For some travellers there is nothing better than camping wild under the stars, cooking over an open fire and taking in the elements – from baking sun to lashings of rain. Camping can be a liberating experience, but it’s certainly not for everyone. Enter glamping.
A portmanteau of ‘glamour’ and ‘camping’, glamping describes an amalgamation of camping with high-end services and enables travellers to enjoy the adventure and escapism of the great outdoors, but with the creature comforts of a high-class hotel.
The roots of glamping can be said to stretch back to the early 1900s. Wealthy Europeans and Americans would go on safari in Africa and, accustomed to a certain level of luxury, were catered for in camps of the very finest quality.
In recent years music festivals have helped to fuel interest in glamping (who, if given the choice, would choose a sodden tent over a deluxe caravan?) and there has been an explosion in interest in them across the UK. Although glamping may have started in campsites, it has now moved far beyond such humble origins and takes in all manner of weird and wonderful sites. A few of our favourites include:
An import from Mongolia, Yurts are perfect for groups, yurts tend to sleep six to ten people and usually include a wood burning stove as standard. Basic models tend to include camp beds and rudimentary cooking facilities, however, the sky really is the limit when it comes to how luxurious a yurt can be: hot tubs, massages and champagne on demand are not unheard of, providing a hint of decadence in the wilderness.
While yurts are very much an import that contrast with their surroundings, pods are designed to blend in and become one with them. In essence, a camping pod is an update on the traditionally bothy; a simple, wooden structure, but one that can be transformed into anything you want: from an elegant boudoir to austere lodging for a quick weekend away. Their design is such that they blend into their surroundings, enabling guests to feel at one with their environment. Generally sleeping 4 to 6, pods are ideal for families and can be rented at sites across the UK.
The rise of glamping has seen a plethora of weird and wonderful sites open to the public. From railway carriages to reconditioned gypsy wagons, it seems that any structure can be glamped to perfection. Perhaps owing to the popularity of glamping at festivals like Glastonbury, refurbished VW camper vans are particularly popular, featuring room for two, or at a push four, sleepers, along with the trappings of modern life, from cooking facilities to interior lights and even external BBQ ports. Reconditioned vehicles like this can not only be comfortable, but are a sure conversation starter. After all, sleeping in a former showman’s wagon or ex-London bus is slightly more interesting than a staid hotel room!
Staying in a treehouse can be an inspiring experience, allowing you to break away from the normal holiday routine and get involved in something far beyond the norm. A stay in a treehouse will not only spark your imagination, but also your sense of adventure and connection with nature.
A great example of this is the Gwdy Hw camp, located in the rolling valleys of mid-Wales. Backed by a labyrinth of trails, Gwdy Hw is environmentally friendly tree house camp, reached only via a spectacular wooden staircase. A wood burning stove provides a powerful source of heat and a hot spring shower is surprisingly effective. Touches of luxury are also present, with fresh linen showing that off-grid living need not be challenging.