Eco hostels : Green accommodation in sustainable bunkhouses and hostels

Self catering bunkhouses & hostels
Eco Hostel in Wales

Hostels and bunkhouses by their nature have a low C02 footprint. The shared aspects of the accommodation means more people are making use of the same resources, which make the accommodation sustainable as well as friendly. Self catering facilities allow guests to make finding and eating locally produce part of their holiday. Cyclists and walkers often arrive at their accommodation by foot or cycle on a long distance trail and some hostels and bunkhouses provide a Green Discount for people who arrive without a vehicle. On top of these natural green advantages are the added benefits to the environment if you choose an Eco Hostel. These hostels and bunkhouses have made a special effort to run their self catering accommodation in a sustainable way and in some cases have achieved Green Tourism Business Scheme awards.

Sustainable accommodation in eco hostels and bunkhouses
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Eco Hostels and bunkhouses;  Green accommodation in the UK

Holidays in hostels and bunkhouses by their nature have a low C02 footprint. The shared aspects of the accommodation means more people are making use of the same resources, which make the accommodation sustainable as well as friendly. The self catering facilities allow you to source your food locally, a great way to celebrate the region you are visiting.  On top of these natural green advantages, there are added benefits to the environment if you choose to stay at an Eco Hostel. These hostels and bunkhouses have made a special effort to run their business in a sustainable  way.  The map above shows the hostels and bunkhouses in the UK who have a green ethos to their business.  The photo above is the Star Bunkhouse Eco Hostel in the Brecon Beacons and the photo of air dried washing is at Millhouse Hostel on the Isle of Tiree in the Hebrides.

bushey heath farm eco hostel
Farm Eco Hostel

Guests often arrive at their accommodation by foot or cycle on a long distance trail, making for an environmentally friendly holiday.  Some eco hostels and bunkhouses provide a Green Discount for people who arrive without a vehicle.   A great way to encourage walkers, cyclists and the use of public transport.   All Stretton Bunkhouse  provide a £1 per person per night Green discount and Puttenham Eco Camping Barn provide a £3 Green discount. 

Over a quarter of the hostels and bunkhouses in the Independent Hostels UK network have a green ethos and a quarter of these have signed up to the Green Tourism Business Scheme.  The office of Independent Hostels UK has been awards the Gold GTBS award too. You can find out why here.

Hostels with Gold Green Tourism Business Award
  • Profile picture of Comrie Croft

    Comrie Croft

    Comrie Croft is a perfect rural retreat for mountain bikers, hikers, families and backpackers, just over an hour from Edinburgh & Glasgow. The 4* hostel offers cosy, home style rooms which are also available for sole group use and weddings. On-site facilities include The Tea Garden cafe, bike shop and lots of grin enducing mountain bike trails, family-friendly valley routes and a well stocked farm shop. A footpath takes you to the vibrant village of Comrie and gives access to stunning glens and mountains.

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  • Profile picture of Deepdale Backpackers

    Deepdale Backpackers

    Deepdale Backpackers offers a range of comfortable self-catering rooms with private en suite shower and toilet facilities, plus single sex dorms. All bedding is provided, just BYO towels. With underfloor heating throughout, laundry & drying facilities, all rooms have shared access to a large well equipped kitchen, communal dining area and living room with TV and woodburner.

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  • Profile picture of Deepdale Groups Hostel

    Deepdale Groups Hostel

    Deepdale Groups Hostel is at the heart of Burnham Deepdale in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the beautiful North Norfolk Coast. The Groups Hostel offers comfortable, self-catering accommodation for groups. Sleeping up to 18 people in 4 bedrooms, it is perfect for friends, larger family gathering, clubs or reunions. A great base for a walking break, cycling tour or for bird/wildlife watching groups. The knowledgeable staff give advice and share their passion for the area.

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  • Profile picture of Elterwater Hostel

    Elterwater Hostel

    Located in the peaceful village of Elterwater, in the Langdale valley, 15 mins' drive from Ambleside. The area has many walks for people of all abilities, from gentle riverside meanders to the challenge presented by the Langdale Pikes, Bowfell and Scafell. Pubs, shops and other amenities are nearby. The area is popular for both on and off-road cycling, rock climbing and other outdoor activities. An ideal overnight stop on the Cumbria Way.

