Witness the Northern Lights and experience the therapeutic benefits of nature with woodland breaks in the UK and further abroad
Timber cabin — Highlands
A chance of witnessing the Northern Lights, and walruses and orca appearing off the coast nearby add to the magic of a stay at Arnor the Rangers Hut, in a stand of tall pine trees. Clad in wooden shingles, the fairy-tale timber cabin has a rustic interior. Bike trails and woodland walks run from the doorstep, there’s a decent bistro two miles’ hike away and you can collect fresh eggs for breakfast. From £89 per night sleeping two, canopyandstars.co.uk.
Snowdonia treehouses — Wales
Oak, larch and Scots pine form a tangled view from the six treehouses at this off-grid site on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. They are family-friendly, with Hobbit-esque design features built from sustainable timber and carpets of bluebells beneath them in late spring. Illuminated by tea lights, they form an enchanting family forest escape where adventure awaits on the doorstep. From £190 per night for four, kiphideaways.com.
Breakfast with the animals — Germany
Inquisitive deer wander up to the four, stilted Baumgefluester treehouses near Bad Zwischenahn in Lower Saxony. Panoramic windows and terraces make the most of the woodland setting, where squirrels scurry around the 200-year-old trees and rare kinglets build their nests in summer. A wholesome breakfast is delivered each morning. From €218 (£183) per night for two, baumgefluester.de.
Forest bathing — Surrey
Spending time among trees slows the pulse, lowers blood pressure and reduces the stress hormone cortisol – that’s the basic premise of forest bathing. Book an introductory session with a specialist guide, such as Gary and Olga of Holistic Healing Therapy, based in the Surrey Hills, whose classes feature relaxation exercises, meditation and a silent, mindful walk. From £22 for two hours, holistichealingtherapy.co.uk.
Blackwood Forest Lodges — Hampshire
The gentle swishing of the beech trees will lull travellers to sleep at one of these luxurious Hoseasons lodges. Here, 270 hectares of wooded land in the New Forest combine peace in nature with handy facilities such as a restaurant/bar and coffee shop, mountain bike hire, ranger-led walks and forest nature trails. Lodges vary in size, sleeping up to 10, many with hot tubs. From £425 for three nights sleeping four, hoseasons.co.uk.
Free woodland shelters — Denmark
The great outdoors is a way of life in Denmark. Free-to-use community wilderness shelters can be found across many beautiful wooded regions, for camping out during hiking, kayaking and biking adventures. In the Vejle area, near Billund, Knudshøje has three simple wooden shacks each sleeping six around a campfire pit in woodland, with free firewood, water and toilets, visitvejle.com/vejle/accommodation/nature-camps-and-shelters.
Hammocks in Carmarthenshire — Wales
You can’t get much closer to nature than by slinging a hammock between two trees to kip under the leaves and stars, but for anyone not quite ready to wild camp alone, a campsite in Carmarthenshire offers a “hammock taster break”. At Y’Gelli, a self-titled “nearly wild” glamping site in eight acres of woodland on the banks of the River Teifi, guests can choose ready-pitched hammocks around a firepit, bring their own, or opt for a bell tent. Ready-pitched hammock £15pp per night, own hammock pitch £5 per night, bell tent for two £65 per night, ygellicamping.co.uk.
Zipline roller coaster — Northumberland
Mimicking the twists and turns of a roller coaster, the Kielder ZipCoaster in Northumberland’s Kielder Forest is the first zipline of its type in Europe, travelling at speeds of up to 20mph between the trees, with a 270-degree bend and 3m freefall drop. It opened at the Calvert Kielder outdoor pursuits centre last summer, which also offers a wheelchair-accessible version, alongside archery, kayaking and a high ropes course. From £20pp, calvertkielder.org.uk.
Wolf tracking — Transylvania
The forests of Transylvania are some of the healthiest on the Continent, with Europe’s largest populations of wolves, bears and lynx. Track the animals on day treks in the Bucegi mountains with the aid of the experts at Transylvanian Wolf (transylvanianwolf.ro). Base yourself at the Scandi-style Cabana Sapte cabin, midway between Brasov and Sibiu on the edge of a forest and river.Sleeps 10 from €200 (£168) per night, cabanasapte.com.
Whittling and forest skills — Suffolk
Activities from whittling bows and arrows to fire-lighting, den-building and making wooden jewellery are part of the experience at Secret Meadows Glamping on White House Farm Nature Reserve near Woodbridge. Accommodation includes a Gypsy caravan, a converted horsebox and bunting-strewn safari tents, while the 115-acre site of meadows and woodland also boasts a wood-fired hot tub, turf labyrinth and wildlife hide. From £495 for three nights sleeping four, oneoffplaces.co.uk.
