Ecotourism in the UK

The best destinations in the United Kingdom for eco-friendly holidays
United Kingdom
Check-in
2 guests
Where are the best places for an environmentally friendly holiday? Choosing to take a holiday in the UK and travel by car or train will hugely reduce your carbon footprint compared to flying. The UK has so many vibrant and eco-friendly destinations to explore, from modern green cities to beautiful countryside where you can get back to nature. Check out our favourite eco-friendly destinations below!

The 14 Most Eco-Friendly Holiday Destinations in the UK

Enjoy an environmentally friendly holiday in one of these green destinations

Where are the UK’s most eco-friendly holiday destinations? Many of us are becoming more conscious of the impact we have on the planet when we travel - but reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t have to mean staying at home!

No need for a long-haul flight to enjoy a memorable holiday, when there are so many diverse and vibrant destinations to explore in Britain - from Devon’s sunny beaches to Wales’ beautiful landscapes! Additionally, renting a holiday home instead of opting for a hotel reduces your energy consumption while on holiday*.

To help you plan a holiday you’ll love without hurting the planet, HomeToGo has researched hundreds of locations across the country to discover the seven most eco-friendly city and countryside destinations in the UK. We dug into everything from recycling rates to how easy it is to travel by train, in order to find the overall greenest places in the UK. Which destinations take the eco-friendly city break and eco-friendly country escape crowns? Find out below!

Green icon of two leaves

Home to the UK's only Green MP, Brighton is the greenest city in our top 7

Green recycling symbol with three arrows forming a triangle

Wales is the #1 rural destination, with the highest recycling rates & the most national parks

Green icon of a fork and spoon

For environmentally conscious foodies, Scotland and Brighton take the top spots, with most vegan restaurants per capita

Green icon of a tree

Glasgow has the highest proportion of green space of our top 7 cities, while London has the least

The 7 Most Eco-Friendly City Breaks in the UK

Rank
Destination
Vegan food
Recycling
Green space
Cycling
Air quality
Total score
1
Brighton
10.00
2.39
7.05
6.83
9.41
35.68
2
Bristol
4.00
9.04
4.52
10.00
7.94
35.50
3
Edinburgh
1.74
7.25
6.56
6.27
10.00
31.82
4
Manchester
3.46
10.00
9.70
1.72
4.71
29.59
5
Glasgow
2.23
0.00
10.00
0.00
8.24
20.47
6
Newcastle
1.88
6.33
7.66
1.93
0.00
17.80
7
London
1.19
3.62
0.00
4.84
5.29
14.94

The 7 Most Eco-Friendly Country Escapes in the UK

Rank
Destination
Vegan food
Recycling
National parks
Farmers' markets
Train travel
Total score
1
Wales
2.14
10.00
10.00
2.82
5.00
29.96
2
Devon
3.91
5.86
6.67
6.71
5.00
28.15
3
Scotland
10.00
0.80
6.67
0.00
7.50
24.97
4
Somerset
3.33
4.24
3.33
8.34
5.00
24.24
5
Dorset
0.00
8.22
0.00
10.00
5.00
23.22
6
Yorkshire
2.92
0.00
3.33
0.14
10.00
16.39
7
Kent
2.63
1.17
0.00
2.18
0.00
5.98

The Best Eco-Friendly Holiday Activities

For a fun family day out in North Wales, head to Greenwood Forest Park, which combines a fun theme park experience with the chance to get back to nature in beautiful forest surroundings. The park is home to wildlife including birds and otters, and is powered almost entirely by its solar panel array.

Brighton offers so many vegan restaurants, it could get overwhelming! If you have to pick one, it’s got to be Purezza, famous for their vegan sourdough pizzas with decadent toppings like aubergine parmigiana, truffles and smoked tofu. There’s also a huge vegan summer festival held every year in June!

Dorset has more farmers’ markets for its population than anywhere else on our top list, so don’t miss the chance to try some locally grown food! The seaside town of Weymouth has a particularly good market every other Sunday: you’ll find freshly baked bread, artisan cheeses, flowers and more.

‘Glasgow’ means ‘green hollow’, and it’s certainly appropriate! Enjoy the city’s green spaces with a visit to one of its many parks. We especially recommend Kelvingrove, a calm oasis in the middle of the trendy West End bar district, or Rouken Glen, a haven for wildlife with a beautiful lake and waterfall.

How We Produced This Guide

We created a shortlist of our 80 most popular destinations, and narrowed it down to the top seven destinations in each category based on eight factors:

Vegan restaurants per capita: the number of vegan restaurants found in the location, based on data from a leading vegan restaurant aggregator, divided by the population of the area according to the UK’s 2011 census.

Recycling rates: data provided by local council websites, or from websites of contractors providing waste disposal services on behalf of the responsible local authority.

Green space (cities only): the city’s green space as a percentage of its area, according to a leading UK mapping agency.

Cycling rates (cities only): the percentage of people in the destination who commute to work by bike. Data provided by the Centre for Cities, 2011.

Air quality (cities only): based on the Common Air Quality Index. Data provided by a leading air quality monitoring website. Data was collected on the 20th March 2019.

National parks (rural destinations only): the number of UK national parks which are wholly or partly in the destination.

Farmers' markets per capita (rural destinations only): the number of farmers’ markets in the area, based on data from a leading online maps service, divided by the population of the area according to the UK’s 2011 census.

Accessibility by train (rural destinations only): the number of the UK’s five biggest cities (London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool) which have a direct train connection to a town in the destination, according to a leading ticket booking website.

In order to rank the final seven locations in each category, we assigned each data point a representative numerical value between 0 and 10, with 0 representing the lowest data point in each category and 10 representing the highest. Thus, the hypothetical perfect score would be 50. We used the following equation to calculate scores for each factor:

Score (i) = 10((i-min)/(max-min))

*Source: parqex.com

Ecotourism in the United Kingdom: Top Holiday Lettings

House ∙ 3 guests ∙ 1 bedroom
Nailsworth, Stroud District, United Kingdom
from £58
HomeAway
4.0
View deal
House ∙ 2 guests ∙ 1 bedroom
Manchester, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
from £35
HomeAway
5.0
View deal
House ∙ 4 guests ∙ 2 bedrooms
Galmpton, Torbay, United Kingdom
from £91
HomeAway
4.9
View deal
Holiday park ∙ 4 guests ∙ 2 bedrooms
Camber, Rother District, United Kingdom
from £21
Hoseasons
View deal
House ∙ 5 guests ∙ 3 bedrooms
Sedbergh, South Lakeland District, United Kingdom
from £70
HomeAway
4.8
View deal
Apartment ∙ 6 guests ∙ 3 bedrooms
Saint Leonards, Hastings District, United Kingdom
from £139
HomeAway
4.5
View deal
House ∙ 4 guests ∙ 2 bedrooms
Keswick, Allerdale District, United Kingdom
from £62
HomeAway
4.8
View deal
House ∙ 6 guests ∙ 3 bedrooms
Trewen, Cornwall, United Kingdom
from £21
HomeAway
4.9
View deal
Holiday park ∙ 4 guests ∙ 1 bedroom
Scratby, Ormesby St. Margaret with Scratby, United Kingdom
from £25
Hoseasons
View deal
image-tag