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  • Profile picture of Iona Hostel

    Iona Hostel

    Tucked into the rocky outcrops on a working croft, Iona Eco Hostel has spectacular views of the isles and mountains beyond. The land has been worked for generations, creating the familiar Hebridean patchwork of wildflower meadow, crops and grazing land. It offers quiet sanctuary for those that seek it, within easy reach of island activities. Whether travelling on your own, with friends, or as a group, Iona Hostel promises a warm welcome. Tourist board 4 star. Green Tourism Gold.

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  • Profile picture of Jessie Macs

    Jessie Macs

    In the centre of Birnam just 10 mins' walk from Dunkeld, this refurbished Victorian manse offers a mix of self-catering hostel and B&B accommodation. Your perfect base to discover the mountains, waters, rich culture and heritage of Big Tree Country. Jessie Mac's has doubles, bunk rooms and family rooms, all en suite. One double has wheelchair access.

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  • Profile picture of Knockaloe Beg Farm Bunkhouse

    Knockaloe Beg Farm Bunkhouse

    A working farm nestled under Peel Hill, Isle of Man, Knockaloe Beg offers B&B, cottages, bunkhouse and glamping. The bunkhouse sleeps 8; with beds at one end of the room, dining and seating at the other. The Bothy is a cosy twin bed room. Washing facilities are a short step outside, below the rooms. In the orchard there are two deluxe en suite glamping cabins each sleeping four.

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  • Profile picture of Morags Lodge Loch Ness

    Morags Lodge Loch Ness

    A multi-award winning 4* hostel with a range of rooms to meet all needs and budgets in the bustling village of Fort Augustus on the banks of Loch Ness. Your perfect base to explore the Loch Ness area and an ideal stop off on the Great Glen Way. Surrounded by stunning mountain scenery and set in wooded grounds the hostel boasts 24 hour self-catering facilities, excellent home-made cheap meal options, a rustic bar, free WiFi, bike hire and ample car parking.

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  • Profile picture of New Ing Lodge

    New Ing Lodge

    This 10-bedroom, 10-bathroom B&B and hostel offers comfortable, friendly, accommodation with delicious food. Shap is in the Eden Valley, just off the M6, on the edge of the Lake District National Park. The Howgills and the Pennine Fells are a short drive away. On Wainwright's Coast to Coast, the Westmorland Way and the Miller's Way and perfect for large, sole use groups.

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  • Profile picture of Outdoor Alternative

    Outdoor Alternative

    This purpose built 4* centre is quietly tucked away in Rhoscolyn, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Anglesey Coast. Just 5 mins' walk to the sandy beach at Borthwen and a stone's throw from the Anglesey Coastal Path. Perfect for friends & families, outdoor groups, schools and universities. Your ideal base for kayaking, climbing, sailing, walking, bird watching or beach holidays. Careful energy use is encouraged, with composting and recycling. Nearby Holyhead has ferry links to Ireland.

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  • Profile picture of Palace Farm Hostel

    Palace Farm Hostel

    Palace Farm Hostel is a relaxing and flexible 4* hostel on a family run farm. Situated in the village of Doddington, (which has a pub!), in the North Kent Downs AONB, the area is great for walking, cycling (cycle hire available £10 a day) and wildlife. The accommodation consists of ten fully heated en suite rooms sleeping up to 39. Duvets, linen and continental breakfast included.

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  • Profile picture of Wern Watkin Bunkhouse

    Wern Watkin Bunkhouse

    Wern Watkin Bunkhouse (also known as YHA Llangattock) sits high up on Mynnedd Llangattock in the Brecon Beacons National Park. There is direct access on foot to the mountainside and a flat mountain road to a National Cycle Route. The Llangattock Cave complex is within easy walking distance and the scenic Wye and Usk river valleys are just a short drive away. Instruction in a range of outdoor activities can be arranged.

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  • Profile picture of Wetherdown Lodge and Campsite

    Wetherdown Lodge and Campsite

    An award winning eco-renovation in the heart of the South Downs National Park right on the South Downs Way National Trail. The perfect base for walkers, cyclists, business away-days and family get-togethers. The Lodge offers well appointed self-catering accommodation while the campsite has yurts and secluded woodland pitches. The centre has large grounds with woodland trails and a café. Pubs, shops within 2 miles.

