Article by The Sunday Times
The Rise in Glamping, notice in the list of site there are no glamping sites from North Wales, Let’s Glamp can help change that…
The rise and rise of glamping in the UK — that’s glam camping, keep up — has confirmed what we all secretly knew: that, as a nation, we love getting outdoors, but not necessarily at the expense of a few creature comforts. After a day spent feeding chickens, climbing trees and mastering rope-swing moves, what’s wrong with retiring to a kingsize bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and the promise of a breakfast hamper at 9am? (Actually, make that 9.30am, with an extra side of crispy bacon, thanks.)
Glamping has been the regular at many campsites and festivals for a while, but now you can expect to find glamping options at your favourite luxury hotel, local theme park or best friend’s wedding. (See Guy Ritchie’s nuptials last summer.) And it’s no longer just yurts, tepees and bell tents. How about a handcrafted cedar-wood caravan, a pagoda-style tent in a Japanese waterfall garden or a remote glamping cabin on a tiny Scottish island? These all feature in our selection here.
In most cases, it’s not just the accommodation that’s the thing to get excited about, but the knockout countryside location. That’s the simple joy of glamping: waking up to the great outdoors after a great night’s sleep.
1 Loveland Farm, Devon
A mile from the Hartland Heritage Coast, six-acre Loveland Farm juxtaposes 19th-century buildings with five striking geodesic domes. Created by the fashion designers Jeff and Karina Griffin, they range in size and price, with features including kingsize beds, woodburning stoves, wi-fi and a movie projector. Adjacent cabins house a kitchen space and a bathroom. There’s a menagerie of farm animals on hand, including water buffalo, and solar power throughout ensures a minimal carbon footprint. North Devon’s popular surf spots, including Woolacombe, Bude, Westward Ho! and Croyde, are all within driving distance.
From £230 for two nights for two; 01237 441894; lovelandfarmcamping.co.uk
2 Orchard Retreat, Devon
Dotted around a sloping four-acre orchard are three locally crafted, fully furnished yurts, along with a lodge where you’ll find private bathrooms and a shared kitchen area. Pathways lit by solar lanterns wind between the different areas, with wild grasses left to grow elsewhere. An outdoor pizza oven and barbecue can be found in a clearing. The excellent farm shop next door offers pick-your-own strawberries throughout summer, while nearby Crediton hosts one of the finest farmers’ markets in the country. Bring bikes to make the most of the family-friendly Grand Western Canal Cycle Route.
From £275 for three nights; 01363 866058, theorchardretreat.co.uk
3 Honeybuns Ark, Dorset
An offshoot of an award-winning bakery, this is a wonderfully private site with a single vintage caravan for two. Clad in cedar and dating from the 1940s, it’s fitted with deco drawers, cupboards and floorboards, and decked out in retro fabrics; it also has a well-equipped kitchen and a bathroom. A breakfast hamper awaits your arrival and the bakery has a pop-up shop around the corner. You can feed the hens, befriend the resident donkey, light a campfire and enjoy the view of Bullbarrow Hill. Nearby is pretty Sherborne, with two castles and a glorious abbey. Honeybuns Ark is only open on weekends.
From £200 for two nights; 01963 23597, honeybuns.co.uk/glamping
4 Adhurst Yurts, West Sussex
Set in a 100-acre forest on the South Downs, Adhurst Yurts achieves a rustic feel despite being luxuriously equipped. The four Mongolian-style yurts retain their privacy, but share three outdoor kitchens. The gas-heated showers have no roof, but the most expensive yurt comes with an ensuite bathtub. The Watercress heritage steam railway and Jane Austen’s House Museum are a short drive away; on site, you can paddle in the River Rother or use the zip lines, rope swings and tennis court.
From £270 for two nights; 07789 954476, adhurst.co.uk
5 Gooseberry Field, Kent
This reinvented orchard near Ashford is an easy escape from central London. The few apple trees that remain are harvested for homemade cider, while the disused meadow space now hosts five furnished bell tents, a tepee and a 1970s caravan. On a slightly lower tier, there’s a paved terrace with a pizza oven and a barbecue, as well as a small herb garden, so you can pick fresh rosemary for your steak. A wood-fired hot tub is lit each weekend. It’s a 15-minute walk to the excellent Black Horse pub, in Pluckley.
Bell tents from £225 for a two-night weekend for two; 07788 237588,gooseberryfieldcampsite.com
6 Elmley Nature Reserve, Kent
Despite being a National Nature Reserve, Elmley, on the Isle of Sheppey, is still owned and run by a family farm. So you get boardwalks, bird hides and informative signs for visitors, but also cattle blocking the two-mile driveway. The reserve’s three furnished shepherd’s huts are isolated, yet within walking distance of a barn with communal cooking facilities and flushing lavatories. They have gas-powered showers and compost loos. No campfires are allowed (boo), and there’s no access to the waterfront — keep your eyes peeled for marsh harriers and ringed plovers — but wildlife walks, 4×4 tours and photography courses are available.
