10 of the UK’s best eco-friendly hotels

As the climate crisis continues to bite, it’s good to know that some hoteliers are doing their bit for the environment. From biomass boilers to kitchen garden cuisine, up and down the UK properties are getting innovative when it comes to upping their green credentials. Here’s the Editor’s Choice of 10 of the best eco-friendly hotels, from the newly published 2021 Good Hotel Guide.

The Independent’s hotel recommendations are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and book, but we never allow this to affect our coverage.

The Zetter, Clerkenwell, London

A 1,500-foot borehole supplies water to flush the loos and cool the rooms; if you open a window the air conditioning cuts out. This hip hotel is itself upcycled from a Victorian warehouse, using eco-friendly materials. No glass or paper goes to waste and an atrium with automated skylight exploits natural light and ventilation. Bathroom products are environmentally squeaky clean, there are bikes to borrow and guests can forgo housekeeping in exchange for a £10 credit on food and drink.  Doubles £135-£168, breakfast à la carte (cooked dishes £8.50-£13.50) thezetter.com

Doubles £135-£168, breakfast à la carte (cooked dishes £8.50-£13.50), thezetter.com

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Y Goeden Eirin, Dolydd, Gwynedd

Alongside a warm Welsh welcome from hostess Eluned Rowlands, guests at this B&B receive recycling instructions in bedrooms that are big on local slate and timber. The building – a sympathetic conversion from a granite cowshed – is well insulated and equipped with solar panels and dimmer switches. Waste is composted or recycled, and rainwater collected to water the garden. An electric car charging point is available for guests’ use.  

Single room £65, double £90-£100, B&B, ygoedeneirin.co.uk

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Caemorgan Mansion, Cardigan, Ceredigion

When Beverley and David Harrison-Wood renovated the 19th-century mansion that they run as a guest house, they installed a biomass boiler to supply underfloor heating and hot water. Solar panels and LED lighting reduce the use of mains electricity, bathrooms are supplied with eco-friendly toiletries, food and general waste are recycled, and ingredients are locally sourced where possible.  

Doubles from £99-£130, B&B, à la carte £38, over-16s welcome, caemorgan.com

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The Old Rectory, Boscastle, Cornwall

Sally and Chris Searle live the Good Life at their Victorian rectory-turned-B&B. They grow fruit and veg, collect eggs from the ducks and chickens, cure bacon from their free-range rare-breed pigs and source everything possible locally. Waste goes to the wormery and old carpets become weed suppressants. The flowers in your bedroom will be freshly cut from the garden (the camellias love the used-teabag mulch, while eggshells keep the slugs at bay). Since replacing the Aga with an induction oven and installing a wood-pallet biomass boiler, they are now oil free.  

Doubles £105-£125, B&B (10 per cent off for single occupancy), stjuliot.com

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The Pierhouse, Port Appin, Argyll and Bute

Towels aren’t tumble dried at this former pier-master’s house on the shores of Loch Linnhe – a pulley system is employed instead. All cleaning products are eco-friendly; waste water and sewage are disposed of through a septic tank; cooking oil, paper and glass are recycled; and kitchen waste is composted. In the loch-view restaurant, seasonal ingredients are locally sourced, with West Coast langoustine and lobster from the Pierhouse creels.

Doubles £125-£295, B&B, à la carte £35, pierhousehotel.co.uk.  

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Pendragon Country House, Camelford, Cornwall

Even the website of Sharon and Nigel Reed’s B&B is boosted by a carbon-neutral server. Families can benefit from a free washable-nappy service and electric cars can be recharged, while solar panels and a biomass boiler supply warmth and hot water. Each bedroom is named after one of King Arthur’s knights, and has a bathroom with low-power-demand electric underfloor heating. In the evening, Nigel cooks a dinner of locally sourced produce. And so to bed – or, indeed, to Bedivere, with cherry-wood four-poster, herbal toiletries and eco-friendly refillable handwash.  

Single rooms £65-£75, B&B, dinner £25-£38 (two-four courses), pendragoncountryhouse.com

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Thyme, Southrop, Gloucestershire

Most of the food you eat at this Cotswold estate is farmed on site or picked that day from the kitchen garden, while heating comes from a ground-source heat pump and wood-pellet boiler. Billed as ‘a village within a village’, the hotel is spread across a collection of honeyed-stone buildings, with a guest drawing room, pub, cocktail bar, restaurant, spa, gardens and cookery school. The focus is on nature and sustainability. Old-fashioned hedgerows provide nesting sites for robins, wrens and chaffinches, as well as shelter for such woodland creatures as mice, hedgehogs and badgers.  

Rooms £355-£1,500, B&B, à la carte £42 (Ox Barn), children over 12 welcome, thyme.co.uk

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Whatley Manor, Easton Grey, Wiltshire

You can tuck into Michelin-starred meals with a clear conscience at this eco-friendly spa hotel, which uses a company to turn food waste into fuel – though with Niall Keating’s cooking, there will not be much left on your plate. Vegans and vegetarians are royally catered for, and business practices are geared to sustainability. Plastic has been all but eliminated, while filtered water is offered in reusable glass bottles. An area of the organic gardens is left undisturbed to encourage wildlife, and in 2019 three beehives were introduced.

Rooms £212-£704, B&B, set menu £85, tasting menus £130 (restaurant), à la carte £50 (brasserie), whatleymanor.com

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The Traddock, Austwick, Yorkshire

The gorgeous Yorkshire Dales setting of this Georgian country house has inspired the Reynolds family to do all they can to minimise its impact on the environment. That includes energy saving and the use of organic food. Spent ink cartridges are sent for recycling and funds donated to a Dales woodland restoration project have, to date, paid for the planting of 32 broadleaf trees.  

Rooms £99-£230, B&B, à la carte £42, thetraddock.co.uk

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Argyll Hotel, Iona, Argyll and Bute

It may be in the Hebrides, but this hotel still aims to dry as much laundry as possible on the lines, after washing with biodegradable products. Everything is run with the local ecology in mind, with the goal of protecting the pristine island. Ingredients are sourced from local crofters, and fish and shellfish are sustainably landed. The organic garden is nourished with seaweed from the beach and composted vegetable waste. Flowers are grown for cutting and to support and encourage bees; grass margins are kept long to shelter lizards and corncrakes, while bird feeders and bug and toad hotels are also provided.  

Singles £80-£85, doubles £105-£215, B&B, argyllhoteliona.co.uk

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