The greenest cities in the UK revealed

Ecotourism is here to stay 💚

Ecotourism is a growing movement where travellers are more concerned with sustainability and natural attractions. But being an eco-tourist doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a city break. Using local and regional data on things like recycling, air quality and green spaces, a new analysis by Compare The Market has revealed the greenest UK cities.

Read on as we highlight the top 5 greenest cities in the UK and their best green attractions!

1. Bristol

Queen Square BristolThe green movement was long established in Bristol, which was the UK’s first cycling city and named the European Green Capital in 2015. With over 400 parks, nature reserves and other green spaces, there’s no shortage of places to connect with nature here. Plus, Bristol is also home to over 4,500 plant species at the spectacular University of Bristol Botanic Gardens.

Other green activities include The Create Centre and Ecohome, where visitors can explore environmental issues and discover greener choices. And with a curated collection of fashion and accessories, be sure to visit the Charity Super Mkt at Cabot Circus. It’s the UK’s first-ever space hosting multiple charities under one roof.

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2. Edinburgh

Arthur's Seat EdinburghHiking up an ancient volcano is a rare experience in a city. But Arthur’s Seat rises out of the Scottish capital as a striking monument to the natural world. The relatively easy climb to the top will take about 45 minutes and reward you with breathtaking views of the city. Located at its base is Dynamic Earth, a science centre and planetarium focusing on environmental sciences.

Elsewhere, the Edinburgh Remakery is a social enterprise offering workshops in sustainable practices and repair skills. On Saturdays from 9am-2pm, Edinburgh Farmers’ Market brings together suppliers to showcase local, organic and artisan produce.

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3. Belfast

Colin Glen in BelfastOne of the world’s most sustainable destinations, Belfast offers stunning natural attractions at every turn. Unrivalled is the view from the Black Mountain, but Belfast Hills offer a world adventure beyond walking. Colin Glen is an adventure park featuring an alpine coaster, zip lines and river rapids, while over on the shores of Strangford Lough is the WWT Castle and Espie Wetland Centre.

This tranquil environment is home to Ireland’s largest collection of native and exotic birds, ducks and geese. For a science and discover adventure with exhibitions exploring climate change, W5 is a must-see. For sustainable shoppers, the On The Square Emporium offers 12,000 square feet of antiques, vintage goods and industrial and urban salvage.

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4. Cardiff

Cosmeston LakesThe Welsh capital has 37 parks and green spaces to explore but one Site of Special Scientific Interest is Cosmeston Lakes and Medieval Village. It covers over 100 hectares of land and water protecting rare plant and animal species. Cosmeston Lakes is also home to a quaint village set in the 1350s, showing how people lived in medieval times.

Government buildings might not be an obvious eco-tourist attraction, but the Senedd, designed by Richard Rogers, was built with sustainability at its heart. Made from with traditional Welsh materials and heated by biomass, even the loos use rainwater to flush! You can also discover the natural history of this green country in the National Museum Cardiff.

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5. Manchester

Castlefield Viaduct ManchesterOnce dubbed the ‘Chimney of the World’ and now one of the greenest cities in the UK, Manchester has done much to clean up its act since its industrial past. Castlefield Viaduct, formerly used to transport goods into the Great Northern Warehouse, has been transformed into the city’s first park in the sky. The GM Ringway is a walking trail exploring the green spaces, waterways and countryside.

At the Manchester Museum, you’ll find a gallery dedicated to Living Worlds and Nature’s Library. It’s bound to inspire a deeper appreciation and connection with nature and encourage positive actions that benefit our planet.

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