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There’s been a mass of people talking about ‘the’ places to holiday in the UK. I’m sure we all know someone who’s chosen Cornwall instead of Connecticut or Scotland instead of the Seychelles. Well the same goes for Honeymoons. An increasing amount of people are wising up to the adventures that can be had closer to home – saving a small fortune in the meantime.

Responsible travel is hot off the marks on pointing out some top hot spots for those soon to be newlyweds who are looking for something special while still wanting to save some cash this year.

Here is our top 3 staycation-moon spots;

Organic farm stay in Somerset

Eco close to home
Eco close to home

This 15th centaury farmhouse offers a gorgeous B&B stay with a great choice of activities to spend those newlywed days together. You can take a course in bread making, falconry, organic gardening or art. If a B&B doesn’t take your fancy you can also take a look at their self catering or camping options.

Luxury B&B in Devon:

Responsible and luxury
Responsible and luxury

If you want to splash out (and why not, you’ve saved heaps on that flight remember?!) then go for a suite. You’ll find a king size 4 poster water bed, a private conservatory and your own private garden with koi pond (sounds swish!). There’s even a hot tub in the woods to use…

And for something totally different, a yurt in the Isle of Wight:

Eco eccentric
Eco eccentric

If you’re looking to save cash, reduce your impact on the environment and experience something totally different then this is the honeymoon for you. You’ll be staying in a Mongolian yurt tent or traditional ball tent, eating locally produced food and experiencing a range of activities from waterskiing to tai-chi, depending upon how your mood takes you.

Images thanks to: Millbrook Cottages. Huntstile Organic Farm and The Really Green Holiday Company.

Situated in the Yorkshire Dales, Swinton Park is a 30 room luxury hotel holding a real passion for eco living.

The castle like stately home, which dates back to the 1700s, still lays in the arms of the Cunliffe-Lister family, and with 200 acres of estate it boasts a sense of the ‘secret garden’ as you explore romantic hidden lakes, a stunning walled garden where the hotel’s 3AA rosette restaurant finds its fresh produce, and the home of Rosemary Shrager’s cookery school for 2010.

Felicity and Mark have invested heavily in making Swinton Park as environmentally sound as possible, introducing a wood chip boiler in 2006, followed by its own laundry using O-Zone technology to reduce impact of transport . It’s inspiring to think that this historic building gains all of its hot water and heating from a renewable resource.

Four acres of walled garden produce over 60 fruit, vegetables and herbs that are used in the outstanding restaurant. ‘Samuel’s’ stands in a class of its own, from its exceptional staff who are knowledgeable about the duck you’re eating to champagne you’re drinking, as well as being able to tell a tale or two about the lady who produces the most delicious cheese from five minutes down the road.

While at Swinton Park it’s essential to grab one of the many bikes that are readily available for guests to use and take a tour of the wildlife filled estate (from ducks to deers) – we were lucky enough to ride through an array of daffodils in full bloom, creating a site resembling the yellow brick road; I’d happily be lost in this bliss for a week or two.

I’d recommend you indulge in one of the deluxe picnics – filled with local hams, cheeses, chutney made from the walled garden and other freshly baked produce – we were eating for approximately two hours and loved every minute of it!

The spa is a paradise all of its own and I fear my words cannot do it justice. There is a reason why the hotel’s website does not present pictures of the ‘exclusive’ spa – it would be a real shame to have the surprise taken away. Book in at reception and enjoy the tranquillity of your own personal space for an hour – you won’t regret it.

Real affection for the environment shines from every corner of Swinton Park and we look forward to visiting again for one of the many alfresco evenings on offer at the newly restored Deerhouse or indeed one of the foraging events taking place in the grounds (some of which are led by Susan Cunliffe-Lister – an award winning gardener who’s influence you can see all around this spectacular property).

To book:

web: www.swintonpark.com

phone: 01765 680 900

For bookings taken for a Sunday or Monday night stay during 2010, a special bed and breakfast rate of £155 per night applies to Knights, Barons and Earls rooms, and £190 per night to Dukes and all Suites (subject to availability).

When you think of eco hotels you may think of the extreme – reusable everything, notices to turn off the already dim lights… and taps… and under no circumstance do you dare think about taking a bath!

I personally prefer a bit more luxury, but a hotel that still maintains eco credentials, which is why I was led to the Lancaster, London.

Hopping off the tube at Lancaster Gate, the hotel was less than 1 min walk away – bonus points for a proximity to sustainable transport.  The welcome was more than warm and the check in took minutes – efficiency superb.

On arrival at the thirteenth floor, we opened the room door to be greeted with a magnificent view of Hyde Park. Being in ‘the big smoke’ it was positively refreshing to have a view over one of the City’s greenest public spaces, and to take a walk in among runners, inline skaters and even horse riders.

This hotel doesn’t ‘scream’ green by any means, but if you look closely out of the window you will see 4 neatly places bee hives on the lower roof, slowly making some scrumptious honey for use in the hotel’s very own restaurants. (You can keep up to date with the life of the bees by reading the hotel’s very own ‘bee blog’.

The toiletries are natural and a bar of neatly placed vegetable soap on the side of the bath made for a pleasant change.

On offer is a selection of walking and cycling maps for seeing London the ‘sustainable way’ and I hear that they’re working with taxi companies who use hybrid vehicles in an effort to reduce emissions.

The Lancaster is working closely with all of its staff to ensure that everyone is working towards making those next green steps that we all need to make.

Given that this hotel is a 4* luxury haven in the heart of the City, it’s doing a pretty good job of making the right steps towards being green while not being ‘pushy’ to guests. It hits a balance that manages to maintain solid eco credentials while blending in top end luxury. With a ‘silver’ awards from Green Tourism for London, it’s a place I’d like to see again once it gets to ‘gold’.

To book your eco trip, you can call 0207 7262 6737 or visit www.lancasterlondon.com.

 

Would be explorers are wanted for a World Record Attempt to Reach the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility in 2010! Have you got what it takes?

magazine_exploror_610x380
You could be an ice warrior

Veteran Explorer, Jim McNeill, announces the Search for Ice Warrior Expedition Members

Defined as the furthest point from land on the Arctic Ocean and therefore its centre, the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility remains the last truly significant place in the Polar Regions, yet to be reached by mankind. It is over two hundred miles further than the Geographic North Pole and one of four recognised north poles.

Jim is looking for 28 highly dedicated and committed people to take part in a comprehensive and intensive training programme to take on one of four 200 mile legs, pushing the route across the Arctic Ocean.

Along the route “crucial datasets” will be gathered to benchmark the condition of the ocean for the NASA funded National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) scientists, led by Walt Meier. These deliver the reality of climate change and make the whole expedition worthwhile and purposeful.

The journey itself is a complicated logistical problem with the need for highly remote fuel and food caches to enable the exchange of teams and resupplies.

People wishing to get involved should visit the website where there are more details and a downloadable enrolment form for an Induction Weekend in August.

Jim said: “I’m looking for highly motivated individuals who want to go way beyond their comfort zones and push the boundaries of endurance in a wholly worthy and justifiable cause. Between now and February I will train them in every aspect that makes them competent and safe polar travellers.”

If you’re up for the challenge you can contact Jim McNeill at: jim@ice-warrior.com – and don’t forget to let Hello Eco Living know if you’re selected to take part in this amazing challenge – we’d love to read your blog all about your adventures in the run up to the expedition itself!