Record numbers of Britons will choose to holiday in the UK this summer according to recent figures from The Association of British Travel Agents and VisitBritain. If you're not into chain hotels or big camping sites take inspiration from this selection of away-from-it-all places to stay.
Romantic break at Brignall Mill Cottage, Yorkshire
Situated in a dramatic gorge carved out by the River Greta through Teesdale, a beautiful rolling landscape of sheep pastures divided by ancient stone walls and, on the tops, open moorlands, is this 18th century watermill which has been turned into a lovely self-catering accommodation. The idyllic spot, within the old North Riding of Yorkshire, bordering the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty makes the cottage ideal for walking holidays with many beautiful footpaths in the surroundings. The only noise in the Gorge is the rush of the river and the sounds of hawks, owls and pheasants.
The site is practically self-sufficient in power with a micro hydroelectric scheme, a heat pump, solar panels, but also wood burners in the owner's concern to make it environmentally friendly. The Mill is also the 2007 winner of the Gold Medal of the "Green Tourism Business Scheme" and the "Outstanding Award" by the Durham County Council under their Environmental Award Scheme.
Sleeps 4 - 6
Prices: Weekly low season £350 High Season £650
Brignall Mill, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 9SQ
For more information: www.brignallmill.co.uk
Yurt holiday at Afton Park Apple Orchard Yurts camp, Isle of Wight
Holidays in yurts offer a comfortable alternative to camping and have a low impact on the environment. The Really Green Holiday organises camping holidays in yurts and bell tents every year on the Isle of Wight. The island, off the south coast of England, has stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity. Slightly more than the half of the island is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The yurt site is situated in the picturesque Afton Park Gardens close to Freshwater Bay. Guests are encouraged to cook outside and use local fresh products such as the famous award winning Isle of Wight blue soft cheese, as well as the tasty fruits and herbs from the camp's gardens. But if you don't want to cook, there is also an onsite café, which offers local, and fair trade products. The campsite is also environmentally friendly with compost toilets, underfloor geothermal heating and dual solar and wood burning stove; the wood coming from sustainable woodland. The owners offer transport between and from all ports.
Sleeps up to 5
Prices: from £120 for a Yurt and from £100 for a Bell tent
The Staples, Blackbridge Rd, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight, PO40 9QJ
For more information: www.thereallygreenholidaycompany.com
Adventure at Loch Ossian Youth Hostel, Scottish Highlands
This Eco Hostel, which has been awarded a Gold Award under the Green Tourism Business Scheme, is a get away for trekkers and nature-lovers who look for real adventure and total isolation. The site is only accessible by foot or from the Glasgow-Fort William train line (a one mile trek from Corrour station). The Hostel is situated in the peaceful wilderness of Rannoch Moor, which has been designated a National Heritage site, overlooking the Loch Ossian in the middle of Scotland's Highlands. The magnificent scenery of the region compensates for the basic comfort of the hostel (the guests are asked to bring their own sleeping bags, sheets and pillow case). The Hostel electricity is powered by a wind turbine and solar panels, all of the water used onsite is recycled through a grey water filtration system and there are compost toilets.
2 Dorms of 8 and 12 persons
Prices: £15 with Scottish Youth Hostels (SYHA) membership per night (temporary membership available for £1 per person per night).
Loch Ossian , Corrour, , By Fort William , PH30 4AA
Tel: 01397 732 207
For more information: www.syha.org.uk/home.aspx
Organic break for stressed city workers at Ripple Farm, Kent
The 16th century timber framed horticultural farmhouse, which specializes in organic produce, offers fully self-contained accommodation. Each of the five bedrooms overlooks the beautiful landscape of North Downs which lie between the Surrey Hills and the Kent Downs. The Guests are encouraged to use the garden and a vegetable box is available every Thursday. Many activities are possible such as walking and riding country, and several beaches are close by - less than thirty minutes away. The area encompasses many natural curiosities like the Devil's Kneading Trough - a steep-sides dry valley, which gives magnificent views of the countryside. For the culture lovers, the nearby picturesque village of Wye has many historic places of interest as well as a Farmer's market.
Farmhouse Accommodation: sleeps 5
Prices: Weekly £270-£475
Ripple Farm Organics, Crundale, Nr. Canterbury, Kent, CT4 7EB
For more information: www.organicholidays. co.uk/Area/England/Kent.htm
Quirky breaks at Under the Thatch, Rhydlewis, Wales
Under the Thatch is a collection of various all year-round holiday cottages in Wales: from traditional English cottage to Romany Caravan to the unusual converted old railway carriage. To restore the cottages the owner, Greg Stevenson, used lime instead of cement, linseed oil-based paint and sheep's wool for the insulation. Some of the cottages have solar panels, reed-bed sewage systems, low energy light bulbs, wood-chip boilers and recycled furnishings.
In 2007, it won the Best Ethical Travel category in the Observer and Guardian Unlimited Travel Awards, and the Best Environmental Business in Ceredigion.
The most intriguing and certainly the most popular of all cottages is the Romany Caravan situated in the county of Ceredigion on the west Wales coast. The county has got whites sand beaches as well as the cleanest seas of the country, and is the only permanent summer habitat of the bottle-nosed dolphin in the UK.Sleeps up to 5 Prices: Weekly from £318 Under the Thatch, Bryn Hawen, Henllan, LLANDYSUL, Ceredigion, SA44 5UA For more information: www.underthethatch.co.uk
See also the Ecologist local hero article on Greg Stevenson
For green holiday ideas check out the Ecologist Green Directory here