Glamp it up!

Kerry Law offers her top tips for an enjoyable glamping holiday

Don’t confuse glamping with old-fashioned camping. Being squashed in a leaky tent with a deflating airbed is a world away from glamping (i.e. ‘glamorous camping’). Tailor-made for those who love the romance of sleeping under the stars, a glamping experience provides a slice of life in the great outdoors but with plenty of luxurious home comforts.

Glamping encompasses a huge variety of sleeping spaces – traditional Mongolian yurts, often furnished with double beds, rugs, armchairs and wood burning stoves, are more like boutique hotel rooms than ‘tents’. Similarly, bell tents are also indulgent sleeping spaces with raised floors (no cold, wet sleeping bags here) and plenty of space for a family; while tipis provide less room but a more novel experience.

You don’t have to sleep in a tent to be glamping – how about a vintage Airstream campervan, a shepherd’s hut, a treehouse, a gypsy caravan, or a log cabin? If it’s kitted out with plush or quirky furnishings in a beautiful setting, you’re glamping!

Embrace alfresco living

To ensure you really are glamping, and not just staying in a de facto hotel room, you need to embrace the great outdoors. Cook outdoors, eat outdoors, even shower outdoors – stay at the Coracle Yurt in Dorset and you can wash in the open air of their hot tree showers (with just enough woodland to protect your modesty!) And everything tastes better with fresh air so light up the campfire, barbecue or even outdoor pizza oven (available at some glampsites) and cook up a campsite feast using locally-sourced goodies.

You may be in the middle of a field but there’s no excuse for feeling bored. Start the day with some early morning yoga or gentle stretching; sun salutations at sunrise will keep you energised for the rest of the day. Explore your glampsite and go nature spotting on a wildlife walk (many glampsite owners will be happy to share their tips or may even have ready-made nature trail maps to share). Some sites offer informal courses in bush craft, foraging, bird-spotting or art, all helping you make the most of being close to nature. Finish the day around a crackling fire pit sharing ghost stories or playing good old-fashioned charades.

While many glampsites offer electricity and wifi (some yurts are even fitted with flat-screen TVs), true glamping should be experienced ‘off-grid’ and unplugged. Light your temporary home with atmospheric lamps, fairy lights and candlelight for an extra cosy feel, and leave the smartphones and tablets safely locked away in the car. Open your eyes and ears to the nature all around you, and enjoy your digital detox!

Kerry Law is the editor of eco travel blog Goodtrippers (www.goodtrippers.co.uk)

Your glamping packing list

Emma Warren, co-founder of Dimpsey Glamping (www.dimpsey.co.uk), a five star luxury boutique retreat in Somerset, suggests some essential items to bring with you on your glamping trip.

A map: Some glampsites have wifi, some don’t so check before you go. If it looks like a bad signal area – make sure you print the map out in case you lose phone or satnav signal or for when you want to explore!

A torch: A torch is always handy for out and about early evening walks. Also, don’t forget the matches and candles so you can sit outside by candlelight with a campfire (check if this is allowed first!)

Cash and cards: Many glamping sites are close to or have onsite farm shops to buy fresh homemade bread, cakes, eggs, meat etc. These will rarely take card payments, so take a little extra cash with you.

Carrier bags: Always take a few empty carrier bags with you, you never know when you need some extra bags for rubbish, dirty laundry etc.

Suncream – and an umbrella: Just because you are glamping and not camping, this doesn’t mean you are excluded from the occasional mis-timed heatwave or rainy downpour. Make sure you pack the boring things like sun cream, after sun, insect repellent and an umbrella.

Slippers or socks: Take slippers, thick socks or flip flops with you to wear inside your retreat.

First aid kit: Whilst all glamping sites should have a first aid kit on site, it is always handy to carry a small one yourself, just in case.

Taking the stress out of glamping

Sacha Macey, founder of Devon-based business Yurts for Life (www.yurtsforlife.com) advises on how to enjoy a stress-free glamping holiday.

  • Research the site well and make sure it’s in a good location for your individual needs. Has it got nice country walks nearby? A local farm shop for fresh ingredients when you need them? Plenty of space for the children to run around in? If not, keep looking – there are so many glamping sites in the UK now that there’s sure to be one ideal for you.
  • Choose a glamping set-up with a woodburning stove inside. Hopefully you won’t need to use it, but it can really take the edge off those surprisingly cold nights to make sure you’re well rested and ready for whatever adventures (or relaxation) you have planned for the next day.
  • If you have the space, invest in a little yurt to put in your garden for the summer. This is the perfect excuse to enjoy some impromptu glamping whenever the mood takes you… or whenever you fancy a relaxing night off while your other half keeps an eye on the kids!
  • Soak up your surroundings. We all have a tendency to try and cram in as many things and activities as possible when we go away, but the most relaxing, stress-free thing to do when glamping is to just sit back, relax and enjoy some quality downtime enjoying the views and the countryside.

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