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  • Hostels with Silver Green Tourism Business Award
    • Profile picture of Callander Hostel

      Callander Hostel

      Situated in the town of Callander at the start of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Callander Hostel is a great location for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts alike. With outstanding views over Ben Ledi this Visit Scotland 5* Hostel has comfortable beds, en suite rooms and a fully equipped self-catering kitchen. Everyhting you need for the perfect retreat. The gardens have a children's play area, gas BBQ and seating.

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    • Profile picture of Cohort Hostel

      Cohort Hostel

      Located in the centre of St Ives, Cohort is a stylish, friendly hostel. Great facilities include a hot shower in the courtyard for surfers, through to a laundry/drying room. The on-site bar is cheap; there's free WiFi, Netflix and comfortable pod beds - all with USB ports, lights, curtains and under-bed storage ? and a big guest kitchen. Free tea and coffee before 10am. Walk outside to find cafes, bars, galleries, 5 spectacular beaches & the coastal path!

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    • Profile picture of Corran Bunkhouse

      Corran Bunkhouse

      Corran Bunkhouse, lies on the shore of Loch Linnhe, 8 miles south of Fort William and 7 miles north of Glencoe. With two fully equipped, 4* self-catering bunkhouses; one sleeping 12 (plus 9 in an annex) and the other 20, it is an ideal base for small and large groups. All bedrooms are en suite. There are fully equipped kitchen/dining areas, drying room, central heating, laundry facilities, private parking and a steam room situated in the smaller bunkhouse. Children and pets welcome.

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    • Profile picture of Craignure Bunkhouse

      Craignure Bunkhouse

      Craignure, a superior eco-sensitive bunkhouse, purpose built in 2014, is the perfect base for your Mull adventure. Set on the water's edge close to the ferry port, there's the Craignure Inn next door for traditional island hospitality. The 4 well-appointed bunkrooms have en suite showers and there's a spacious well appointed communal area with kitchen, ample dining and relaxing space.

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    • Profile picture of Haggs Bank Bunkhouse & Camping

      Haggs Bank Bunkhouse & Camping

      In the stunning North Pennines AONB, ?England's last wilderness,? perfect for lovers of the great outdoors such as walkers and cyclists. Isaac's Tea Trail passes through the site; directly on the C2C and with bicycle hire (including electric bikes) available nearby. Pre booked breakfast and evening meals can be provided for larger groups. The camp-site has tiered pitches to enhance the views across the Nent valley. Electric hook-ups available in the car park.

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    • Profile picture of Prosen Hostel

      Prosen Hostel

      Glenprosen is the most intimate of the Angus Glens on the southernmost edge of the Cairngorms National Park. Two Munros; the Mayar and Driesh link Glenprosen to the Cairngorms plateau. Prosen Hostel is also close to the upgraded East Cairngorms footpath network. Converted to the latest and greenest specification, the 4* hostel offers cosy, quality accommodation for 18. With 4 rooms, sleeping 4, 4 and 6 in bunks and a family room sleeping 4. You can also hire the nearby village hall.

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    • Hostels with Bronze Green Tourism Business Award
      • Profile picture of Plas Dolau Country House Hostel

        Plas Dolau Country House Hostel

        Plas Dolau is set in 25 acres just 3 miles from Aberystwyth. Ideal for exploring West Wales, walking, cycling, riding, fishing and golf. The warm country mansion has mainly dormitory style accommodation for up to 45 people. An adjoining Swedish style farmhouse can take another 15. Plas Dolau includes meeting rooms, dining rooms, games room & outdoor areas. Ideally suited for youth groups, field courses, retreats, house parties or individuals.

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      • Environmentally friendly developments at Eco Hostels and bunkhouses.

        Skiddaw House Eco Hostel
        Skiddaw House Eco Hostel

         Skiddaw House Is an off-grid game keepers lodge situated one and half thousand feet up, on the side of Skiddaw Mountain.   Suzy and Martin, the managers, are passionate about running Skiddaw House  in an environmentally sympathetic way.  Given its location, this is not just for ideological reasons but also necessity! Skiddaw House is completely off-grid with no mains electricity, gas or water supplies. Drinking water comes from a nearby spring and electricity is almost entirely generated by solar panels  (only on the darkest days in winter is the generator fired up). Hot showers are available any time, using water initially heated by solar thermal panels to reduce the use of bottled gas.  Being situated within a SSI, home to rare species of mountain and moorland wildlife, Suzy and Martin are especially conscious of the hostels impact on the surrounding environment. The hostel has a private septic tank and only uses Ecover cleaning products.  The amount of waste is minimised as guests are encouraged to recycle and compost as much as possible. This is necessary as there is only one journey a week to the rubbish collection point.  The building is heated by wood burning stoves, using wood sourced from the hostels own managed woodland. Yearly tree-planting ensures a sustainable supply for future wardens. Sheep’s wool insulation throughout keeps the hostel cosy.  Given its location the hostel provides a surprising level of comfort. The bedrooms are carpeted with fully made up beds, and the bar sells local ale from a microbrewery just 9 miles away. The fact that all the  guests arrive on foot or by mountain bike must also reduces its  carbon footprint.

