The best nature holidays in the UK give you a chance to hit the reset button and forget about the stresses of daily life. Whether you're looking for a walking holiday or just want to relax around a fire pit, being in nature can have huge benefits for our mental and physical wellbeing.
Discover the best UK staycations below that embrace the outdoors; where you can unplug, breathe in the fresh air, and spend quality time with friends and family
From the most beautiful places in Scotland to seaside locations in Cornwall, we've selected a choice of camping, hotel and activity-based nature holidays where you can book a UK weekend getaway that helps you unwind and feel a million miles away from everyday life...
10 amazing nature holidays in the UK to take in 2022
1. The Forest of Dean
Best nature holiday in the UK for: Fun with the family
The Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire is made up of 42sq miles of rivers and ancient woodlands and is perfect if you want to turn your phone off and relax.
Whitmead Forest Park is based in the Forest of Dean and offers a woodland retreat, perfect for the whole family. If you're looking for an active nature break, the park offers archery, cycling and walking routes around the forest. But if relaxing is more your style the park has an on-site swimming pool, restaurant and bar. Their newly refurbished outdoor terrace and entertainment areas are also designed for al-fresco dining.
Nature-inspired accommodation options range from detached log cabins and self-catering apartments to wooden glamping pods and pet-friendly woodland lodges.
Don't miss: Families can enjoy the nature trail around Whitmead, where children can explore the local wildlife. If you're staying in one of the log cabins the parks private hot tubs are perfect for hopping into after a long active day.
Prices start at £283 for a four-night stay. Visit whitemead.co.uk (opens in new tab) for more information.
Best nature holiday in the UK for: Meeting baby badgers
Staying on a farm is always fun and Argaty Red Kites is no different. Situated on the Argaty Estate, it's a fabulous working farm, which has been owned by the Bowser family since 1916.
The farm lies on the Braes of Doune in Stirlingshire, an area traditionally known as The Gateway to the Highlands. The estate also houses Argaty Cottage (opens in new tab)—quaint accommodation that can sleep six people, and has a log-burning stove and gorgeous views of the local area.
Get acquainted with a family of beavers (including any new baby badgers), which have all been saved by the farm from being culled, before rehoming them into one of the ponds on the estate. Guided visits to see the estate’s red kites and red squirrels, ATV buggy tours and wildlife talks are also part of the experience. Just remember to pack your best waterproof jacket for the trip - as it is Scotland after all.
Don't miss: Throughout spring and summer you can also enjoy dragonfly walks and pond dipping sessions.
Prices start from £125 a night, self-catering, with a three-night minimum stay. Book at argatyredkites.co.uk (opens in new tab).
3. The New Forest
Best nature holiday in the UK for: Seeing woodland wildlife
The sounds of birdsong and spotting deer on purple-hued heathlands aren't just the stuff of dreams, but a real possibility in the New Forest, Hampshire. While it's also the perfect destination for packing picnics and heading off for a walk or a bike ride— even for beginners.
Argentor Cottage, part of the New Forest Cottage collection, (opens in new tab) sleeps 6, so it's perfect for a family getaway or a girl's weekend. It's an 18th Century cob cottage, surrounded by open forest, with gorgeous Scandi inspired interior. Don't be surprised if you get a visit from one of the New Forest's famous free-roaming ponies and donkeys.
If a hotel stay is more your style the Montagu Arms (opens in new tab) is the perfect setting. Dating back to the 17th century, the 24 bedrooms and suites are each unique in design and provide a cosy and quintessentially English place to relax. The hotel's 'Paddle to the pub' break gives you the chance to kayak along the Beaulieu river, before dinner at Monty’s Inn, their country pub.
If you're looking for local flora and fauna, book a private tour with ex-Park Ranger Sally Mitchell from Wild Heritage (opens in new tab), where she'll show you some of the National park's 700 species of wildflowers, hedgerow harvests and varieties of trees. You'll also spot deer and other woodland wildlife and learn to identify forest bird songs, birds of prey, critters and reptiles.
