Eco camping in the Sibillini Mountains, Italy

This forest hideaway is a real eco paradise for campers in the mountains of Italy…

750m up and nestled high amongst the trees of Italy’s Parco della Fessa natural forest, the Forest Camp campsite is ready to share its love of eco-responsible culture through outdoor activities and experiences.

Forest Camp, Italy

Everything on the farm-based site is geared towards living a more sustainable lifestyle with campers offered the chance to take part in some great workshops and excursions such as hiking, mountain biking and donkey trekking (no motorised transport here!). A nearby lake also offers the chance to hire kayaks or pedaloes.

This small, friendly and peaceful campsite has room for regular tents, caravans and campervans, and also offers the chance to stay in a Native American-style tipi. The tipis are equipped with beds and bedding, plus basic gas and electricity supplies, and the use of a shower.

With a farmers’ market nearby and barbecues allowed on site, there’s no excuse not to prepare at least one meal of locally-sourced food to enjoy al fresco!

The surrounding area

This beautiful protected area is ideally located for exploring Monti Sibillini, Ascoli Piceno, Macerata, and many medieval villages. The campsite is around 40 minutes from the sea.

Recommended for… Those who love a bit of wild camping (but with some basic amenities thrown in!)

Be aware that… The site is small and peaceful and not for those who want lots of bars, shops and restuarants on their doorstep

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable living
  • Eco-friendly workshops and activities offered
  • Located in a protected natural area, home to a wealth of wildlife


For more information visit the listing on via Forest Camp, Smerillo

Five of the Best Vegetarian Fine Dining Menus

At Goodtrippers we love to champion good, ethical, sustainable food, and great vegetarian eateries top the list! Here are five of the best vegetarian tasting menus served at some of the UK’s finest dining establishments.

Vegetarians often have to trawl through those ‘top 50’ style restaurant lists and guides to find somewhere that offers more than the sole ‘vegetarian option’, so to highlight the best dining options for veggies, Travelzoo has created a map of the UK’s best fine-dining restaurants, showing where to go in Britain for an elegant night of exquisite food. The map has been created with the help of the UK’s food bloggers and there were clear favourites for vegetarian fine dining. Here we take a look at five of the most exclusive fine-dining restaurants in the UK and their meat-free menus:

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Pied a Terre, Fitzrovia, London
This two-Michelin-star restaurant in the heart of London has chef Marcus Eaves at the helm, creating dishes that have been meticulously prepared and perfectly executed. The dishes sound delectable with courses on the taster menu including delights like a salad of white asparagus with shaved parmesan, confit meyer lemon and black olive dressing. The atmosphere is sophisticated; the right blend of polite, professional and relaxing.

A 10-course vegetarian tasting menu is available from £94 a head

Manchester House, Manchester
Located in Tower 12, the Manchester House restaurant is not what it first appears to be. The ‘normal’ façade of a city tower shouldn’t fool you – inside is Aiden Byrne’s restaurant, serving up luxurious dishes in a comfortable and fun atmosphere. How you dine is up to you – choose à la carte or dine at the Chef’s Table. A tasting menu is available for both lunch and dinner and includes scrumptious morsels such as Hot and cold pea soup, pea mousse and lemon emulsion; Braised salsify with artichoke gnocchi and cavolo nero; Apple and eucalyptus sorbet, verjus granite.

A vegetarian 13-course taster menu is available from £95 a head

The Ledbury, Notting Hill
Located in Notting Hill, The Ledbury received its much coveted second Michelin Star with Head Chef Brett Graham at the helm. Brett started his career is Australia in a simple fish restaurant at 15 years old, working up to a role at the Banc restaurant in Sydney where he won the Josephine Pignolet Award. Brett’s roots in seafood echo through the vegetarian menus with dishes like Sliced Turnips with Seaweed and Frozen Horseradish. Although the atmosphere is as professional as you would expect from a restaurant with two Michelin stars, there is a very welcoming and laid back tone to it whether you enjoy a visit at lunch or at dinner.

The vegetarian tasting menu starts at £100 a head

Texture, Marylebone
Diners who enjoy a wine experience as much as a food experience are in safe hands at Texture; Agnar Sverrisson and Xavier Rousset, Head Chef and Head Sommelier respectively, established Texture in 2007 but have a long history working alongside each other and have picked up many impressive awards along the way. Head Chef Sverrisson grew up in Iceland and the menu has an obvious Scandanavian influences with ingredients like skyr, Iceland’s famous yoghurt-like export. The vegetarian tasting menu showcases the chef’s modern European style with dishes like New Season English Beetroots with goat’s cheese snow and pistachios.

