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

hotel

The Victoria Inn

Norfolk

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.

Address

Park Road NR23 IRH

hotel

Treehouse

London

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.

Address

14-15 Langham Place Marylebone W1B 2QS

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.

Address

Tredragon Road, Newquay TR8 4DQ

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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.

Address

Royal Victoria Dock, Western Gateway, London E16 1FA

hotel

Saorsa 1875

Perthshire

You wouldn’t think it from the exterior of this grand country mansion, which looks more like a smart hunting lodge than an eco-hotel, but Saorsa 1875 is in fact the UK’s first vegan hotel. Meals here are meticulously planned to avoid waste, electricity is supplied by Ecotricity (the UK’s first certified-vegan electricity supplier) and the hotel’s funky, colourful bedrooms were almost entirely decorated using salvaged and locally sourced furnishings. Even the beds – bedecked with down-free duvets – are 100 per cent guilt-free, making them all the more comfy.

Address

2 E Moulin Rd, Pitlochry PH16 5DW

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