Don't miss: Just a short car ride away are wild beaches, which overlook Hurst Castle and the Isle of Wight. You may even spot some seals and dolphins playing in the Solent.
Short breaks at Argentor Cottage start at £904. 'Paddle to the pub' packages at the Montagu Arms starts from £304 for two people.
4. Pembrokeshire, Wales
Best nature holiday in the UK for: Glamping
If camping isn't your bag, but you love the outdoors, then The Little Retreat, a glamping site in Pembrokeshire, Wales, could be right up your street. Based in the UK’s only Coastal National Park, in Lawrenny, the retreat is based on a peninsula of the River Cleddau estuary, upriver from Milford Haven, where it branches off towards the Cresswell and Carew rivers.
Choose to stay in one of their insulated geodomes, rustic bell tents, or the new stargazing tents. These are all luxury glamping experiences with nature just metres away. You can simply relax in your aesthetically pleasing surroundings or take part in one of the retreats foraging experiences, which includes a wild Welsh feast at ANNWN Restaurant with chef Matt Powel. Forest bathing and walks, through the steep-sided ancient oak woodland of Lawrenny, are also on offer.
Don't miss: If you're feeling particularly adventurous sign up for one of their guided wild swimming classes, which takes place in the Black Mixen Pool of the Cleddau estuary.
Prices from £200 per night. Find out more and book at littleretreats.co.uk (opens in new tab).
5. Knoydart, Scotland
Best nature holiday in the UK for: Wild paddleboarding
If you fancy learning a new skill, which immerses you in nature, paddleboarding is the perfect new hobby. Gutsy Girls, a solo adventure-based holiday company for women, organise paddleboarding trips to various UK locations, including the Knoydart peninsula - one of the wildest and remotest parts of Scotland.
The four-day trip will see you paddle around wild coastlines and through Scottish Lochs. Every evening you'll settle in a new location and experience wild camping in Scotland under the stars.
As you paddle through the calm Lochs you'll see local wildlife, rugged mountains and even get a chance to try wild swimming. You'll return home with new friends and a sense of calm.
Don't miss: A visit to Britain’s most remote pub, The Old Forge. Enjoy fresh local seafood daily.
Prices start from £629 for a long weekend, which start in May 2022. Find out more and book at gutsygirls.co.uk (opens in new tab).
Best nature holiday in the UK for: Stargazing
Quirky accommodation is always appealing, and these Hideaway huts (opens in new tab) in Hexham, Northumberland, tick every box for a delightful nature break. The Grand-Roulotte Shepherd’s huts, which are wool-insulated, are located in a secluded paddock with views across the South Tyne Valley by day and the glorious Northumberland Dark Skies by night. It's the perfect spot if you love stargazing.
There are plenty of things to do in Northumberland and Hadrian’s Wall is just three miles away from Hexham. Vindolanda, an archaeological site, is also close by. If you love walking or hiking, pack your best walking boots because Northumberland National Park is to your north, and the North Pennines Area of outstanding beauty is to the south of the huts.
Don't miss: The local produce. The owners of the huts will provide you with plenty of local food for your first evening's meal and breakfast.
Prices start from £96 a night.
7. The Elan Valley, Wales
Best nature holiday in the UK for: Nature photography
If you've always wanted to sharpen up your photography skills, while on a nature holiday in the UK, then this is your chance to take pictures of animals and beautiful landscapes. Based in The Elan Valley, known as the Welsh Lake District, because of its open skies, rugged mountains and amazing wildlife, the photography break, led by expert Sean Weekly, with Wildlife Worldwide, will see you practice your new skills as you encounter red kites and bottlenose dolphins.