From £100 a night for two; 07786 333331, elmleynaturereserve.co.uk
7 Cwtch Camp, Pembrokeshire
Alongside a snaking tributary of the Daugleddau estuary, next to the Westfield Pill Nature Reserve, Cwtch Camp strikes the ideal balance between wilderness and luxury. Hidden in three acres of spruce woodland, it feels remote, but has ample facilities. The three handcrafted, insulated wooden cabins sleep a couple or a family of four, while a kitchen, shower and flushing lavatory are subtly tucked amid the trees. Take a walk to join the Landsker Borderlands Trail, which circles the eastern bank of the estuary, or drive eight miles to the beaches of St Brides Bay.
From £80 a night; 07525 779454, www.cwtchcamping.co.uk
8 Cwm Ty Coed, Carmarthenshire
Eight tepees and bell tents populate this family-run smallholding 10 minutes outside Carmarthen. Each has beds, bedding and a private kitchen and fire pit; a communal lodge provides a convenient all-weather space, with table tennis, board games and a woodburner. When the sun is out, there’s a zip wire to try and, on occasion, impromptu outdoor cinema evenings are laid on. Claiming to be the oldest town in Wales, Carmarthen has a small ruined castle in its centre that’s free to explore and great for kids, while the sandy beach of Pembrey Country Park is just 30 minutes away. Regular campers can pitch up here, too — try not to be too smug.
From £70 a night for bell tents or £80 for tepees; 01994 484688, cwmtycoed.co.uk
9 Ty Cefn Tregib, Carmarthenshire
In the 10-acre grounds of this family-run B&B, glampers will find a refurbished American Airstream caravan, a Mongolian yurt and an oriental pagoda. Mod cons such as a TV, a DVD player and LED lights, along with bright, stylish furnishings, give the Airstream a youthful edge, while the yurt and pagoda are roomy enough for woodburners and sofas. The B&B approach extends to each glamping option, so there’s no need to bring towels or torches. The setting is spectacular, with a small waterfall and views across the Towy River Valley. It’s a 10-minute walk to the two pubs in Ffairfach, and the Brecon Beacons provide top-quality hiking on the doorstep. Campfires are not permitted, though.
From £250 for a three-night weekend or four-night midweek break for two; 01558 823830, tregib.co.uk
10 The Dome Garden, Gloucestershire
At this appropriately named site, 11 geodesic domes rise from the garden of a former Forestry Commission lodge, now converted into a restaurant and bar. Children sleep in hanging pods, ambient globe lights cast a hazy glow and Astroturf carpets create a sense of continuity with the garden outside. The atmosphere is thoroughly sociable, particularly for younger campers. Children assemble in the treehouse, on the rope swings or at the wobbly-tyre climbing area. The Forest of Dean is on your dome-step, and a 12-mile circular cycle track runs past the garden gate.
From £343 for four midweek nights, for four adults or a family of five; 07974 685818,domegarden.co.uk
11 Redwood Valley, Powys
The steam-bent wooden supports are artfully exposed inside both 19ft yurts at Redwood Valley. One has a flat roof and earthy colours; that’s the Turkmen style. The other, a Mongolian model, has a brighter, more decorative finish. There’s a woodburner in each, and fire-pit cooking is encouraged, but the nearby kitchen lodge also has everything you need, from fridges and gas hobs down to free tea, herbs and condiments. A rope swing hangs from the giant redwood that gives the woodland site its name, and Norton Brook, which forms part of the English border, is perfect for summer paddling. Ludlow is 35 minutes away by car.
From £110 a night; 01544 598050, redwood-valley.co.uk
12 Mill House Farm, Shropshire
Used for two decades by a London theatre company, Mill House Farm’s glamping cart is a replica of the mobile stages used during Shakespearean times. Retired last year and converted by a thespian couple, Adrian and Gemma, the stage is now a light and comfortable, if relatively basic, living space in a river-skirted field just west of Shrewsbury. Inside, a folding table and a sofa bed cheat extra space; it also has a modest kitchen and a barbecue on the veranda. The best of Shropshire’s hills are nearby, while a flatter 1½-hour stroll northeast takes you into Shrewsbury town centre.
From £75 a night for two; 01743 860576, millhousefarm.org
13 Happy Days Retro Vacations, Suffolk
A stalwart of the glamping scene, Happy Days Retro Vacations moved from Dorset last year to take up residence in a larger meadow near Saxmundham, Suffolk. Five shiny vintage Airstream trailers and one retro caravan still draw guests from across the country, with original wood-veneer interiors and careful attention to detail throughout. The greater space has allowed for additions: a polytunnel provides an all-weather space and a playground has been built around a 1950s French army truck. It’s a 15-minute drive to the coast, where popular Aldeburgh and Thorpeness are linked by a long sand-and-shingle beach. The glamping site is shared with regular camping.
