The Five Best UK Hotels with a Conscience

Plenty of UK hotels walk the walk and talk the talk, but these five are putting their money where their mouth is, to offer indulgent hospitality backed up by groundbreaking green initiatives.

Staycations are the sustainable order of the day. We know that. But not all hotels are created equal, and even fewer stick loyally to their guns when it comes to genuinely being green. So, we've done the legwork and scoured the country for the best hotels with a conscience. From the UK's first vegan hotel to a barge-like bolthole upcycled from an old Dutch detention centre, these are the little guys fighting the big fight for conscious travel.

Leave no trace: 5 of the best UK hotels doing good for people and planet


The Victoria Inn


Just a short stroll from Norfolk's favourite sandy shore, Holkham Bay, The Victoria Inn is a 20-key hotel on Holkham Estate whose restaurant's meat offering solely comprises game from the estate, served alongside locally sourced organic fruit and veg. The star of the sustainable show, though, is the hotel's all-singing, all-dancing biomass boiler, which heats the entire property and its water using wood from the grounds.


Park Road NR23 IRH




The Peter Pan of the hospitality industry, Treehouse was founded on the principle that a hotel should inspire as much childish excitement and adventure as a treehouse. So, rather than beat about the bush, they went ahead and made one. And right in the middle of London, no less. Built using reclaimed wood and filled with upcycled furnishings, the hotel also uses organic cottons, locally produced toiletries and runs eco-conscious composting and recycling programmes.


14-15 Langham Place Marylebone W1B 2QS

The natural reed pool at The Scarlet Hotel


The Scarlet

Cornwall, United Kingdom

This clifftop hotel won a glittering line-up of sustainability awards for its conscious approach to construction when it opened in 2009. Thanks to its do-no-harm ethos, over 120 small animals, including lizards and slow worms, were rehoused when the stone walls from the hotel that formerly occupied this spot were carefully deconstructed. Once the old building had been completely dismantled, its insulation materials were sent to a monkey sanctuary and replaced with naturally insulating sea thrift plants, in order to encourage ecological diversity.


Tredragon Road, Newquay TR8 4DQ


Good Hotel

With a name that does what it says on the tin, this former Dutch detention centre – a barge-like floating platform – was reincarnated as a hotel by Marten Dresen, a social entrepreneur with a singular mission to do good. Towed across the North Sea to its current home at Royal Victoria Dock, Good Hotel was created from the bottom up, with the planet and its people in mind. Think upcycled furniture and locally sourced food, yes, but also a hospitality training programme for the long-term unemployed (where every student has the chance of full-time work at the Good Hotel once graduated) and a foundation in Guatemala providing underprivileged children with an education through the excess profits from hotel stays. This is sustainable staycationing, firmly kicked up a gear.


Royal Victoria Dock, Western Gateway, London E16 1FA

Saorsa 1875, Scotland


Saorsa 1875


This 19th-century Victorian country pile might not initially strike you as one of the UK’s most eco-forward stays, but it is, in fact, the UK’s first fully vegan hotel. The 11-room boutique lodge was founded by the McLaren-Stewart family as an extension of their own vegan lifestyle, with the aim of debunking the misconception that foregoing animal products means sacrificing style. The furnishings and staff uniforms are all cruelty-free, while the inventive menu is entirely plant- based (think watermelon sashimi and hay-infused panna cotta). Italian head chef Luca Sordi plans meals meticulously to avoid waste, with an emphasis on provenance and seasonal Scottish ingredients from the wilderness, the hotel’s own vegetable garden and local suppliers. The individually designed guest rooms feature beds dressed with organic linen and silk and down-free pillows and duvets, while bathrooms are stocked with ethically sourced toiletries. Even the electricity is vegan-certified, courtesy of Ecotricity (the only energy company in the country with such a label).


2 East Moulin Road Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5DW

Discover More
The Eight Best Eco-Friendly Hotels in London