Take an eco-friendly break in Britain's greenest city

Take an eco-friendly break in Britain's greenest city
By Rosie Frost
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Edinburgh was named Britain's greenest city this year this might make it the perfect place for a green getaway.


In the first quarter of 2019, Scotland’s renewable energy production reached record levels - generating enough to power 88% of all households.

The Scottish government is committed to shifting to renewable energy sources and is on track to ditch reliance on fossil fuels by 2020, after surpassing targets year after year.

Beautiful, rugged coastlines provide incredible surroundings and also ample opportunity to harness wind, tide, and wave energy. Its potential is exceptional and paired with the government’s commitment to renewables has made Scotland a world leader when it comes to alternative energy sources.

What might also be a motivator for much of Scotland is the sense that its unique landscapes must be protected. Only 4.5 hours on the train from London, Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, is a hub of sustainable living and intentional, seasonal eating that provides a great location for anyone looking to take an eco-friendly break. Here are a few suggestions:

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Coming up at the start of August is the The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. Traditionally a place of incredible creative innovation and freedom, the festival has a wide array of events from comedy to workshops to music.

© Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
Edinburgh Fringe Festival© Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

The Fringe has commissioned a guide to going green for its venues and participants to help the over 3,000 different shows in the programme to support the Edinburgh Fringe Society’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Part of the festival’s sustainability goal is to inspire audiences to make changes to their own lifestyle and The Greenhouse Theatre, a venue for this year’s festival, is leading the way.

Constructed entirely from found and recycled materials, BoxedIn Theatre are committed to making their project entirely Zero Waste. Shows at the venue will have sets and costumes made from upcycled or recycled materials and must also commit to paper-free advertising. Check out The Greenhouse’s website to see a full schedule of their performances.

The Kitchin

Scotland has an abundance of fantastic seasonal produce grown and caught in beautiful, rural surroundings. Tom Kitchin’s Edinburgh restaurant, The Kitchin embraces this incomparable resource by employing a ‘From Nature to Plate’ policy where only locally available ingredients are used to create the menu. Suppliers come to the restaurant’s kitchen door where it is often the chef himself who chooses the best of their offerings to turn into the day’s specials.

As they only buy whole carcases and fish, butchering is done in the restaurant to ensure not a scrap is wasted. Menu items, like the venison starter which incorporates both the prized loin and liver, turn every part of the animal into an inspired, award-winning meal. The Kitchin encourages all its chefs and front of house staff to be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the food that they serve so they can discuss the provenance of each dish. There is even an expert team of whiskey experts to help you pair your local fare with a quintessentially Scottish beverage.

Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa

Located in an ideal central location to explore Edinburgh’s UNESCO world heritage-worthy sights on foot, the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa has a gold award from Green Tourism. This means the hotel has made commitments on reducing energy usage, saving water, and disposing of waste in an eco-friendly fashion alongside other sustainability goals including banning plastic straws from its restaurants and bars. The on-site restaurant boasts a seasonal menu that promises an exceptional meal, respectful of local ingredients by creating simple dishes.

Perhaps most appealing is the incredible spa. One spa can be found at the very top of the hotel putting it in the perfect position to best take advantage of stunning views from the rooftop hydropool. The thermal suite provides salt and heat experiences that will help relax you after a day of exploring the city. One spa also uses ESPA products and therapies, an all natural brand, which takes inspiration from traditional holistic therapies.

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What a beautiful calm morning it is

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