How to holiday sustainably: our guide to eco-friendly UK holidays

Sustainability and the environment are becoming increasingly important issues in the world today. With this has come the rise of sustainable tourism and eco-friendly holidays.


The global market for eco-tourism is estimated to grow from $210 billion in 2023 to a staggering $829 billion by 2035. Not only are eco friendly holidays becoming more popular, but they are also starting to shape the way we holiday.

What is an eco-friendly holiday?

Also known as responsible travel, green tourism or eco-tourism, eco-friendly holidays actively respect the local landscapes, wildlife and communities. The philosophy is to leave a place as you find it, so the destination reaps only the benefits and not the downsides of tourism. Eco-friendly holidays also involve reducing your carbon footprint and holidaying right here in the UK is a great way to achieve that.

Overhead shot of a family cycling next to a lake at Silverlake, Dorset

Many holiday providers are adopting more sustainable approaches to what they offer. Here at Silverlake, Dorset for example, all of our holiday homes are eco holiday homes equipped with a range of sustainable features to reduce their environmental impact. The development itself is a former quarry, repurposed to be a haven for nature and wildlife and as a purpose-built holiday development, it reduces the negative impact of tourism on nearby towns and communities.

How can I have a more eco-friendly holiday in the UK?

Holidaymakers can also take steps to reduce impact on the environment while on holiday. With just a few small actions, you can make a big difference and holiday more sustainably and ethically.

Use public transport or drive electric where possible

Flying may be the most obvious way that travel is contributing to our carbon footprint, but the number of individual car journeys we make also adds up. By taking public transport wherever possible, you can help to reduce the number of individual car journeys made.

Empty train track running through countryside

You could also consider driving an electric vehicle (EV) to reduce your use of fossil fuels, either by driving your own vehicle or hiring one for long journeys.

Silverlake, Dorset makes both options possible, as it’s just 1.5 miles from the nearest train station in Moreton, making it easy to reach from further afield. Many Silverlake holiday homes are also equipped with EV chargers so there is no need to worry about your electric vehicle running out of power.

If you need to drive, you can offset your carbon at the time of booking by committing to planting trees through our partner, Play It Green.

Buy locally where you can

It can be all too easy to head to the supermarket to stock up on holiday supplies, but by shopping locally, you’ll make a more positive impact and enjoy better quality products.

Shopping locally has a whole wealth of benefits, especially when it comes to food. Unnecessary food transportation from abroad contributes to 35% of the UK’s CO2 output, so shopping locally drastically cuts down the food miles. Local produce is also fresher and of better quality, and you’ll also have a better holiday experience getting a true taste of the local area. Farm shops, farmers’ markets and independent stores such as bakeries, butchers, greengrocers and delicatessens are all great places for your local produce needs.

Local produce from Dorset on shelves in a farm shop
Image: Visit Dorset

When you shop locally, the local community also reaps the benefits, as you are giving back to the local economy and helping to preserve the heart and soul of the area’s towns and villages.

Reduce single-use products

A small thing that can make a big difference – there are lots of items that we use just once that can be replaced with reusable substitutes to cut down on waste. Reusable shopping bags, water bottles, coffee cups and straws are just some of the items you should have to hand while on holiday to cut down on single-use items, which often end up in landfill.

Woman shopping with a reusable canvas bag

Currently, half of all plastic produced is for single-use purposes, a devastating figure that we can all help reduce by switching to reusable alternatives.

Recycle as much as you can

The UK currently recycles 44.6% of its waste and there is more we can do to increase that figure. When you arrive at your holiday home, check the instructions for recycling and waste disposal. Recycling paper, cardboard, glass, tins, and plastic to be used again helps to cut down on landfill and the carbon footprint of generating new materials.

When out and about, look for recycling bins rather than general waste bins, or keep a bag to hand to store your rubbish until you’re back at your accommodation and can recycle it there.

Holiday where food is locally sourced

A highlight of going on holiday is eating out, and one of our top eco holiday tips is to eat out where the food has been locally sourced. Many independent pubs, cafes and restaurants place emphasis on the local produce where possible, whereas chains are far less likely to do this. Eating where the food is locally sourced also keeps the menus fresh and exciting, as the produce available often changes with the seasons.

An aerial view of 6 adults sat at a table eating tapas

Inspired by Dorset, our Hurricane Terrace and Bar prides itself on serving snacks and small plates all made with locally sourced ingredients, along with drinks from a range of local producers and brewers.

Choose eco-friendly holiday activities

There are plenty of great ways to explore the local area without leaving behind a carbon footprint. Leave the car behind and head out on a walk from the doorstep of your holiday home, or hire a bike to go further afield and see more of the local area in one day.

A group paddling on a lake

You could also stay in a holiday destination that includes plenty of activities on-site to cut down on additional car journeys. The Silverlake Estate in Dorset boasts a variety of environmentally friendly activities via its Activity Hub that allow guests to connect with nature, including yoga, non-motorised watersports, electric bike hire, nature crafts and much more.

Stay somewhere that cares for the local wildlife

Another way to have a more environmentally friendly holiday is to stay somewhere where you know the local wildlife can thrive and their habitats have not been compromised. Silverlake has created hundreds of acres of nature reserve within its Dorset estate, which a number of wildlife species call home, including otters, Sika deer, butterflies and over 150 bird species.

A deer poking out from behind a bush
Image credit: Mike Elliott

Our holiday homes for sale also have the option to be equipped with features for wildlife such as bee bricks and bird boxes. We also aim to educate guests about our wildlife and landscapes with a variety of walks and events happening throughout the year.

Stay in an eco-friendly holiday home

From how it’s powered to how it can support the surrounding nature, there are several ways that a holiday home can be eco-friendly. Fortunately, more and more holiday homes are becoming sustainable, as sustainability is now essential for holiday homes rather than a mere trend.

An eco-friendly holiday home with a living roof

By staying in an eco-friendly holiday home, you can reduce your carbon footprint and holiday with peace of mind, knowing that your visit has no negative effects on the environment or the surrounding area.

Eco-friendly holidays at Silverlake


Have an unforgettable holiday while reducing your environmental impact at Silverlake, Dorset. Our holiday homes include eco-friendly features, such as air source heat pumps, solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and EV charging points. What’s more, you don’t even need to leave the estate to be entertained – there is a wealth of outdoor activities for all the family, including nature walks, bike rides, watersports and year-round workshops.

A holiday home at Silverlake overlooking the lake, with a person paddling along the lake

With its vast nature reserves, we provide a home for the wonderful local wildlife and work with a host of sustainable initiatives to give back to nature, such as the Dorset Community and Conservation Fund and Building With Nature. We’re also working towards being completely carbon-neutral by 2030, so every aspect of our holidays will be sustainable.

If you’re looking to transform how you holiday in the UK and find somewhere you can return to time and time again, we have a variety of holiday home plots for sale with several options to bring your very own eco-friendly holiday home to life.