You'll stay at Gigrin Farm, a red kite feeding farm, giving you access to the birds and their behaviours. The third day is spent on a specially-charted boat, cruising along the Ceredigion coast, searching for bottlenose dolphins as well as grey seals and porpoises. The memories will last a lifetime.
Don't miss: The night sky photography sessions. You'll spend each evening taking photos as you gaze up at the stars in the valley.
Prices from £695pp sharing for three nights’ accommodation. Find out more at wildlifeworldwide.com (opens in new tab).
8. Isle of Skye, Scotland
Best nature holiday in the UK for: Otter spotting
One of the most picturesque places to visit in the UK, there are so many things to do on the Isle of Skye you'll always leave wishing you had longer to explore. If you love seeing animals in the wild, its unspoiled coastline is also home to puffins, dolphins, seals and otters.
Stay at Kinloch Lodge (opens in new tab), located on the shores of Loch na Dal, with views of the picturesque Cuillin mountains: the 16th-century farmhouse was transformed into a hotel 50 years ago. Expect roaring fires, an extensive whisky collection, giant beds and some of the best food Scotland has to offer.
If you want to get closer to nature the hotel has teamed up with otter experts at the International Otter Survival Fund. The experts will help you search for otters, over a full day of wildlife spotting.
Don't miss: Book a table at the Kinloch's restaurant, where you'll enjoy gorgeous food using seasonal ingredients from their local surroundings.
A three-day Otter Spotting package with dinner, bed and breakfast, and otter watching costs £520pp based on two people sharing.
Best nature holiday in the UK for: Long walks
Cornwall is the perfect place to unplug and immerse yourself in nature. The countryside includes rugged mountains and picturesque moors.
Located in 65 acres of Cornish countryside, Hoburne Doublebois is a holiday park with self-catering luxury lodges and caravans. The park has golf and tennis available, while the woodland walks are perfect for long hikes and is a family-friendly activity. Close by is the Eden Project, along with small fishing villages where you can stock up on fresh local produce.
If you want to venture further into Cornwall, St Maybn is a small hilltop village, close to sandy beaches. Choose one of Hoburne St Mabyn's Hideaway Lodges, which come with hot tubs as standard, along with stylish living areas and views of the nearby countryside. Just a 20 minutes’ drive away are some of the best beaches in Devon and Cornwall. Visit Polzeath beach, where you can watch surfers or take a stroll with your family.
Don't miss: The accommodation is dog-friendly, so even your pooch can have a fun getaway.
A 3-night stay starts from £329. Find out more and book here (opens in new tab).
10. Loch Lomond
Best nature holiday in the UK for: Adrenaline-fuelled activities
If you love nature but would rather immerse yourself in it from the comfort of a five-star hotel, then Cameron House, a Scottish resort situated on the banks of Loch Lomond - one of the best lochs to visit in Scotland - gets our vote.
The hotel's bedroom and suites all have stunning views of the Loch. If you've been meaning to book one of the best spa breaks in the UK, the hotel's spa has relaxing treatments and includes a rooftop infinity pool that overlooks Ben Lomond and Loch Lomond.
If you want to explore the surroundings closer and love adrenaline-fuelled activities you can sign up for jet-skiing trips, kayaking and katakanu excursions, as well as peaceful paddleboarding sessions, freshwater fishing, or cycling between scenic views on the bike trails.
Don't miss: Book a champagne cruise on the impressive Celtic Warrior before you arrive.
Prices from £295 per night. Cameronhouse.co.uk (opens in new tab).
Sarah is a freelance journalist - writing about the royals and celebrities for Woman & Home, fitness and beauty for the Evening Standard and how the world of work has changed due to the pandemic for the BBC.
She also covers a variety of other subjects and loves interviewing leaders and innovators in the beauty, travel and wellness worlds for numerous UK and overseas publications.
As a journalist, she has written thousands of profile pieces - interviewing CEOs, real-life case studies and celebrities - interviewing everyone from Emma Bunton to the founder of Headspace.
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