Glamping It Up
Glamping is the new darling of the travel industry and, in case the term had escaped you, it’s camping for those who prefer creature comforts.
Camping used to be the domain of the brave – or the fool hardy depending on your take on what it means to get away from it all for a few days. How things have changed. Its 21st century reincarnation has swapped rickety camp beds for comfy places to rest the head; replaced grim, communal toilets and showers with en suite facilities; and substituted sleeping bags for fresh bed linen and lots of homely touches. INDEX went in search of some of the best places to glamp it up this summer…
Retreat to a highland wigwam
With 15 sites around Scotland, Wigwam Holidays offers glamping with the wow-factor in locations across breath-taking coastline and vast areas of natural wilderness perfect for walking, kayaking and numerous outdoor adventures. From your lovingly crafted timber cabin complete with heating and various at-home comforts, you’ll be able to explore lochs, glens, islands, ancient forests and mountains steeped in timeless mystery and home to golden eagles, wild deer, red squirrels, beavers and mountain hares.
• Visit www.wigwamholidays.com for details of locations and prices.
Snowdonia National Park is one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the British Isles and you can enjoy its mountains, glaciers, extensive network of trails, more than 100 lakes and peaks from a bell-tent (complete with hot tub) or camping pod at the Hideaway in the Hills. There’s so much to do here from zip-lining to exploring castles, slate mines and hopping on a mountain railway, while back at base you can snuggle up in pure Welsh wool tapestry blankets, read to chandeliers made of tea lights or toast marshmallows over a fire pit.
• Prices start from £175 for a two-night stay. Visit www.hideaway-in-the-hills.com
Hop on over to the Weald of Kent
Little Halden Farm near Cranbrook has been in the same family for five generations, but, like many farming dynasties, they’ve had to respond to challenging times. The answer has been the inspired creation of a site currently housing impressive 20ft and 14ft yurts, a safari tent and four unique hopper huts. Located in Weald of Kent countryside, home comforts include hot showers, wood stoves and plenty of cosy furnishings and little touches to make you feel right at home.
• Prices start from £300 for a two-night weekend break in the larger yurt or safari tent and £235 in one of the hopper huts. Visit www.littlehaldenfarm.co.uk
Glamping has come to East Sussex with the creation of five hand-built (by the owners, using reclaimed and recycled materials) shepherd huts set in secluded woodland on a 200-acre family farm. You can spend days wandering through orchards, exploring Bodiam Castle, catch a ferry down river, hop on a steam train or retire to a local pub before returning to your fully-equipped hut, which is fuelled by solar energy and comes complete with tasteful furnishings and a hamper full of locally-sourced produce.
• Prices start from £82 per night and from £229 for short breaks. Visit www.original-huts.co.uk
Just 30 minutes from Schiphol airport and within easy reach of Amsterdam and the coastal resort of Scheveningen, TaarTenTuin (“the cake garden”) is an authentic South Holland farm living experience. Although small in scale, owners Anton and Mariska ensure there’s never a dull moment. The range of animals to which this is home encompasses chickens, sheep, pigs, cows, rabbits, cats and a dog, while the wider area is one of the most important wetland sites in The Netherlands. The farm has a shop full of homegrown vegetables and dairy produce, and accommodation, within canvas lodges, sits on a landscape peppered with animals, windmills and views guaranteed to take you down a gear or two.
• A three-night break this summer costs from €419. Visit www.featherdown.co.uk
To the Emerald Isle
Rock Farm Slane is a glamping, ecotourism and activity centre and organic farm on the Slane Castle estate 45 minutes from Dublin. Stretching 1.5km along the banks of the River Boyne, the long track to the farm takes you through fields of barley, agro-forestry, cows, chickens and horses until you reach a collection of five yurts and two shepherd huts situated in a woodland glade and with spectacular views across the river valley to Slane Castle.
• Prices starts from €120 for a two-night stay. Visit www.rockfarmslane.ie
Into the secret meadow
With luxury lodge tents, the Gypsy’s Rest and The Hobbit Box, Secret Meadows provides stylish, off-grid creature comforts combined with the magic of being at one with nature. Located in rural Suffolk, there are 115 acres of meadows and woodland unchanged for generations and ripe for exploration. By day, turn-off modern day madness and experience a slower pace of life in inspiring surroundings while, by night, relax in front of a camp fire just taking in the chilled atmosphere.
• Three nights in The Hobbit Box this August for two adults and two children costs from £498. Visit www.secretmeadows.co.uk
Barefoot in Cornwall
At first glance, these tents might lead you to believe you’re headed for the African bush. Set on Chymder Farm within 12 acres of wildflower meadows and sporting sea views, Barefoot Glamping ups the ante when it comes to luxury camping with two spectacular safari tents and an equally-inviting tin hut. Handmade beds, en suite showers and toilets and wood burners ensure a home-from-home feel, while on the doorstep are two of Cornwall’s trademark beaches and a designated area of outstanding natural beauty from which to spot shooting stars, take a surf lesson or simply kick-back and swing in a hammock.
• Safari tents cost from £444 a week and the tin hut from £411 a week. Visit www.barefoot-glamping.co.uk
Now, these are rather neat – a collection of pods located in the heart of rural Cheshire. But don’t let the term “pod” deter you, we’re talking luxury here. Aside from a comfy double bed and two single futons, you’ll get a CD and DVD player, mini fridge, a small fire pit and even a hot tub. If you really can’t escape daily life, the owners also throw in free wi-fi – and there’s bags to do within easy reach, from Chester Zoo and Delamere Forest to the Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre and the Snugbury Ice Cream Farm.
• A two-night weekend break costs from £180. Visit www.ladyheyespark.com
Images: Jonathan Hilder, Craig Girling, Chris Rawlings, Stephen Waller, Greg Carr & Gareth McGaughey