 acres of Hampshire woodland on the fringe of the New Forest. Among its 72 rooms and suites are 14 eco-friendly luxury treehouses, suspended 35ft above ground, propelling opulence to new heights. Treehouse Studio Suites and Hideaway Suites are designed as sumptuous lovers' getaways. The Hideaway offers a more deluxe experience, with a glass-covered walkway separating an airy bedroom from an open-plan living area, immersing guests in the canopy. The Loft Suite and The Yews accommodate larger groups. All treehouses benefit from beautiful kitchenettes full of treats, and receive breakfast hampers each morning. Under-floor heating and woodburners give living areas a comforting touch, while ultra-glam marble bathrooms feature freestanding forest-view baths, flat-screen TVs, walk-in showers and twin vanity basins. Catch staggering sunsets and wild scrubland from your deck's private hot tub or cosy day beds.

What to Do: Chewton Glen's award-winning beauty spa, 17m swimming pool, hydrotherapy pools, sauna, crystal steam room, gym and sporting facilities epitomise wellness. Savour The Dining Room's afternoon tea or delectable fine dining, with a sommelier advising on more than 1,900 wines. Have an aperitif at the hotel's gentleman's club-style bar to a backdrop of smooth, contemporary tunes. For casual dining, head to The Kitchen which hosts cookery schools and serves seasonal produce from the manor's garden. Get lost in New Forest National Park or trace the picturesque Solent Way, a 60-mile footpath covering the Hampshire coastline and New Forest countryside. If you're visiting in spring or summer, ride a traditional steam train through the dreamy 200-acre Exbury Gardens.


New Forest Hampshire BH25 6QS