Holidays designed to enjoy England’s scenic countryside have moved far beyond a desolate muddy camping ground with communal cold showers. Glass put ‘glamping’ and ‘green’ together and found that ‘sustainable’ and ‘luxury’ go hand in hand. Designed to reduce our carbon footprint, Glass also found that these country escapes made fine candidates for the future of modern, sustainable living.
5* new-age traveller
Thank god the French make the word ‘caravan’ sound more exotic. Although when you see images of the Karlotta Roulotte Retreat, set in the Scottish Borders, you’ll need no more convincing that glamping in la roulotte a la Karlotta offers some classy-does-it, romantic fun. Sitting on the Scottish Borders, this retreat boasts lavish Moroccan décor with an original-style roulette bed. It’s not just about the walking expeditions and breath-taking views either. There is a heavy focus on indulgence, with champagne on arrival and gourmet hampers available in the evenings. Roulotte Retreat also offers a number of classes throughout the year including yoga with yoga therapist and co-owner of the retreat, Avril Berry. There are also art, massage and creative writing classes, the latter suited to a location such as this, as the Scottish Border is rich in literary heritage. For the energetic there is canoeing, kayaking, gorge-walking, horse riding, mountain-biking and quad-biking and in the evenings, if you start to get caravan fever, there are camp-fires nearby where you can meet with other guests for a sing-song. No doubt, this holiday will bring out your inner ‘hippy’, but forget gypsy caravan, this is one gourmet holiday gaff – including gold woven rugs, soft wooden floors and a sophisticated, photo opportunity-inducing chaise longue - that will impress.
Ecopod Boutique Retreat epitomises deluxe low-carbon living and holidaying. Overlooking Castle Stalker (which, you should know, is Castle Aaargh from Monty Python), Lock Linnhe and Kingairloch Mountains in Scotland, it is surrounded by flora and fauna and is a nature-lover’s dream. If service is high on your holiday agenda, Ecopod’s hospitality delivers. On arrival you are given the option to fill out a small questionnaire which culminates in a tailor-made itinerary. This includes rarely visited rock pools, a remote mysterious glen as well as numerous day trips and activities. And if there is one place that ticks all the low-carbon boxes, it is Ecopod. All wood was sourced from the local FSC forests and water (sourced from a natural spring) is heated instantly from an exterior water boiler, so that no energy is wasted in storing hot water. They also plan to install a wind turbine in two years and waste water is treated with their Biorock system which uses no electricity. In addition to this, Ecopod successfully abolishes the idea that getting back to nature means living it rough: the interior is a cocoon of luxury, with high quality 70’s furniture, fur throws and a hot tub on the veranda. If David Attenborough were to ever narrate a James Bond movie, Ecopod is the perfect setting.
Ecopod Boutique Retreat, www.domesweetdome.co.uk, Sleeps 2, Week stays cost £895-£1200 whilst short breaks start from £450
Cosy yurt: the good life
The Big Sky Retreat in HookHill Plantation, Devon, offers a cosy existence amidst the natural charm and scenic landscapes of Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks. The yurt is entirely made of recycled and natural materials and mirrors well the owners’ loyalty to sustainability. During the day you can walk through fields of bluebells (when in season), venture in to ancient woodland and swim in the nearby lakes. Pioneering the treasurable experiences of leading a simple life, the Big Sky Retreat does not omit the desires of modern living. There is a wooden king-sized Swedish style bed, built by the owner, soft rugs and plumped-up cushions as well as hot water and gas hobs. The latter, you’ll need when you cook up some mouth-watering grub from the local produce that can be purchased from the large kitchen garden, not forgetting fresh eggs from the local Hookhill hens. You can also order locally farmed sausages, bacon and ruby red beef, local beers, ciders, apple juice and cheeses (the award-winning goat’s cheese must be tried). You need not worry if you’re not in the mood for self-catering though, as owners’ Alice and Scott will cook you a hearty homemade casserole, chilli, soup or curry to end the day. The good life, indeed.
There are enough Natural Retreats residencies in the Yorkshire Dales to envisage a village scene of the future, where that simple existence in more rural parts of the UK that most of us daydream about once in a while, becomes obtainable, sustainable and ultimately desirable without forfeiting the daily demands of everyday life. The modern residencies are situated in Yorkshire Dales National Park, offering leafy terrains, lots of wildlife and 54 acres of unspoilt countryside for you to explore. There are numerous activities to suit every taste or multifarious walks and bike-rides to take in the tranquil setting and stunning views. The award-winning design of Natural Retreats residencies is cleverly thought out, offering visitors a luxury experience but with eco-friendly technology. Sustainable timber was used for the frames of the properties and insulation made from recycled materials. Biomass heating, passive solar glazing and evergreen sedum roofs all reflect the ‘green’ ethos of the Natural Retreats whilst water for both drinking and showering is obtained from their own spring. Natural Retreats in Yorkshire Dales is definitely a superior haven for escaping city life and a modern, eco-conscious alternative to your idyllic cottage-in-the-country holiday.
…It would materialise into the Dapper Camping Club, in Wales. For a retreat whose by-line is: “Luxury included along with Gin, Ice and Lemons,” one can tell that relaxation and lounging about are of high importance. The Dapper Camping Club offers British chic in its interior with a touch of 20’s style and refined taste. On arrival, you will find a complimentary breakfast hamper with all the ingredients necessary for a classic fry-up. The larder is also stocked with an array of fresh produce including home-made pesto. Fresh veg is available according to the season and home-cooking is encouraged to gear you up for the country lifestyle. The Dapper Camping Club really oozes character – even a mini bar resides within the posh tent for those who want a bit of hotel-esque five-star treatment. It also adheres to modern sustainable living ideas: the tent is situated off-grid, offers eco-washing products and all local veg on offer is sourced from the owner’s gardens. Llangors, the largest natural lake in South Wales, offers watersports, whilst there are also cycling and walking trails as well as activities such as kayaking, canoeing and horse riding. Whether you want to laze about with a G&T in your hand or trek up the surrounding hills, The Dapper Camping Club has got both recipes just right.