It’s a term that is frequently bantered around nowadays without necessarily much consideration for what it means. Hard-core campers loath the concept whilst some who cannot live without their luxurious surroundings and their creature comforts see it as forfeiting too much. So what is Glamping?
If you look the term up in a dictionary you will be faced with this definition:
“A form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more
luxurious than those associated with traditional camping”.
Now I know that the cynical individuals reading this will highlight that the word ‘camping’ appears within this definition twice and probably scream out asking why they should relinquish their 5* hotels or boutique branded suite but trust me some glamorous camping locations really do have it all.
As with hotels, Glamping too varies. So whether you are an outdoor enthusiast in search of a bolt hole for the weekend to get back to nature or a person unwilling to sacrifice a power shower or a bathtub, there will ultimately be something for everyone.
With no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag needed or boil-in-the-bag dinners required, the guarantee is you will be staying somewhere in style.
So what are the options?
Whereas camping normally consists of a tent or a caravan being self-erected by the owner, the world of Glamping comprises of so much more.
People may be aware of ‘luxury’ tents, which are pre-erected on a campsite of your choice and usually come with bedding and kitchen facilities, but what else is out there?
The Bell Tent
For those that actually enjoy the concept of camping but hate the idea of turning up late and having to pitch a tent in darkness, or worse still – the rain, this is a great alternative.
Bell tents have been around since the start of the 19th Century and resemble something similar to what you might see featuring on the film Zulu as they were popular with army troops spending a great deal of time in the great outdoors.
Today however, rather than wielding a weapon all you will require is your suitcase and maybe a bottle of wine or two to enjoy whilst relaxing.
Under the bell-shaped canvas you will find comfortable beds, rugs covering the ground and, on occasion, a wooden burning stove. Add to this all of the tools required to cook a substantial meal and a fire pit out front to roast the marshmallows on, and you will realise that this is an ideal upgrade for those that enjoy the camping lifestyle.
For those campers that are after a change this is ideal. What you do need to bear in mind is that bathrooms are often absent from the tent itself, due to the limited size, so you may find yourself needing a torch if nature calls in the night because showers are bathrooms are still of the communal kind.
This option is a great choice for campers in need of an upgrade without taking away from the ‘getting-back-to-basics’ nature of camping.
The Safari Tent
Inspired by the African Safari experience this form of Glamping seems a popular choice for many. Yes, you are still living under canvas but that is where the resemblance to a traditional tent ends. Termed as tented lodges these really are superior in style. Four-posted beds are a common feature along with wine coolers, fridges, a fully functional kitchen, a decked veranda and your own bathroom facilities.
If you have an adventurous side with a desire to enjoy the great outdoors in comfort this is a winning choice.
Often found in remote locations, if you are after complete isolation, desiring peace and quiet, this may be an ideal stay for you.
Yurts have been home to nomads from Central Asia for over 3000 years and are becoming increasingly popular across the world. Probably best associated with the areas around Mongolia and Siberia many Yurts take on a similar design.
Yurts are identified by their circular shape and are often constructed using a traditional wooden frame with canvas stretched across. These are designed for both summer and winter living and therefore, many can be utilised throughout the year. Maybe this is worth considering if you are after a unique setting when the snow is on the ground.
Dressed with comfortable beds, top quality linens, and wood burning stoves, yurts have a warm, welcoming feel about them. To maximise on the space inside, bathrooms are often found just a short stroll away, sometimes attached to the yurt via a decked walking area. Others, aimed at attracting the outdoorsy type, offer a choice of outdoor showers with others featuring outdoor bathtubs to relax in whilst enjoying the surrounding scenery; also ideal if you like the idea of star-gazing whilst surrounded by bubbles.
The Gypsy Caravan
Staying in a Romany style caravan with all the traditional touches full restored to their original beauty is something many people now have on their bucket list. Insides are cosy and romantic, with space generally just big enough for two, this is a perfect weekend getaway for lovebirds. Equipped with bed linen, traditional stoves and plenty of outdoor space to enjoy a summer’s evening these are designed with warm weather in mind.
The Shepherd’s Hut
Varying in size, although similar in style to a gypsy caravan, these are more accommodating for families with some featuring ensuite facilities whilst others have separate bathroom amenities close by.
Often found in open spaces surrounded by meadows or rolling hills, these are ideal for a relaxing break where you just want to break away from the hustle and bustle of life, wander around the countryside or read a book surrounded by nature.
Often referred to as a silver bullet, these 1930’s vintage style caravans are a luxurious addition to many campsites. Fully self-sufficient with a place for everything. These sometimes small but perfectly formed mobile homes come complete with ready-made beds, a comfortable seating area, fully equipped kitchen and a shower room to rival any hotel room. Add to this the benefit of having an outdoors seating area and a big, bold, silver BBQ to match its surroundings and you have everything you could possible want for a comfortable stay.
The Retro Caravan
Are you a lover of all things vintage? Enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere of going back in time to experience a stay in a beautifully restored 1950’s style caravan. These are a designer’s haven and personality is definitely uniquely stamped on each one. From flowers and teacups to bunting and soft furnishings if you have ever wondered what it would be like to step into a time machine and experience something of bygone years this is a way to achieve it.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a Tarzan, swinging on vines and climbing around branches? Treehouses vary in size and style but all have one thing in common, they are all perched high up with vantage points to enjoy the wonderful views. From the basic, where you will find comfortable beds and minimal cooking equipment to the luxurious where you will be able to relax in four poster beds, enjoy a bubble bath in a roll-top tub and walk around with the comfort of underfloor heating there is something for everyone.
If you are after a stay with the wow factor this is a unique, boutique-style option to try. Varying in style, you can stay in a traditional ice igloo in snow-swept countries, a bubble in the middle of the French countryside or a glassed igloo alternative where you will be able to star-gaze from the comfort of your own bed.
With more options appearing daily this is just a small sample of what is on offer highlighting that this a growing industry, and regardless of where you go and what you stay in you are guaranteed a memorable experience.
Why else should you consider a Glamping stay?
Comfort and sustainability are at the heart of most Glamping sites so staying even just one night, in any of these quirky accommodation types will also see you supporting the environment. For many, staying in an eco-friendly establishment is key and if you like the idea of supporting eco-tourism Glamping is the way to do it – you will come across energy saving options and sustainable materials. From solar powered lighting, to compose toilets everything is a considered. Many sites also worry about pollution becoming a hindrance to your overall experience and therefore both air and light pollution are considerations that most Glamping site owners think about when planning where to host their accommodation.
Many also have educational programmes running, which are ideal for both the little ones and the bigger children amongst us. From learning new bush craft skills to foraging for your dinner, many sites offer an ability to get back to basics and enjoy nature.
Do not despair though, if your idea of a break away involves turning up with a suitcase and then just relaxing perhaps with a good book or a little ramble around the local area this is on offer as well. If you enjoy the finer things in life then luxury food hampers, champagne and chocolates can also be arranged along with home-cooked meals freshly prepared to suit your tastes.
So if you are not really a camper but like the idea of enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful scenery perhaps Glamping is for you.
Having you been Glamping? We would love to hear about your experiences.