The taster menu starts at £72 a head (with five complementing wines available for £52)

Blue Elephant, Imperial Wharf, London
Using the freshest ingredients and exotic fusions, Head Chef Khun Noroor Somany Steppe has created a collection of authentic vegetarian Thai dishes for Blue Elephant’s tasting menu. Using a mix of traditional methods and novel flavour unions the Blue Elephant has reached global success with 12 sister restaurants around the world. One of the most popular vegetarian dishes is the Doi Kham Eggplant Salad; during her collaboration with the Royal Project, using vegetables and herbs from the farm at Doi Inthanon, chef Nooror created a purple eggplant salad with towhu, herbal spice and a hint of truffle oil.

The vegetarian tasting menu is available from £38.00 per person

Find out more: Travelzoo has created a fine-dining map showing 200 of the best restaurants all over the UK, with recommendations from the UK’s foodie bloggers.

How to have a truly green holiday in the New Forest

If you go down to the New Forest woods today, be sure of a big surprise… From treehouses that float above the forest, a bedroom suite where even the TV is pedal-powered, and a fleet of whizzy electric cars – this is how to have a green holiday!

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The beautiful forest, pasture and heathland of Hampshire’s tranquil New Forest National Park is a firm UK ‘staycation’ favourite – and the eco accommodation on offer makes it an even bigger draw. Goodtrippers loves…

The Treehouse Suites at Chewton Glen

Young or old, who doesn’t love sleeping in a treehouse? Located in the grounds of luxury hotel Chewton Glen (voted Conde Nast’s Most Excellent Hotel), these luxurious tree houses are up on stilts giving the impression of floating above the forest canopy. Each suite has floor to ceiling glazing offering magnificent views of the surrounding area.

With a hot tub on the deck and an outdoor covered area, these suites offer a secluded and romantic setting. Each treehouse is equipped with a compact kitchenette, and a breakfast hamper is delivered to your suite daily.

Suites come in various sizes and layouts: choose from Treehouse Studio Suite, Treehouse Loft Suite, Treehouse Hideaway Suite, and the Private Treehouse.

For more information and booking visit

Cottage Lodge Hotel

You can’t be a couch potato in the activity-filled New Forest – even the TV in this eco-friendly boutique hotel is powered by an exercise bike! The award-winning, eco chic Cottage Lodge is located in the New Forest village of Brockenhurst. Guests can stay in a room built from New Forest Douglas Fir, including the four-poster beds, and enjoy the award-winning ‘New Forest Breakfast’ where all produce, from the yoghurt to the tea, the mushrooms to the sausages and eggs, are sourced from the New Forest area.

Heating and hot water is powered by a wood burning stove and solar panels. Low-energy LED lighting is used throughout, and the flush toilets use harvested rainwater.

For more information and booking visit

Get around with a Twizy

When you’re looking out for New Forest ponies, you may spot another mobile addition to the New Forest landscape – the UK’s first fleet of Twizy electric cars. With a comprehensive network of charge points throughout the New Forest, they’re a great eco-friendly way to get around the National Park quickly (and if your cycling legs need a rest).

Also, those arriving a Brockenhurst train station can hire an electric van to transport their luggage to their accommodation while they take a bike and enjoy a more leisurely journey to their destination.

Visit for full details and to book.


The ‘super eco’ barns for holidaying in North Norfolk

This complex of cottages and converted Victorian farm barns in Norfolk offers some of the most ec0-friendly luxury accommodation available in Britain…

In the wilds of the North Norfolk countryside, near the market town of Fakenham just a few miles from the heritage coast, sits the ‘flock’ of Cranmer Country Cottages – ‘flock’ due to the cute naming of each self-catering cottage; choose from ‘Coot’ (sleeps 2), ‘Tern’ (sleeps 4), ‘Wagtail’ (sleeps 4), ‘Owl’ (sleeps 4), ‘Woodpecker’ (sleeps 5), ‘Swallow’ (sleeps 6), ‘Avocet’ (sleeps 6), plus ‘Garden House’ (sleeps 6).

[gdl_gallery title=”Cranmer” width=”115″ height=”110″ ]

Family-friendly accommodation and facilities

Whichever cottage you choose you’ll be treated to stylish, contemporary interiors, whether the cosy one bedroom ‘Coot’ or the larger 3 bedroom cottages. Each is kitted out with eco-friendly, energy-efficient facilities (kitchen, washing machine etc).

