Do you care about climate change? Are you planning to be more environmentally friendly this year?

Lockerbrook Farm Outdor Centre and Hostel Peak District

Perhaps one of your New Year resolutions is to live a greener life. If so we can help!!! Holidays in hostels or bunkhouses have great ECO credentials.

Days, weekends and longer holidays spent in hostels, bunkhouses and camping barns have great ECO credentials.

With a choice of over 440 independent hostels in some wonderful locations all over the UK there is no need to make any damaging journeys by air.

The shared living areas in hostels mean that your individual carbon footprint for that holiday is reduced.

The self catering aspect means you can buy local food with very few food miles. You can cook what you know you will eat thus reducing waste.


The activities associated with hostel holidays are almost all very environmentally friendly.

Walking, cycling, mountain biking, canoeing/kayaking, climbing, running, star gazing, celebrating with friends and family, bird watching, wildlife watching, photography, beach combing, pub/cafe visiting, dog walking and unwinding all have a minimal impact on the environment.

What’s more many of the 440 hostels in the Independent Hostel Network have been awarded Green Tourism Awards.  The head office of Independent Hostels is also a Gold Green Tourism Award holder.

Gold green Tourism Independent HOstels

Among the ECO hostels you will find solar panels, wind turbines, biomass boilers, sheep’s wool insulation, electric charging points, bikes for hire, kitchen gardens, home cooked locally sourced meals and eggs from the hostel’s own chickens.  Some hostels are entirely off grid.

Chartners Farm Off the Grid Hostel in Harwood Forest, Northumberland

To help promote sustainable transport there are a number of initiatives.  At Puttenham Eco Camping Barn, on the North Downs Way near Guildford, a  ‘green’ voucher worth £3 off the cost of the accommodation is offered to all who arrive by foot, cycle or public transport.  The two hostels owned by the Elenydd Wilderness Trust, Dolgoch and Tyncornel  in the Cambrian Mountains near Tregaron, offer Green Vouchers to anyone arriving on foot or bike. These vouchers entitle the holder to a half price stay at either of the hostels at a later date. These sister hostels are a day’s walk apart and guests are encouraged to walk between the two.  At All Stretton Bunkhouse, just off the Long Mynd in Shropshire, guests are also offered a sustainable transport discount of £1 per person per night if they arrive on foot, bike, bus or train.

Arriving by bike to qualify for the 'Green Discount' at Puttenham ECO Camping Barn on the North Downs Way
Arriving by bike to qualify for the ‘Green Discount’ at Puttenham ECO Camping Barn

In addition to these measures many independent hostels are happy to collect guests from the nearest train or bus station and almost all are designed with walkers and cyclists in mind. Secure cycle sheds, boot and drying rooms are common place, while advice as to local walks or cycle routes is given freely.

On top of all this holidays in hostels introduce you, your family and friends to a different ethos and a slower pace of life.  A world where conversations with friends or strangers are far more important that those on your phone or tablet.  A world where a star filled dark sky, songs in the garden, a good old fashioned board game, or planning your adventures for the next day are your preferred evening entertainment.


It’s also worth noting that a growing number of independent hostels are community owned and run on a not-for-profit basis, while many are small family businesses.


About Penny Macgregor

Penny is copy editor and loves horse riding, dog walking and skiing.