        Eco Hostel conversion at BB's Bunkhouse
        Eco Hostel conversion at BB’s Bunkhouse

        BB’s  Bunkhouse is a new barn conversion on the north coast of Scotland, not far from Thurso and on the North Coast 500 route. The roof has just been replaced and opening is planned for late summer/autumn this year.  BB’S bunkhouse has been designed as an eco hostel. Heating will be air source with solar panels. All appliances will be energy efficient and guests will be encouraged to unplug and admire the wonderful coastline, either by foot or by bike!  All produce will be locally sourced where possible and the bunkhouse has chickens, so guests can collect their own breakfast! 

        Bikes provided for guests at the Old Brooder Bunkhouse
        Bikes provided for guests at the Old Brooder Bunkhouse

        The Old Brooder Bunkhouse in Sussex is in its first year of operation. There is a whole farm approach to conservation, including energy use (solar, use of sustainable wood management etc), transport and  green incentives for guests. For example provision of 40 bikes for guests, recycling, composting, environmental education, cooking, veggie garden and plenty of conservation courses.

        The accommodation at Houghton North Farm is now heated by a wood pellet Bio-mass boiler and the electricity is supplied by a 20 kilowatt wind turbine.

        The Barrel Store in Cirencester is the first accommodation in Gloucestershire to achieve Passivhaus standards, making your stay environmentally friendly and very comfortable. accommodation at Rogart Station in the Highlands has a Green transport discount.  This unique accommodation in converted railway carriages gives a £1 discount to anyone arriving by rail or cycle.

        Elterwater  Hostel has just achieved the Gold Green Tourism Award for their eco hostel self catering accommodation.  They have worked on improving sustainability steadily since buying the hostel off the YHA as a Bronze GTBS graded hostel. The goal is to operate in a low-key way and facilitate green living for guests.  New this year they are encouraging guests to make a donation towards the Fix the Fells project and Lakes Red Squirrels.  On a recent stay I was fascinated to find they have toilet twining in place in the ladies.

        Outdoor Alternative in Anglesey is an eco hostel with the  GTBS Gold Award.  They have made extensive eco improvements over the last 10 years and have been committed to sustainability since their inception 30+ years ago. Eco development include composting on site, growing their own food, water saving devices including aerated showers, straw bale urinal for campers, electric car and charging point.

        Banks of solar panels at Outdoor Alternative
        Banks of solar panels at Outdoor Alternative

        Comrie Croft has been a long term eco hostel.  In their own words, “ We can quote you lots of the things we do, for example all of our power and heat is generated onsite from renewable sources (wood for the heating, solar for the electricity), and that at least 93% of our “waste” is reused or recycled, or that we have achieved a gold award in the Green Tourism Business Scheme and are members of the world’s leading eco tourism businesses as part of the Long Run Initiative. But what we hope really makes us stand out is the core purpose of our whole enterprise and the way it runs through everything we do. We aim to help transform the local area in community, social, economic and environmental terms through symbiotic, eco tourism, enterprise and land management.”

        Badrallach Bothy has a green ethos and is rated Green Tourism Gold. Since taking over last year the new owners have made a few further improvements including switching to ecotricity for 100% renewable energy, transitioning to eco-friendly cleaning products, and planning the renovation of an old barn with the help of a green architect. They are also running nature-based programs for health and wellness, stress-management, and personal development with the social enterprise; EarthMind Fellowship, CIC.