And children, from babies to active kids, are positively encouraged with an outdoor fenced play area (visible from each cottage), two all-weather tennis courts, a timber playhouse, solar panel-heated swimming pool, fully-stocked games room and lots of safe outdoor space to run around and play games. Cranmer are also more than happy to provide child-friendly extras such as bed guards, booster seats, baby listeners, baby baths and steam sterilisers. To make your holiday even more relaxing they can also provide food delivery and baby-sitting services!

Things to do

This is rural Norfolk so you can truly get away from it all and explore the wilds of the coast or countryside. Guests are encouraged to enjoy the open spaces around Cranmer – staff regularly post notices of wildlife spots (many areas of the surrounding Home Farm are managed to preserve local wildlife). A stay here requires at least one trip to some of the award-winning beaches (Wells-next-the-Sea, Holkham, Blakeney, Salthouse, Sheringham) along the heritage coast not too far from Cranmer. North Norfolk is perfect for cycling, walking, bird-watching and exploring the coast, plus the area is awash with top class country pubs serving locally-sourced food and local ales.

Strong eco credentials

The site is a mix of renovated Victorian farm barns, and new build cottages and the owners have gone to great lengths to create a ‘super eco’ site which goes above and beyond the regular eco-friendly credentials of much green accommodation. This complex of cottages uses 100% energy from its own on-site renewable energy sources including a wind turbine and solar panels. The new builds boast heat-saving Argon-filled glazing, underfloor heating and very high levels of insulation, while all of the cottages are fitted with low-energy lighting, water-saving devices and energy-efficient white goods.

A commitment to sustainable living is evident throughout Cranmer, including Home Farm which houses the holiday complex. Staff encourage guests to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible, and local businesses are used and promoted wherever possible.

Recommended for… Those who love the truly rural, wild outdoors.

Be aware that… Although there are a number of small towns (with pubs, shops, restaurants etc) within easy driving distance, this is a rural area so not for those wanting busy nightlife on their doorstep.

For prices, availability and booking visit

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Installation of 20KW wind turbine
  • Use of green electricity supplier Ecotricity for imported power when needed
  • 40KW solar panels on south facing slate roofs
  • 16kw heat pump with in-ground installation 80 meters below ground
  • Installation of energy saving under-floor heating in new cottages
  • Argon filled glazing installed in the new cottages to minimise heat loss
  • Very high levels of insulation in all barn conversions and new build Garden House
  • Energy saving lighting systems and light bulbs in all cottages
  • Exterior lighting set on PIR system reducing light pollution at night
  • Installation of 80m borehole and UV water treatment system
  • Installation of irrigation system fed by our borehole to water tubs and hanging baskets – timed to irrigate early morning and evening
  • Communal laundry provides energy efficient gas powered tumble driers at a nominal charge – monies go towards an ongoing tree planting programme
  • Toilets are fitted with flush restricting devices to reduce water consumption
  • New larger cottages are supplied with energy efficient washing machines and line drying facilities
  • Swallow cottage Rayburn converted from oil to electricity with instant switch on and off. Now powered by the wind turbine.
  • Composting facilities in place
  • Recycling and waste management – glass, metal, plastic, paper and card
  • All timber FSC sourced and where possible locally grown e.g. oak cladding and structural timber
  • Recycling of building materials i.e. bricks, slates and timber and use of lime free mortar as original buildings
  • Swimming pool water and air temperature heated by Calorex heat exchange unit – maximising energy use
  • South facing solar panels heat pool water in summer and supplement heating throughout the year
  • Pool water treated with UV and salt chlorination system reducing the amount of chlorine in the pool water and reducing the amount of chlorine pumped out as waste on to the land
  • Guests are supplied with eco friendly cleaning and washing supplies
  • Locally sourced welcome hampers and fair trade tea and coffee
  • Recycled chlorine free paper toilet rolls. Bio cleaning products reducing dispensing of harmful surfactants into water course
  • Staff share lifts to work
  • Local purchasing and promotion of the local farm shop in Walsingham, local bakery in Fakenham and local pubs and restaurants
  • Converted two existing cottages – Swallow & Woodpecker heating systems use alternative green energy sources of a ground source heat pump and solar panels
  • Good quality carbon neutral accommodation in the three converted Victorian barns
  • Sponsorship of the local community nature reserve at Sculthorpe Moor –part of the Hawk and Owl Trust


Please note: Google Map does not indicate the exact location

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Take a global culinary tour of meals with local families

From chatting over dahl in Delhi to bonding over borsch in Bucharest, you can now take in even more culinary delights with local families across the globe.

