As we are increasingly becoming environmentally conscious and striving to save the planet we live on for as long as possible, we are also more willing to make greener choices. For some, that applies even when planning a holiday. Camping is an eco-type of holiday already, but you can make it even greener by choosing to travel closer to home and selecting the right campsite according to your eco criteria. We picked out some of the most amazing campsites for an eco camping holiday in the UK. They are all protective of the environment, having several eco practices in place, and on top, they are in beautiful locations with a lot to be explored.
First things first: What does eco-camping mean, and how can campsites provide an eco-friendly experience? You probably have a general idea of the answer to the first part of the question - camping with little to no impact on the environment. However, imagining what campsite owners can do to make their campsite more eco friendly than it already is, might not be instantly apparent. Well, if you just put your thumb and index finger on your chin (or search on Google like the rest of us), you will probably get to this list of features to look out for:
eco composting toilets
renewable energy sources
recycling facilities and upcycling practices
eco-friendly toiletries and cleaning products
local shops and farmers markets
While you may not find all of these features at one campsite, every little thing can help towards a greener experience and a better planet for all of us. In the end, campsites owners can only do so much on this matter; the rest depends on their guests.
Set on a working farm in Northamptonshire, this family-run campsite offers generous space for pitching tents, caravans, as well as two glamping pods with en-suite facilities and deck terraces for a more luxurious experience. What makes New Lodge Farm Campsite eco-oriented is that they use biomass woodchip to provide heat and hot water, and solar panels for electricity. Shower facilities and toilets are spotless, which doesn't get unnoticed by the visitors. The presence of an on-site shop and cafe selling local produce and serving farmhouse meals, snacks and drinks means you will have most of what you might need during your stay. That will save you many trips to the shops in the surrounding area, leaving less carbon footprint. However, if you want to explore the area, there's a lot to see just a 20-minute drive away, including castles, stately homes and beautiful parks.
Guests are delighted with how the site is maintained and how well cared for and welcomed they feel by the owners. Peaceful and spacious, this place allows you to connect with nature, either by gazing in the green valleys, losing yourself in the ancient forests or just letting your mind drift away by staring in the red kites regularly populating the sky. This campsite is for adults only, but pets are welcome on the pitches, and there's even a dedicated fenced area for dog walking.
Nestled in an idyllic and peaceful area near the village of Isleham in Cambridgeshire, the eco-friendly licensed Karma Farm grants pure joy for everyone wanting to go back to nature and have a good night sleep. When you arrive at the site, you will be greeted by the friendly owner Will who will make sure you have everything you need for a relaxed holiday. The only requirements are to be respectful of the other guests, not play any recorded music and keep quiet after 11 pm. On the other hand, you are welcome to bring your guitar and have private musical performances during the day for the neighbouring guests.
The nearby river Lark is perfect for walking, cycling, bird-watching, fishing and canoeing, making it the star of the campsite. But, if you'd like to do some further exploring, there's a good deal of options available. The nearest is Ely Cathedral which is visible from the riverbank. Then, a 15-minute drive can take you to Newmarket, the global centre of horse racing. Or, if you are willing to go slightly further away, the beautiful historic city of Cambridge bursts with scenery and architecture worth to be seen. A few pubs and shops nearby will provide you with everything necessary food and drink wise, though fresh produce breakfast from Will's farm is available at the site.
Karma-farm has a very strong eco ethos and has been built and managed with sustainability in mind. Pre-cut surplus wood is available for campfires, and recycled objects are used as firepits (an old washing machine, for example), which all contribute to the site's rustic vibe. Showers are available for those staying in one of the two available yurts, but all other guests should bring their own solar showers. This campsite is welcoming campers in tents and campervans, but not caravans unless they're eco-friendly. We like to believe that choosing Karma Farm Eco Campsite for your eco holiday can ultimately bring you some good karma.
Relax in 500 acres of unspoilt upland in the Scottish Borders by choosing Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping for your next camping adventure. Set in the heart of the Teviot Valley's Special Landscape Area, this beautiful dog-friendly campsite offers very versatile spaces to suit everyone's accommodation needs. You can camp in a tent of any size in their Edwardian walled garden, great for socialising and playing lawn games, or out into the woodland where you might be lucky to have the wood all to yourself. For those looking for a more luxurious stay, there are 4 safari tents, which all burst with rustic features and are equipped with everything you will need.
When you arrive at the campsite, you will instantly notice that careful thought has been put into caring for the environment. You will have to leave the car at the car park and head to the pitches on foot. That is to make sure the natural ambience and cleanness at the pitches are kept preserved. Those staying in the woodland have access to thunderboxes which are moveable composting toilets composed of a sink with fresh water and a separate composting loo. Guests have to follow the rules for their use and not throw any non-biodegradable items into them. The waste is later mixed into a composting system that prepares grass cuttings and stable straw for use in the gardens.
Staying at the Ruberslaw campsite will also provide you with gorgeous views, fun things to do and many places to visit nearby. The site's hub is the central place for socialising around the fireplace (although private campfires are also big here), and there's also a small shop for groceries and essentials. Additionally, you can borrow outdoor games and visit the glasshouse where you can relax beside the wood-fired stove. If you would like to explore around, there are many paths in beautiful landscapes, excellent for walking and cycling. There are several must-see castles and stately homes in the region, and a village, which is just a 20-25 minutes walk over the hill and has several charming pubs, a coffee shop and an Italian restaurant.
