Thinking of planning a UK holiday and wondering how you can ensure that you don’t damage your green credentials along the way? Well, not to worry as here are some top tips right here for how you can make your holiday more eco-friendly. Sustainable travel doesn’t mean that you skimp on all the best bits, just be a little more aware and take some simple steps to ensure that you are helping to safeguard the precious environment around us!
Take a staycation
First off, take a look at where you are heading. Although faraway exotic lands may seem tempting, there is so many wonderful things to be seen here in the UK, so looking a little closer to home could save your air miles, as well as a pretty penny or two. Why not try a new adventure and embark on a glamping holiday? The luxury abodes are perfect for families, offering the luxuries of your home life but situated right in the heart of nature! Many of these come fully equipped with eco-friendly facilities, toiletries and activities, meaning that most of your eco-worries are sorted for you! What’s even better is a select number of glamping locations even come equipped with an eco-friendly hot tub.
Not green in colour, but green in an eco-friendly way! This is a big change that you can make in your own life, as well as on holiday, swapping out the chemical heavy products for something a little softer to the skin, and to the environment. Try searching out alternatives for products such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash and sun cream, in todays world, the importance of green products means that they can be readily found in high-street shops.
Be a responsible guest
There are many steps you can take to make yourself a responsible guest, you may have heard the much-loved phase ‘leave nothing but footprints’ and it may be cliché but it is true! Ensure that you don’t leave any litter around, and keep your credentials as green as possible. Hire bikes or use public transportation over driving around in your own car, ensure you turn off the lights when you leave your abode and keep your showers short. These steps may seem small and simple but will all help contribute to that guilt-free eco-friendly holiday!
Enjoy the local life
When you get to your holiday destination, it’s best to suss out the best places to see and eat early on so that you can plan for your trip. Try to make the most of the wonderful offerings found in the local area, seek out restaurants that serve local produce and head to the local farmers market to pick up some of your own. Knowing where your food comes from is such an important piece of knowledge, on holiday as well as at home! The locals will usually be more that willing to help you out as well, pop into the local shop and pick up some tips on what the locals recommend and you’ll get the best of the hidden gems and enjoy the most authentic experience.
There’s nothing worse than having to drag your heavy luggage around, so try and pack light. Opt for versatile outfits that can be interchanged day to day to lessen the laundry load and save your arms. Opting for light layers rather than heavy jumpers is usually the best way to go with this, as you can add or remove layers throughout to keep yourself at the optimum temperature.
Make the most of the great outdoors
The activities you partake in during your holiday will usually depend on the location in which you’re staying, but here are some eco-friendly activities that can be done almost anywhere to help you make the most of the great outdoors!
Stargazing (perfect for both the kids and adults)
Nature walks (animals are best seen out in the wild, so get out and explore!)
Go Geocaching and hunt for treasure
Search for flora and fauna
Pick greener transport options
Choosing a greener method of transport both to and from your holiday destination will certainly make your holiday more eco-friendly. If you can take a bus, train or any other form of public transport, then you should try to as this is better for the environment than driving. Alternatively, why not try to arrange a carpool to cut down that number of vehicles travelling to the same location? Once you arrive, try to utilize the more natural forms of transport, by foot or by bicycle, as this will give you a better chance to see the true beauty of the natural area, as well as being friendly to the environment, so it is a win-win situation!
Every so often an email lands in my inbox from a reader enquiring about places to shop ethically in Edinburgh. So, after living in and around Edinburgh for nearly 10 years now, I’ve put together my ultimate Edinburgh Ethical Shopping Guide. I’ve included all of the places on my radar of where to shop ethically when in this fair city.
I’ve also gotten all technical on you and made my own Google Map, which should help make it easy for you to locate all of these lovely places. I hope you find it useful!
Edinburgh Ethical Shopping Guide
Marchmont based Bohemia sells a small but perfectly formed range of clothing, as well as jewellery and home accessories ethically sourced from artists and craftspeople around the world.
Specialising in Scottish design-led craft, Concrete Wardrobe sells high quality clothing and crafts handmade by Scottish based and/or trained designer makers.
Dandelion & Ginger
This cosy little shop in Tollcross sells a nice range of ethical clothing, accessories and gifts. You can visit their website here.
Godiva is a funky boutique on West Port, selling a range of vintage and repurposed clothing, as well as clothing and accessories from independent designers, such as Rowan Joy.
Hibiscus Flower stocks a range of ethical clothing, from brands like People Tree and Komodo, to smaller, less well known brands.
Joey D makes clothing and accessories (and now furniture too) from recycled vintage clothing, and sells them from his Broughton St store.
Totty Rocks make all of their seriously beautiful clothing in their Bruntsfield shop from locally sourced fabrics. It takes about 2-3 weeks for your order to be ready – slow fashion at it’s finest.