Responsible tour company Urban Adventures has expanded its programme of ‘Home Cooked’ tour destinations following the success of their Home Cooked Delhi and Home Cooked Istanbul tours. The tours, which allow travellers to join local families for home-cooked meals, now include Bucharest, Kochi, Samarkand, San Jose and Kastoria.

Learn to cook alongside locals on Home Cooked tours
Learn to cook alongside locals on Home Cooked tours

On each tour (lasting around three or four hours), guests are invited to shop for ingredients in the local markets, join a family in their home, see how traditional and favourite dishes are created, and gain some new cooking tips (and perhaps lend a hand!), before sitting down to share a delicious meal. It’s a great way to connect with a country and its culture, and make new friends over the bonding experience of sharing a home-cooked meal.

The full list of Urban Adventures’ ‘Home Cooked’ tours (please note: prices are approximate according to the exchange rate at time of publication):

Home Cooked Delhi – £29

Home Cooked Istanbul – £20

Home Cooked Bucharest – £25

Home Cooked Kochi – £29

Home Cooked Bucharest – £15

Home Cooked San Jose – £31

Home Cooked Kastoria – £15

For booking, latest prices and more information visit

Urban Adventures is also looking for more ‘Home Cooked’ hosts from around the world. If you have met someone on your travels who you think would be a perfect host, they can apply by sending a photo of their family enjoying a home-cooked meal to Instagram using the hashtag #UAhomecooked, or by emailing the photo to

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Urban Adventures uses local guides to reveal unseen sights and attractions off the beaten track
  • It supports local businesses to ensure the majority of income remains in the local community
  • It uses local public transport on its tours
  • Tour group sizes are kept small to minimise the impact on the local environment and community
  • Urban Adventures works with a network of global partners who run tours in accordance with the Responsible Travel Code of Conduct



A log cabin retreat in Fort William, Scotland

Don’t let the rustic exterior of this private log cabin fool you – it hides a contemporary interior complete with state-of-the-art facilities…

Self-catering cottage Acorn Lodge, a bespoke log cabin located on its own site near Fort William, provides a special base for outdoor types wishing to explore the stunning surroundings of the Western Highlands (you’re two miles from Ben Nevis, 16 miles from Glencoe). Created using local timber, you can’t help but feel a sense of adventure when you access the eco-friendly lodge via its own wooden walkway and bridge over the river.


The lodge is open-plan and all on one floor. The two bedrooms – one double (with a handmade wooden kingsize bed), one with bunkbeds – each have their own external door so guests can come and go as they please. A large balcony allows you to enjoy the stunning natural scenery. A wet room includes a state-of-the-art sauna complete with a CD player and surround-sound!

For winter stays, you can feel cosy thanks to the underfloor heating. You can also expect the usual amenities of a self-catering cottage – kitchen with cooker, washing machine and dishwasher; plus TV and stereo for when you’re not out and about climbing a mountain or two!

Around Fort William

A short 5-min walk from Acorn Lodge and you’re in the small town of Fort William with plenty of shops, pubs and restaurants. The area attracts climbers, hikers and other outdoorsy types so you won’t be stuck for tour operators offering plenty of ways to explore this area around Loch Linnhe. And don’t worry if mountaineering isn’t your thing – you can always discover other Scottish delights such as a tour of the Ben Nevis Whiskey Distillary (hic!).

Recommended for… Hikers, climbers and those who can’t get enough of the stunning Scottish scenery

Be aware that… You can park your car at Acorn Lodge but there is then a short walk over the walkway and bridge to reach the cabin.

For more information, prices, availability and booking, visit Sykes Cottages at


Seaside snacking and the best British beach cafes

Food tastes different by the sea. Whether it’s traditional fish and chips, a pint of cockles, freshly dressed crab or lobster salad, mixed with the salty air and a fresh sea breeze it’s hard to beat al fresco eating at the British seaside.

New website Beach Hut Life has created a lovely little infographic revealing more about some of our favourite seaside snacks including some of the best seaside cafes and restaurants to eat them in – take a look and let us know your choice of snack when on the coast… (Remember: always ensure you are buying seafood from a sustainable source).

Seaside snacking

Beach hut life is a new website designed for people who are interested in reading material about life by the seaside. The site also provides facilities for listing your beach hut for rental purposes, which means if you want to hire a beach hut then you know where to go.

Competition: Win a stay at Britain’s Best Beach

Imagine waking up to this view every morning for a week…

Rhossili Bay ©CCSpCW

The beautiful Rhossili Bay, in Wales’ Swansea Bay, has been voted Britain’s Best Beach by TripAdvisor and was described by the poet Dylan Thomas as “very near nowhere”. And you have the chance of winning a week’s stay in this glorious secluded coastal spot.