Located within a private beech estate in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in East Sussex, this campsite is an excellent choice for London campers. You have several accommodation options, from pitching your own tent in different locations to using some of the privately situated bell tents. Beech Estate welcomes groups of families and friends and is a great place for meeting new people. However, if you like more peace and quiet, additional secluded areas for pitching a tent among the trees are available where you'd be accompanied only by amazing wildlife. Speaking of wildlife, the estate is home to some incredible bird species, deer, rabbits and foxes, as well as a variety of butterflies, flowers and insects.
There is a way to be environmentally sensitive and still not miss anything you might need for a perfect camping experience. The owners of Beech Estate Campsite have run their business with this philosophy in mind and have taken some extra steps to implement eco practices. For one, showering here is a whole new experience. The site has 7 hot water bucket showers (in addition to 2 indoor ones) - roofless, for a unique view up at the trees' crowns and an almost 'shower in nature' feel. Besides giving you a fabulous opportunity to enjoy a shower while listening to the birds singing and smelling last night's campfire, these buckets are also very eco-friendly. They use about 13 litres of water which is almost 5 times less than what you'd need for a regular 8-minute shower. Ecological body-wash is provided in the showers, as well as eco soaps in the toilets and eco dishwashing liquid for use in the sinks.
As you might expect, the site has compost toilets (and flushing ones), which local carpenters have built. Instead of electricity, here you'll be motivated to rely on campfires as much as possible, as they are a renewable energy source. Each tent pitch and bell tent has a fire pit for cooking and warmth. Light comes from solar lamps, wind-up lanterns, and low energy led battery units, and while there's some mobile reception at the site, you will want to go completely off-grid and disconnect from technology. There's just so much to take in from the endless woodland with miles of tracks for walking and mountain biking that you wouldn't want to spend a minute glued to your phone. And in the evenings, when everything goes quiet, entertain yourself with the best show on the campsite - 'fire TV'.
Beech Estate Campsite is part of Pegs and Pitches Camping, so if you like to have a look at more glamping options, you can check their other location about 45 minutes drive northwest called Wild Boar Wood Campsite. You will get the same eco feel, just a bit more glamorous.
If you are looking for a lovely family-friendly campsite with charming features and a lot to explore nearby, then Eco Escape Campsite in the beautiful Pembrokeshire might be just what you need. Set on a working farm, this family-run campsite offers a variety of camping pitches to choose from depending on your preference. You can pitch your tent on the hay or wildflower meadow with spaces for smaller and bigger tents. If woodland camping is what you are after, then you can pick a more private pitch among the trees and immerse yourself fully in nature. You don't want to bring your tent? No worries, there are a few bell tents available for glampers in the most secluded areas of the ancient oak woodland. Eco Escape also has 4 spaces for small campervans, and as a dog-loving campsite, they welcome furry members of the family who can enjoy their morning walks in the lovely woodland trails.
As a Greener Camping Club member, Eco Escape is dedicated to supporting environmental projects, and for every group of guests visiting the site, they plant a tree. They also recycle and upcycle furniture, use a mix of renewable energy sources and keep the site small to lower the impact on the environment. That also means you can expect to have a clean, private pitch in a noncrowded area. Facilities include both flushing and composting toilets, a solar-powered phone-charging point, solar lighting, hot gas showers, fire pit/BBQ on each pitch and a wood-fired hot tub which you heat yourself with sustainable firewood.
Eco Escape is beautifully surrounded by nature with heaps of green space for playing sports and running around. Speaking of playing, children will adore the meadow swing. Apart from offering plenty of fun activities, the campsite is also conveniently located for exploring the best of Pembrokeshire's stunning beaches, with the nearest one only a 10-minute drive away. Many cafes, restaurants and shops on the coastline are within walking distance. When the night falls, and you come back from your exploring adventure, you can relax by the firelight and enjoy the starry night sky.
In some cases, your eco-friendly holiday begins the minute you start your car, that is, if it's an electric one. Exciting news for all electric car owners/environmentally conscious campers - you have a solar-powered charging unit at The Secret Campsite waiting for you. So, instead of wasting your time trying to find nearby charging points, you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying your camping adventures. The sun is also the provider of energy for the showers as well as the fridge and freezer. Cars are left aside so that you can enjoy your peace and increase your chances of spotting owls, deer and other wildlife species. For the same reason, music and, unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the site, but it's family-friendly with a lot of space for children to run around. Both normal, flushing and thunderbox loos are available, with toilet roll provided in all!
The Secret campsite is tent only, with three quirky glamping options, one of them being an amazing tree tent. Two of these come with additional pitch space. The Secret Teapot cafe is right there if you need a drink, and a nearby farm shop is just 5 minutes away on foot.
Located in East Sussex, the site is only 5 miles from the historic and vibrant little town of Lewes. Brighton is also fairly easily accessible, where you can visit the local shops, restaurants and attractions or head directly to the pebbled beach and enjoy a dip in the sea and treat yourself to a portion of fish and chips from the beachside cafes.
Whichever campsite you choose, don't forget that it's up to you to respect the site's rules and do your part in protecting the environment. That means cleaning after yourself and leaving the pitch exactly as you found it. Plastic cups and cardboard plates might seem convenient, but it's best to reuse what you already have. Recycle whenever possible and avoid using non-biodegradable personal care items. Respect the environment, and it will give you ten times back. The benefits of eco camping are huge. By focusing more on nature and spending time among wildlife, we are able to experience a complete recharge, and that's what we all want from a holiday, aren't we?
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