        Solar Energy at Dolgoch Hostel
        Solar Energy at Dolgoch Hostel

        The Elenydd Wilderness Hostels provide self catering accommodation in the Cambrian Mountains in West Wales.  Both Tyncornel and Dolgoch put a lot of effort into sustainability and minimizing their environmental footprint. Tyncornel installed PV solar panels in 2015. Since then, the panels have generated sufficient electricity to replace more than half the mains electricity used. Since installing a log burner earlier this year Tyncornel relies totally on carbon-neutral wood as a fuel.  Dolgoch is an “off-grid” hostel with a solar-powered hot water system and solar-powered LED lights.    Dolgoch fitted a wood-burning stove and stopped burning coal almost a decade ago .

        Hebden Bridge Hostel has LED lighting throughout, the heating & hot water are provided by Ground Source Heat Pump.  All cleaning products are organic where possible and definitely eco, all food (breakfasts) and drinks provided are 100% organic. Laundry goes to the local launderette and we use local artisans and craftsfolk whenever we need them.

        Bunkorama  Bunkhouse was converted 3 years ago and makes the most of good insulation, power generated by solar panels and gravity fed water supply from a mountain spring.

        Palace Farm Eco Hostel in Kent
        Palace Farm Eco Hostel in Kent

        Palace Farm Eco Hostel in Kent has achieved the gold award from Green Tourism Business Scheme for their self catering accommodation.  Low energy lighting, thermostatic radiators, where possible exceeding the insulation requirements, solar water heating and a “clean burn” log burning stove to burn waste wood from the farm. In the conversion of the granary of the eco hostel, the farm were determined not to use fossil fuels for heating. Completed in 2011 the building is very successfully heated using an air source heat pump with under-floor heating and solar panels for all the hot water.

        Solar energy capture on the bike shed at Puttenham Eco Camping Barn
        Solar energy capture on the bike shed at Puttenham Eco Camping Barn

        Puttenham Eco Camping Barn is a wonderful old listed building which has been sympathetically restored to be environmentally friendly. They have rainwater harvesting, solar electricity and solar hot water. The restoration carried out enables you to see traditional and sustainable construction methods.

        Broadrake Bunkhouse.  Wood pellet boiler to provide hot water and underfloor heating to the bunkbarn, as well as to provide hot water to the adjacent farmhouse for heating and domestic use.  Sheeps’ wool insulation on external first floor walls. Foul water treatment plant fueled by small wind turbines to circulate the waste, rather than electricity. Recycling of all domestic waste, compost to feed wormery. Encourage the use of public transport to get here by offering free pick up from local station at Ribblehead Viaduct/Ingleton Community Centre if using buses. Agricultural building saved from falling into dis-repair and maximize the use of the bunkbarn mid-week by using the open-plan upstairs living space as a venue for workshops.

        Deepdale Backpackers.   Always keeping the environment in mind, Deepdale has the Gold Green Tourism Business Scheme and Gold David Bellamy Award.  They use  eco friendly cleaning materials across the whole business. They provide recycling facilities for guests and commission  promotional products, like frisbees, made from recycled materials.  The majority of  hot water comes from solar thermal panels and two large arrays of roof mounted solar PV produce most of the electricity for the site.  A lot of time has been spent this winter planting hedges and trees, with more planned for this coming winter, to produce great habitats for wildlife and reduce the impact both visually and chemically of the hostel and campsite.  The farm runs conservation weekends and other green activities to help teach the guests about their impact and how to manage it.

        Koydart Bunkhouse is  not only green, but community-owned and working to a responsible tourism policy.  The bunkhouse uses local hydro green energy and is active in recycling and composting.  Guests can  only arrives in a sustainable manor, public transport by boat or on foot after a long wilderness hike.  The bunkhouse provides lots of info to guests about local green issues.

        Saying goodbye is always hard to do at Edens Yard Backpackers, itself a recycled stable yard.  So much of the hostel is enjoying an upcycled role – and that goes for the hosts too.  The Backpackers also has a fabulous upgraded solar system in which every precious panel does its best come sun, cloud or shade.  Repurpose and renew at Edens Yard.

        Helmsdale Hostel, famous as the last stop on the LEJOG cycle route,  is currently closed for development including sustainable and renewable energy heating and water systems. The ethos of Helmsdale Hostel is to protect and respect the natural environment.

        THE LONG BARN in Tefi Valley in South Wales is with wood grown on the farm.  The  bio-mass boiler runs the hot water and radiators.  There are also 2 wind-turbines and solar panels on the farm.   These provide electricity and heat for all the accommodation on the farm including the Cow Shed,  the Annex and the large Long Barn itsself.

        Solar Wind Powered drying
        Solar and Wind Powered laundry drying