As part of the 2014 centenary celebrations marking the birth of Dylan Thomas, Visit Swansea Bay is running a competition to win a week’s stay in the National Trust owned, four-bedroom cottage, The Old Rectory – the only place in Britain with the country’s best beach as its front garden! Located on its own in this beauty spot, the cottage is the perfect base to explore the Gower Peninsular.

All you have to do to enter is share three words to describe your favourite place in Swansea Bay – take a look at the website,, for inspiration and to enter. Get your entries in by 29 June 2014.

Good luck!

Wormshead ©CCS (Rhossili)


Longhorn Farm, Devon – perfect for big get-togethers

This stunning luxury eco property has ample room so no excuse not to book a huge get-together with family or friends this year!

Longhorn Farm, in the Dartmoor village of North Bovey in Devon, has been renovated throughout and oozes contemporary eco style. An awesome raised ceiling and glass walls ensure this home is flooded with light and offers an uplifting stay whether it’s summer or winter.

Sleeping up to 14 guests across the main house and converted milking barn, the self-catering property is set in 58 acres of land including 20 acres of ancient bluebell woods, lakes, waterfalls and wildflower pasture. It gives plenty of opportunity for guests to enjoy their own space, allow children to play freely and then convene in the large communal living areas at Longhorn.

[gdl_gallery title=”Longhorn” width=”120″ height=”110″ ]


The main farmhouse has four bedrooms; two king-size double rooms with en suites, plus a twin room and a zip-and-link bedroom which can either be arranged as a twin or super-king double as required. The twin room and the zip-and-link room share a shower room. The adjacent milking barn has a king-size room plus a bunk room on the ground floor (with shared ground floor wet room), as well as a master king-size bedroom on the first floor with en suite. Each of the seven bedrooms are peppered with stylish touches throughout.


Families are more than welcome here with cots, highchairs and a safe garden all available. Wifi and iPod docks are also present throughout. Hang-out in the garden with the barbecue on sunny days or gather around the fire pit to toast marshmallows on cooler evenings.

On request, you also have the option to book in-house caterers, spa treatments and welcome hampers full of gastronomic goodies.

The surrounding area is a walking paradise with Dartmoor National Park to explore, plus quaint Devon villages and the coastline.

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Underfloor heating via a ground source heat pump
  • Solar panels also provide power
  • Water supplied via natural spring


For more information, including prices, availability and booking, visit Unique Home Stays at

Sponsored Video: How to make the most of longer, lighter days

Finally – longer daylight hours are here in the northern hemisphere! It’s the perfect season to get back out there and reconnect with nature. Here’s how to make the most of it…

hiking in the UK

Research shows that exposure to daylight and fresh air helps our bodies produce essential vitamin D, help us get a better night’s sleep, and enhancing our overall well-being. And if you combine a jaunt outside with some challenging activity, you’ll also be boosting your health and fitness levels.

This month, The North Face are launching the Longer Days campaign to inspire everyone to get outside and run, hike, climb and explore for longer this Spring. Download the new Explorer App from The North Face Europe’s official website and start sharing updates and photos of your own outdoor adventures on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #LongerDays. Every day, The North Face will award prizes for the best photos capturing your outdoor adventures in the Explorer Photo Competition.

So how will you spend your extra daylight hours?

Running – No more running in the dark after work! You can now squeeze in a sunlit run before or after you leave for the office. See if you can time it right to capture sunset on your home straight.

Hiking – Longer days mean longer, more challenging hikes aren’t cut short by the night drawing in. In the UK, we’re spoilt for choice for hiking spots – heritage coastal paths, ancient forests, fells and downs – all wonderful places to hike and get the heart rate going (with wonderful views thrown in for free!).

Climbing – For an even more physical challenge, try rock climbing. Some of the UK’s best places to go climbing include Derbyshire’s Peak District, Snowdonia in Wales, the sea cliffs around Portland in Dorset, the stunning Lake District, and the National Trust for Scotland’s Glencoe area. Reach the top of a climb in one of those hot-spots and you’ll be hooked!

Camping – It’s not just about physical challenges; longer (and warmer) days are a great time to get under canvas and go camping. There’s been a boom in the number of boutique campsites in recent years, many allowing you to live a more ‘back to basics’ lifestyle of campfires and foraging. For an even more basic, but exhilarating, camping experience, pitch your tent in Scotland, home of wild camping. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act means you are allowed to camp on most unenclosed land, but do be a responsible wild camper and read up on the guidelines in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Ready to get outside and make the most of the longer days…?


This post is sponsored by The North Face but words are Goodtrippers’ own.