From £170 for a three-night weekend; 01728 603424, happydaysrv.co.uk
14 Amber’s Bell Tent Camping, Norfolk
Fringed by an oak dell, Amber’s Bell Tent Camping occupies a three-acre meadow on the Mannington Hall estate. The 15th-century manor’s expansive gardens have more than 1,000 varieties of rose, a willow tunnel and several lakes, not to mention a tearoom, boules, a badminton court and access to woodland footpaths. Only one of the bunting-adorned bell tents is in the garden itself; the seven in the meadow benefit from a wood-fired sauna. It’s a 20-minute drive to the north Norfolk coast, where Amber Wykes is due to open her second glamping site, at Wiveton Hall, next month.
From £170 for two nights; 07580 072861, ambersbelltents.co.uk
15 Stanley Villa Farm, Lancashire
A five-acre lake is the centrepiece of this open heathland site on Lancashire Fylde. Twenty-four wooden camping pods are fully insulated and equipped with beds and mattresses (though you’ll need to bring your own bedding), while a smart communal kitchen has everything else you need. The Fylde Trout Fishery welcomes all levels of angler — rod hire and fishing lessons are available. Morecambe Bay, the Forest of Bowland and the Ribble Estuary Nature Reserve are all less than an hour’s drive away, but the real surprise, given the secluded feel, is that you’re only 15 minutes from the bright lights of Blackpool.
From £47 a night for two; 01253 804588, campingbugs.co.uk
16 Wanderlusts Gypsy Caravans, Cumbria
Wanderlusts is the glamping site that moves. Waiting in a local pub, guests are met by a shire-horse-pulled bowtop gypsy caravan for a tour of the Lake District’s peaceful back roads. Painstakingly restored by Barny Maurice — a travelling trapeze artist for more than 20 years — the wagon offers a romantic insight into life on the road. Nights are spent at predesignated meadows, one beside an old stone watermill, others by lakes and streams that are ideal for wild swimming; daytime routes incorporate stops where you can pick up eggs and homemade jam. Barny might even let you take the reins on the easy bits.
From £600 for a three-night weekend or four-night midweek break, for up to two adults and two children; 07815 439130, wanderlusts.co.uk
17 Hesleyside Huts, Northumberland
Three spacious shepherd’s huts fit seamlessly in the estate grounds of 18th-century Hesleyside Hall. They’re rustic — reclaimed oak provides texture and a sense of age — but pretty luxurious, with a kitchen area, a kingsize master bed and a twin bunk room. A fourth hut, in the style of a New England pioneer chapel, has a mezzanine bedroom, creating space for a giant copper bathtub downstairs. Days can be filled canoeing on Kielder Water, fishing the North Tyne or mountain-biking in the forest; stargazing kits are provided for astronomy sessions in the Northumberland National Park and Dark Sky Reserve.
From £160 for two nights; 01434 220068, hesleysidehuts.co.uk
18 Roulotte Retreat, Scottish Borders
The seven ensuite gypsy caravans — or roulottes — at this accessible site blend modern functionality with an antique appearance. Think smooth hardwoods, delicate carvings and cast-iron woodburners as well as electricity and cooking facilities. Two of the caravans have wood-fired hot tubs outside. The trained yoga teacher, Avril, offers meditation, massages and more in a wooden studio enclosed by aromatic Scots pines, and there’s a small lake with a jetty and a shingle beach. Visit the magnificent ruined abbey in nearby Melrose, the final resting place of the heart of Robert the Bruce.
From £190 for two nights; 0845 094 9729, roulotteretreat.com
19 Ace Hideaways, Moray
There are three large bell tents sleeping up to 10 people each at this partially wooded site, but they’re outshone by the pair of romantic shepherd’s huts, each with a double bed, a woodburner and a private clearing in the trees. Both the setting and the facilities feel rather wild: a huge log table has been crafted out of a fallen tree and the off-grid shower block has pillars of gnarled pine. A walk to the River Findhorn links you with the campsite’s partner company, Ace Adventures, which can take you whitewater rafting, cliff jumping, kayaking and canyoning; or you can stick to the more sedate footpaths leading to the Logie Steading visitor centre, two miles away.
Shepherd’s hut from £55 a night for two; 01309 611729, acehideaways.co.uk
20 Dry Island, Highland
A family visit to this island on the west coast of Scotland could double its population. Reached via a narrow footbridge, the sole property on the isle is accompanied by a couple of wooden cabins, tucked amid the trees, but with outstanding sea views. Closer to the “functional” than the “luxury” end of the spectrum, the larger cabin sleeps a family of four in a double sofa bed and bunks, while the smaller one is ideal for couples. Badachro Bay is a haven for marine life — join the local skipper on a traditional shell-fishing tour. Head back to the mainland to hike the dramatic Torridon Mountains.
From £50 a night; 01445 741263, dryisland.co.uk
Original Article – thesundaytimes.co.uk