Venetia Falconer, presenter of Talking Tastebuds podcast, shares her tips for planning an eco-friendly staycation.
I’m of the opinion that when it comes to holidays, the UK has a lot to offer. This must mean one thing: I am getting old.
Seriously though, there are lots of great reasons to plan a UK staycation: no need to attempt to learn a new language, no pre-travel vaccines, no pre-flight-waking-up-on-the-hour-every-hour anxiety, no wondering how and why people ‘dress up’ for airports, no plane food, no flight emissions, and very little chance of sunburn.
If there’s one TV show that seems to soothe any Sunday Night blues, it’s Grand Designs. I recently introduced this programme to Max, and low and behold, we landed on an episode dedicated to treehouses. Since then, my man has been making no secret of the fact that he’d like to vacate to a treehouse. In anticipation of the perfect occasion for such an adventure – his 30th birthday – I found myself in the only place I knew how to make this happen… Ecosia.com. And then I found: Canopy and Stars.
Turns out, they’re a pretty fantastic company. They’re 52% employee-owned and 24% a charitable trust; and sustainability is at the core of their business: “By working with owners who build and live sustainably, and encouraging people to appreciate the natural world, we can be a part of preserving our environment.”
Their website has it all: treehouses, cabins, yurts, gypsy caravans, safari tents, tipis and ‘unusual places to stay on wheels’. Think glamping, but without the festival. I managed to find the perfect treehouse for two, nestled away in the trees in Somerset. I scanned through the information to note that there was a kitchen equipped with a two point cooker, kettle and toaster. Entertainment included a chest of board games and WiFi was not available. PERFECT.
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WHAT TO PACK
Not much if possible. Everything in the treehouse is organic and sustainably focussed, including all beauty and bath products – they even had Who Gives A Crap loo roll. Canopy And Stars “look for socially and environmentally responsible ways to do business….” They pride themselves on being “fair, honest and human with our Guests and Owners and choose our brand partners with care.”
I’d suggest bringing comfy clothes, walking shoes (I wear Vivobarefoot), food supplies to last you the stay, reusable water bottles for walks, a few good books and red wine. The treehouse boasted an outdoor bath (just as luxurious as it sounds), Oatly Barista milk (what a result) and a bottle of champagne in the fridge.
PLAN YOUR STAY
To be as sustainable as possible, plan your travel accordingly. You should be able to travel via train to your destination and then the car time to your final point of call will decrease even further. You can plan all your extracurricular activities based on the information provided on the website. There should be maps in each location to help you navigate your trails. If you’re new to english countryside, insider trick: stick to the paths.
Waking up with the sunrise via a skylight and to the sound of birds singing each morning was truly magical. We took a couple of visits to the local town, but other than that, we were completely undisturbed. A few people in the visitor’s book said that they had come on a mini-moon to recover from their weddings, and other than that, just to completely disconnect.
If you’re after time to be in nature, whether by yourself, in the company of your loved one or with a group of friends, I really couldn’t recommend Canopy and Stars more.
Take me back to the Treehouse paradise!
For more sustainable travel tips, read our guide to on how to travel plastic free and how to offset your carbon emissions.
See the best eco-resorts on the planet.