Armstrongs, Edinburgh’s most iconic vintage shop, has three locations across the city – The Grassmarket, Teviot Place and Clerk St. My personal preferences are either Teviot Place or Clerk St. They seem better value than the Grassmarket store, although Grassmarket does have the biggest selection.
I haven’t visited Carnivale Vintage yet but I hear they have a cracking selection of vintage dresses.
Elaine’s has a wonderful carefully curated selection of vintage clothes, and Elaine herself is very helpful and knowledgable.
I haven’t visited Those Were The Days but I have heard from various sources that they have an amazing selection of vintage wedding dresses.
Breadshare is a community supported non-profit organic bakery with an impressive zero waste policy.
Dig-In is a community-owned and supported, not-for-profit greengrocer who supply locally-sourced produce and provide volunteering opportunities for the local community.
Earthy sell local and organic fruit and veg, as well as other groceries, wines, beers and personal/household products, including Ecover refills, from their 3 shops around the city – Causewayside, Canonmills and Portobello.
Social care charity Garvald have an onsite Garvald Bakery, which sells a wide range of organic bread, rolls and cakes, where profits go back in to their main work of supporting people with learning disabilities. Members are involved in baking, packing and delivering orders and there’s a really lovely video if you want to find out more about their amazing work.
Holland & Barrett
Holland & Barrett, the high street staple, has six stores in Edinburgh – Princes St, Rose St, Nicolson St, Shandwick Place, Ocean Terminal, and The Gyle – so you’re well served for vegetarian and vegan food stuffs, and bulk buys of nuts and other dried goods.
This Nicolson St shop is a bit of a goldmine for vegetarians, vegans and anyone vaguely health concious. The shop is literally packed to the rafters – the friendly owner is always up his ladders retrieving things that customers can’t reach! I’ve particularly found that for pulses and grains, and things like spices and specialty teas (all the specialty teas – apparently the biggest tea range in Edinburgh) –the prices are often cheaper than anywhere else.
New Leaf Co-Op
New Leaf Co-Op is an employee owned vegetarian shop where you can scoop and refill dried produce such as nuts and pulses, getting a discount if you bring your own container! They also stock, where possible, local produce, such as bread, honey, eggs, fruit, vegetables and more.
Real Foods has two locations in Edinburgh – Broughton St and Tollcross. Broughton St is the largest, however the Tollcross store is a bit of a rabbit warren! Here you can pick up all sorts of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free food stuffs, as well as organic fruit and veg, and beers and wines, as well as eco friendly cleaning products and personal care products.
Tattie Shaws is a good old fashioned independent greengrocers with locally sourced stock where possible.
Edinburgh is lucky to have a good selection of independent and secondhand bookshops:
Tills is a really lovely little secondhand bookshop. My top tips is to buy a book from Tills, and then walk across the road to the Meadows, and sit in the sunshine reading. A perfect afternoon if ever there was one!
Word Power Books
Word Power Books is an independent radical bookshop and publisher specialising in modern politics, socialism, radical history and more.
Curiouser & Curiouser
Curiouser and Curiouser have two sites across Edinburgh – one on Broughton St and one in Bruntsfield. Supportive of local designers, the majority of their stock is sourced from British designers and artists, and they also stop ethical homewares brand Nkuku.
A funky little gift shop on Bernard St, Flux say that anything not made in the UK will be sourced from only the most ethical of overseas companies.
One World Shop
One World Shop is probably one of Edinburgh’s oldest ethical shops, and has temporarily moved from it’s St Johns Church location to Nicolson Square. They sell a wide range of fair trade products, and is great for unique gifts.
Hannah Zakari sell jewellery and art from independent designers. Their Grassmarket shop is always an absolute treat to visit.
Red Door Gallery
Just up the hill from Hannah Zakari is the lovely Red Door Gallery, again selling art and jewellery from independent designers and artists. Another treat for the eyes.
Bra Bohag sell mainly secondhand Scandinanvian/mid-century furniture.
Soul Cycles sell refurbished secondhand bikes (as well as new bikes).
The Bike Station
The Bike Station sells refurbished secondhand bikes, secondhand bike bits, and can even teach you to fix your own bike.
The Buggy Repair Centre
In need of a secondhand buggy? The Buggy Repair Centre will sort you out. Got a broken buggy? Again, they’ll sort you out!
The Edinburgh Remakery
The Edinburgh Remakery sell refurbished IT equipment and secondhand furniture, and on top of that can teach you how to sew, mend and fix computers!
Vintage & Reclaimed
Causewayside based Vintage & Reclaimed, sell, as the name suggests, vintage and reclaimed furniture – beautiful pieces of furniture at that, all sourced and made in the UK.
Please note, I’ve not included charity shops in this Edinburgh Ethical Shopping Guide, as the excellent Changeworks have already put together an Edinburgh Charity Shop Map, and I didn’t want to replicate their work. Edinburgh also has a lot of charity shops and I thought it might overwhelm the map!
This guide and map is definitely a work in progress, so if you can think of any to add then do let me know in the comments below!