High-ropes treehouses — France
Near Rouen, Les Cabanes de Fontaine-Châtel is a mesmerising hideout where guests can stay tucked up between the beech, oak and ash trees. The highest treehouse sits 12m up and is accessed via a wonky high ropes course-style bridge that requires being clipped to a harness; another is entered by zipline. Breakfast is hoisted into the treetops, then it’s time for orienteering in the woods, or spotting wild boar and deer. From £90 a night for two B&B, glampingly.co.uk.
Cool Danish — Cabin Cornwall
Resembling a mix of carpenter’s workshop, lumberjack shed and Manhattan loft, the timber-framed Danish Cabin must be one of the coolest woodland hideouts in the land. Glazed wall panels fold up to create an open-air, open-plan hangout, with dangling egg chairs covered in sheepskins and your own timber bar with draft beer pump. There are a few smaller cabins on the Kudhva site near Tintagel, which has sea views, plus a communal fire pit and kitchen. From £240 a night, sleeping six, canopyandstars.co.uk.
Yurtcamp — Devon
Children can bring their teddies down to the woods for a picnic at this family-focused glampsite near Liverton, between Dartmoor and the English Riviera. The 22 yurts are arranged around a green space and hidden in woodland, where birds of prey and deer roam. Tunnels, an assault course and a pancake house have been built to boost the fun factor. From £592 for four nights sleeping four, campsites.co.uk.
Tree-climbing — Isle of Wight
Master the thrill of climbing tall trees on a three-day retreat amid mature oak woodland near Ryde. Use ropes and harnesses to move around the canopy confidently, and take away skills such as tree identification, knot tying and hammock installation. From £325pp for three days including instruction and workbooks, dates throughout the year, next availability September. Two-hour taster course about £30pp depending on group size, goodleaf.co.uk.
Riverside cabin — Italy
Towering fir trees are the backdrop for a cosy wood cabin on the banks of the Boite river in the Ampezzo Valley of the Dolomites, the foodie mountain region of Italy. Though the snazzy ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo lies just 3km away, this is glorious hiking terrain in spring, with the charming mountain towns of Bolzano and Bruneck within easy reach for castles, culture and drool-worthy Italian cuisine. Cabin sleeps four from £195 a night self-catering, glampinghub.com (search for Cortina.)
Micro forest festivals — Aberdeenshire
A series of themed micro festivals will take place on the Glen Dye estate, a 30,000 acre site south-west of Aberdeen, surrounded by forest and moorland. Its owners previously hosted The Good Life Experience camps in Wales. Their new concept kicks off in May with Rewild Yourself: four days of hiking, campfire feasts, bushcraft and foraging, Wild Wellness (mindful running, river swimming, forest bathing), Wild Food and Craft Camp. Accommodation is in the estate’s cabins and cottages, from £795pp for four days all-inclusive, glendyecabinsandcottages.com.
Forest immersion — Spain
Part of the Cabañitas del Bosque network of timber cabins in Galicia is a cluster that has largely been designed to offer wheelchair accessibility. The Cabañas sen Barreiras are located in the village of A Quintenla, with views of pine, oak, bay and holly trees within the surrounding forest, and Jacuzzis on the terraces. Activities include a guided forest immersion. From €75pp (£63) per night self-catered, forest immersion from €25pp (£21), doartesanato.com.
Forest fishing — Czech Republic
U Zlate Rybky has a couple of lodges and treehouses in a protected area of South Bohemia known for hiking and kayaking. Furnished like a folksy log cabin, one lodge has a veranda overlooking a lake where you can fish for carp, perch and pike from the deck, along with a hot tub and sauna, while the rustic treehouse has hand-carved bunks. From £148 a night sleeping four self-catered, apartmany-stankov.cz.
Little Bear cabin — West Sussex
Soaking in the wood-fired hot tub under the stars, listening for owls, is one of the joys of a stay at this cabin for two in the West Sussex Weald and Downland near Billingshurst. This beautifully designed pad is fitted out rather luxuriously, with faux furs and linens, a king-sized bed, curvy loungers on the wooden deck and a fire pit surrounded by tree stump seats for late-night confabs. Utterly romantic. From £1,150 per week sleeping two, uniquehomestays.com.
Woodland foraging — Finland
A charcoal-black cabin on the shores of Lake Santara, this “mokki” summer cottage is bright inside, with two bedrooms and open-plan living areas. It is embraced by the forest in Finland’s lakeland Karelia region, with a pontoon on to the lake and its own rowing boat and private sauna. Go foraging in the woods for berries or mushrooms (make sure you know what you are doing) and relish the tranquillity. From £125 per night for four, domstayandlive.com.