5 of the best glamping spots just outside of London
With so much travel uncertainty, it’s the summer of the staycation (yup, again), and campsite bookings are up a staggering 500 per cent in some parts of the UK. Just like last summer, there’s a big old scramble for tents and camping equipment with the Outdoor Industries Association saying the ‘perfect storm’ of Covid, Brexit and the supply chain coupled with increased global demand means you can’t get your hands on a canvas home for love nor money.
So why not leave the cool box and the gas stove (if you’ve actually own them, that is) at home? Treat yourself to a more sophisticated, less stressful glamping option – you deserve it for forfeiting that doomed holiday in the Med, after all. And with everyone holidaying at home this summer, the thought of spending 14 hours on the road to Devon or Cornwall with the holidaying hoards means a less congested option is way more appealing.
James Warmer Smith, editor of Glampingly, shares his top 5 glamping spots in the lesser-known holiday spots. And they’re all in easy reach of London for capital dwellers in need of some rural respite…
BEST FOR COUPLES
Wingbury Farm Glamping, Buckinghamshire
In a small, private field to the north of the Chiltern Hills, this luxury escape has just three glamping pods, two of which feature Scandinavian-style hot tubs. Inside, there are fitted double beds and plush en suites with power showers, while, outside, you can enjoy drinks beside the campfire with locally produced ‘Campfire Gin’. Other extras include a chocolate and prosecco hamper – the hot tub has holders for your glasses, naturally – and BBQ packs from the local butchers. It’s a 15-minute stroll to the nearest pub and a 15-minute drive to the Chilterns’ most popular walking routes.
Pods sleep up to four people from £160 per night.
BEST FOR GROUPS
Downsview Vineyard, East Sussex
There are four bell tents on this simple but sophisticated, adults-only site on a tiny vineyard with distant views of the South Downs. Just over an hour out of London this is the place for a grown-ups getaway, to let go of all that home schooling and home-working and focus on friendships and campfires, countryside, views, vines and, of course, wine. Sink into the weekend with a welcome glass of Downsview wine in the vineyard’s tasting room/bar on arrival night. This place does weekend stays only.
To book out all four bell tents is £1,500 for a three-night stay accommodating a group of 8 adults – £188 per person in total.
BEST FOR WILDLIFE
The Wigeon Hut, Essex
Part shepherd’s hut, part bird-hide and part luxury cottage, this two-person retreat may be three miles from the coast but water fills the neighbouring marshes at high tide. Among trees overlooking a pond, The Wigeon Hut is furnished to impeccable detail – think biodegradable toiletries, foodie welcome hampers, games and wildlife books – with a king-sized bed, wood-burner and en-suite bathroom. Outside, 55-acre Mill Farm feels more like a nature reserve than a fruit farm and binoculars are duly provided. Footpaths weave to Arlesford Creek, while the wooden tidal mill that gives the farm its name (built in 1831) is occasionally open to the public.
The Wigeon Hut sleeps two from £115 per night.
BEST FOR PETS
The Stag Lodge, Kent
This dog-friendly den is less than a mile from the nearest train station, easily reached from London Charing Cross. Guests can pre-book a ‘dog pack’, with a freshly laundered bed, bowls and a lead, and can enjoy public footpaths that lead through the two local vineyards. The lodge itself – a safari-style tent sleeping up to six people – has a huge living space, with a kitchen and wood burner, and two separate bedrooms, while an extra, hidden, ‘cupboard bed’ is adored by children. Owner Annabel has two black Labradors of her own and there are horses, chickens and cats on the farm too.
The Stag Lodge sleeps up to six people from £230 per night.
BEST FOR KIDS
Rankins Farm, Kent
First opened in spring, this brand new glamping site in the High Weald offers wonderful views and acres of space. Named after the plums that grow in the surrounding fruit farm, six pods overlook a meadow where a boules pitch, adventure playground and garden games like badminton and giant jenga provide plenty of distractions for kids. Inside, meanwhile, mod cons include under-floor heating, en-suite bathrooms and a compact kitchen space, plus a television and WiFi for rainy days. It’s a 15-minute drive to Leeds Castle where jousting tournaments and falconry displays are hosted during school holidays.
Pods sleep up to four people from £110 per night.
James Warmer Smith is the editor at Glampingly, the UK’s largest glamping website