Posh campsites are in a field of their own
The rain won’t last forever, and even if it does, you’re sure to stay snug – and stylish – in these luxury British campsites, says Kate Simon
Kate Simon is the Travel Correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. She was Travel Editor of The Independent on Sunday from 2005 to 2011. Kate is also the co-founder of Little Black Book Creative (www.lbbcreative.co.uk), which offers editorial services, media relations consultancy and travel-writing training.
Wednesday 11 July 2012
Camping is no longer the preserve of the hardy backwoods-type; over the past few years, tepees, bell tents, yurts and gypsy caravans have been popping up across the fields of Britain to satisfy the nation’s urge to get back to nature in style.
And when the rain clouds roll in, this new breed of camping experience offers added warmth and comfort. To meet the demand for this glamorous take on the great outdoors, bookshelves and the internet now swell with dedicated guides. See campingninja.com, canopyandstars.co.uk, coolcamping.co.uk, pitchup.com, getonmyland.co.uk, goglamping.net and ukcampsite.co.uk.
Room for two
Snuggle up with your other half beneath Egyptian cotton sheets at The Roundhouse (07887 522788; bodriftyfarm.co.uk) at Bodrifty Farm near Penzance in Cornwall.
This replica of an ancient Celtic chief’s dwelling has romantic touches, such as the headboard woven with flowers on the four-poster bed. Open June to September, from £380 for two nights; sleeps two.
In the Scottish Borders, five enchanting French gypsy caravans have been rounded up at Roulotte Retreat (0845 0949 729; roulotteretreat.com) near Melrose. The ornate trailers are open year round and start at £90 per night.
Ask the family
At 4 Winds Lakeland Tipis (01539 822935; 4windslakelandtipis.co.uk) in Cumbria, families can get in the Native American spirit by staying in 12 colourful, cushionstrewn wigwams. They sleep four to six and are pitched at Low Wray Campsite in Ambleside and Hoathwaite Campsite in Coniston. Open March to October; prices start at £185 per weekend, £325 per week.
In Devon, The Wood Life (01392 832509; thewoodlife.org) is a safari-style tent sleeping up to six in eight acres of private woodland near Dawlish. Luxuries include iron bedsteads, crisp cotton sheets and a wood-fired shower. Prices start at £395 for a four-night break.
Gone to the dogs
At Riversidelakes Campsite (01202 821212; riverside-lakes.co.uk) near Horton in Dorset, Rover can stay with you in one of the seven comfortably furnished Soulpads (bell tents with mattresses, wood burners and tea lights), at this low-impact campsite set around three lakes. Open April to September, sleeps two to six, from £38 per tent per night.
Graig Wen (01341 250482; graigwen.co.uk), near Dolgellau in Snowdonia, welcomes dogs in the two pretty yurts and later this summer in a new bell tent and wooden hut. Open March to October, yurts start at £159 for two nights; bell tent from £65 per night; hut from £250 for four nights. £10 for dogs.
All tomorrow’s parties
There’s no need to rock up to a music festival with your own tent any more. Furnished tepees, bell tents, cloudhouses (yurt-style tents) and the like are available to hire at a number of this summer’s festivals, including Camp Bestival in Dorset (campbestival.net; 26- 29 July) and Bestival on the Isle of Wight (bestival.net; 6-9 September), Creamfields in Cheshire (creamfields.com; 24-26 August), Leeds Festival (leedsfestival.com; 24-26 August), and Womad in Wiltshire (womad.co.uk; 27-29 July). Hotel Bell Tent (hotelbelltent.co.uk) will be at more than 20 events, including a site in East London during the Olympics (campinlondon.com; 23 July-13 August).
Location, location, location
Rooms with a view are guaranteed at Ecopod (07725 409003; domesweetdome.co.uk), near Oban. Three geodesic domes capture the glory of Castle Stalker on Loch Linnhe.
The pods come with designer furniture and kitchens and digital entertainment libraries, plus a Japanese cedar hot tub. Open yearround, three-night breaks start at £495.
Meanwhile, 10 luxury safari tents have been pitched around a watering hole inside the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent.
Livingstone Lodge Overnight Safari Experience (0844 842 4647; aspinallfound ation.org/livingstone-lodge) is open March to October, £240 per night, half board.
Weird and wonderful
You’ll have to bring your own five-star luxuries to the latest accommodation at The Willows Abersoch (01758 740676; the- willows-abersoch.co.uk), on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales. This is the site of two “hobbits”, huge wooden tubes furnished with one double and two single beds, power points, heating and lighting. Open March to October, from £68 per night for two, children £7 per night. Or try a camping snug for the night at Riverside Park (01789 292312; stratfordcaravans.co.uk) near Stratford in Warwickshire. These cute, three-cornered wooden huts are insulated to keep you snug.
Open April to November, from £30 a night.
Who said that?
“There’s something about spending a night in a tent that restores a great sense of peace and simplicity to your life.” - Bear Grylls, adventurer
“Camp is very entertaining. And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining.” - “Camp Grenada” by Allan Sherman and Lou Busch
“Living in the lap of luxury isn’t bad, except you never know when it will stand up.” - Orson Welles
“Be prepared.” - Lord Baden-Powell
On the move
Match these luxury camping options to the campsite of your choice. Hire a cosy teardrop trailer from Norwich-based Clever Camper (07811 460307; clevercamper.co.uk), which packs a fully dressed double bed, fitted kitchen, side shelter, and table and chairs. Sleeps two, from £99 per weekend.
Take a vintage trip in a shiny American trailer, available from £150 per night for up to four people from Hampshire-based Iconic Airstream Rental (01489 877806; iconicrental.com). Or hit the open road in a retro VW van from Cornish Campers (01726 891722; cornishcampers.co.uk). Three-night breaks start at £195 for two adults and two children.
Pick your spot and place an order with Honeybells Tent Hire (07817 672502; honeybells.co.uk) to deliver, set up and, eventually, take down your tent. The company is based in Dorset but does work further afield. From £120 per night. Or roam the byways of Wiltshire in the White Horse Gypsy Caravan (01672 851119; whitehorse gypsycaravans.co.uk). Three-night self-drive tours cost from £490, tuition included.
“The numerous luxury camping options on offer mean you can still enjoy an outdoor holiday, even when the weather is looking a bit British. When the sun comes out, just roll back the canvas walls and pretend the rain never happened. A good tip is also to look for a luxury campsite with a hot tub – there’s no better way to enjoy the outdoors, particularly with a glass of fizz.”
Jonathan Knight, editor of coolcamping.co.uk
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