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Five feel good getaways

Resolved to travel better this year? These trips not only make for a great escape, but do good too…

New Year; it’s the time when we set our intentions, plot new adventures, and ponder how we’ll spend our precious holidays. If one of your 2022 resolutions is to travel better, there are plenty of places right here in the UK which will not only have you feeling good, but do good too. Whether it’s staying in boutique boltholes that place as much importance on sustainability as style, or slumbering in rustic havens that contribute to rewilding the natural landscapes they sit in, there are a host of properties whch are all about having a positive impact, says travel journalist Ianthe Butt…

Inhabit Southwick Street, London

Images: Nicholas Worley

This boutique property is spread across six Georgian townhouses in Paddington, offering a calm enclave close to Hyde Park. It’s all about urban wellness: there are kooky egg-shaped pods for guided micro-meditations, a chillout lounge, a wellness space with yoga and on-point Scandi décor. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a plant-based restaurant, Yeotown Kitchen (yes please to chickpea Buddha bowls and sticky buffalo cauliflower wings). Eco-practises are championed throughout (recognised in its Green-Key certification) and interiors showcase pieces by social enterprises, from rattan tissue boxes by Kalinko Homewares in Myanmar, to pretty linen Studio 306 Cushions made by people living with mental health illnesses. Rooms from £150 a night B&B.

Parker’s Tavern at the University Arms, Cambridge

Images: Chris Roberts

Once a month, the acclaimed restaurant at the swish University Arms Hotel hosts ‘Rubbish Cooks,’ a supperclub where wonky fruit and vegetables and parts of fish and meat which would normally be thrown away take centrestage. Chef Tristan Welch transforms these into clever courses such as bone and vegetable peelings broth with tortellini, and stale bread and treacle pudding with Cambridge gin distilled cucumber. It’s £20-40 a head to attend, and this includes a donation to support local charities such as Jimmy’s Night Shelter. After supper, retire to the University Arms’ Martin Brudnizki-designed rooms for lashings of Edwardian touches, leather-padded writing desks, and beds with bold striped headboards. Pre-book Rubbish Cooks via email on: enquiries@parkerstavern.com; Rooms from £159 a night.

Knepp Wildland Safaris, West Sussex

Some twenty years ago the grounds of Knepp Castle, just south of Horsham, consisted of 3,500 acres of intensively farmed land. Fast forward to 2022, and – thanks to a pioneering rewilding project – the estate is now a nature-filled haven where peregrine falcons and bats swoop through the sky, turtle doves purr in swathes of woodland, and rare Purple Emperor butterflies pirouette through wildflowers. Holidaymakers can support this special place first-hand, by booking a camping – or glamping – trip with Knepp Safaris. As well as offering specialist guided trips (like dusk walks to spot pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bats as they come out to hunt) there’s a clutch of rustic-chic accommodation to choose from – we love the yurts kitted out with vintage travelling trunks and beds topped with Egyptian cotton sheets. Camping from £23 a night, two-night glamping stays from £250

Saorsa 1875, Perthshire, Scotland

Close to the wilds of the Cairngorms National Park, the UK’s first vegan hotel, Saorsa 1875, has 11 unique bedrooms inside a 19th-century Victorian stonehouse. Inside, sharp design – think neon lighting and tropical print wallpapers rubbing up against recycled furniture – results in a thoroughly modern bohemian riot. Bedrooms, named after endangered Scottish wildlife, place animals and the environment first. There’s not a jot of fur or leather in sight, comfy duvets are made from recycled plastic, electricity comes courtesy of Ecotricity (the UK’s first certified-vegan supplier) and at the restaurant, innovative suppers are plant-based and communal. For every dinner served, the hotel offsets its carbon emissions by planting a tree in conjunction with the Green Earth Appeal
Rooms from £145, B&B.

Raithwaite Sandsend, North Yorkshire

Sandwiched in a sensational location between the rolling sea, stretching Sandsend beach and the rugged North Yorkshire moors, this countryside favourite has recently upped its eco-credentials. Cheese already comes from the Camphill Village Trust, which offers supported living opportunities for adults with learning disabilities, ingredients at its teal-walled restaurant are now sourced within a thirty mile radius and staff wear smart uniforms made from carbon-sequestering Tencel.  Alongside its gorgeous grounds, Raithwaite has partnered with Sapling Vodka (who plant a tree for every bottle sold) to convert a disused meadow into a 500-strong forest garden. Another planting will take place this April, and guests will be welcome to join in. Recently revamped unfussy rooms are calming with fringed cushions, woodsy palettes and sassy striped throws: a divine place to unwind after days spent tramping through the moors. Rooms from £150, B&B.