Glamping banner with bed, wash basin and bath

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

Donna Tomlinson photo on Flickr of a bell tent

Image Credit: Donna Tomlinson (Flickr)

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. 

Inside Bell tent image from Flickr

Image Credit: Stef Lewandowski (Flickr)

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

Image by Chris D of a Safari Tent

Image Credit: Chris D (Flickr)

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.

The Safari Tent by Colin. J. McMechan on Flickr

Image Credit: Colin J. McMechan (Flickr)

If you have an adventurous side with a desire to enjoy the great outdoors in comfort this is a winning choice.

Safari tent sofa area pictured by Colin J. McMechan

Image Credit: Colin J. McMechan

Safari Tent provided on Flickr by John Hickey Roy

Image Credit: John Hickey-Roy (Flickr)

The Yurt

Baron Renzik (Flickr) picture of several yurts

Image Credit: Baron Renzik (Flickr)

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. 

Tambako The Jaguar created the image of a yurt in the snow

Image Credit: Tambako The Jaguar (Flickr)

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.

Inside the yurt with bed

Image Credit: Emdot (Flickr)

The Gypsy Caravan

A Bright green traditional gypsy caravan

Image Credit: Angus Kirk (Flickr)

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.

Inside the colourful gypsy caravan

Image Credit: Angus Kirk (Flickr)

The Shepherd’s Hut

Images of a Shepherds Hut in Snowdon

Image Credit: Duncan Stephen (flickr)

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.

Inside a shepherds Hut

Image Credit: Hazel Barclay

The Airstream

Airstream at CaSavio Camping

Image Credit: Paul Gamble

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.

Inside Airstream with modern facilities

Image Credit: Paul Gamble

The Retro Caravan

Retro pink bedroom in a caravan

Image Credit: lululily (flickr)

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.

Retro caravan living area in red and white

Image Credit: Vilseskogen (Flickr)

The Treehouse

Large treehouse in the woods

Image Credit: Chris Rimmer

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.

Treehouse lit up at night

Image Credit: Cathy Haglund

The Igloo

snow igloo in the arctic

Image Credit: arcticroute.com

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.

Glass igloo in Finland

Image Credit: Visit Finland

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.

Champagne and glamping (camping)

Image Credit: Stout Tent

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.

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22 Comments

  • You gotta love glamping – it brings camping to a whole new level!! We usually just camp in a tent but we do have an air mattress and we usually camp in campsites with running water and showers included in the price!!

    • Constance, we are often found on similar campsites to yourself and quite like the idea of sleeping under canvas with just our roll mats and basic cooking equipment for company. Like yourselves, on most occasions, apart from one camping trip to the Sahara Desert, running water and showers are only a stones throw away but we have also come to love a but of luxury now and again and see glamping as the perfect fit for us! 🙂

  • Hello there. What an interesting post! I am not in the slightest bit adventurous and camping would definitely not be on my list of things to do, but glamping on the other hand seems like it could be a lot of fun, even for this high maintenance Goddess! Hmmm…perhaps I’ll consider it when I’m at one with nature! Thanks for sharing. Congratulations too on completing the A-Z Challenge. Stopping by from the Road Trip.

    • You should definitely try glamping – it offers all of the luxury and mod-cons we have come to expect in a hotel but with a twist. There are some truly luxurious places out there just waiting for people to explore them! 😀

  • Sarah Ebner says:

    We haven’t been, but I think it’s gypsy caravan or treehouse for us! I really fancy them both and reckon the children would too…

    • I am sure they would love them, having a unique place to stay and the freedom to run around and enjoy their outdoor environment – that’s why I loved camping as a kid, today you just have a few more options available. I think treehouses would be at the top of my list if I was 10 again! 😀

  • Great post. Even though I am a backpacker, I’ve done my share of glamping. One you missed that I like is old railway cars. I travel in a 22 foot Pleasure Way Van that is quite comfortable and fits into all sorts of beautiful spaces. –Curt

    • I really like the look of the railway cars – we are currently thinking about staying a couple of nights in one when we go to New Zealand – some have been restored extremely well. Perhaps I need to consider another post with other options that I have missed (I am sure there are many more). During my searching in the last couple of days I have also found a replica Hobbit home, A Boot (Just like the nursery rhyme) and an old-style western wagon. So much to choose from! 🙂

  • What a great post! I’ve been wanting to try out glamping for so long and this is such a great round up of options! I love the safari lodge style ones and would love to stay in a yurt! Only heard of a yurt for the first time recently after I went to a wedding that was held in one! Hoping to try out glamping in the not to distant future!

    • We stayed in a Safari Tent earlier this year in France and having luxury for just a few days at the end of our camping trip was brilliant. Four poster bed, wine chiller and really comfy sun loungers were all included – I would recommend it to anyone! There are several glamping sites on the South Coast of the UK that have some really lovely looking yurts and shepherds Huts that we hope to try out next.

  • jennifer says:

    I love the gypsy caravan! It looks so pretty inside. And of course, the Finland igloos are on my bucket list. OH AND yurts! I am dying to stay in one in Mongolia. Who knew I was a wanna be glamper?

    • We have been looking at the Finland Igloos for a couple of years now as I love the idea of being able to look up at the stars from my bed. Gypsy caravans are sprouting up all over now and have become really popular on camping sites so they are so accessible now.

  • Amy says:

    I think all of these look awesome! I wasn’t sold on the idea of glamping until I hiked the Inca Trail and had porters to carry our stuff, set up tents, and cook warm food for each meal. It wasn’t exactly glamping, but it got me thinking that camping a little more luxuriously could be a pretty nice way to experience nature while being just a little more comfortable.

    • I think glamping is gaining in popularity due to the fact that people are beginning to realise that you can experience luxury. Even when camping, there are occasions that we take a few more things with us now so that we are more comfortable. 🙂

  • Ayla says:

    They look amazing especially the igloos and treehouse and the gypsy caravan is so cute! I’ve done a lot of camping and while I don’t particularly like the whole struggling to pitch a tent in the dark and the cricked neck I always get, I wouldn’t ever say no to a bit of camping, but I am leaning more towards the glamping side of things as I get a bit older. Even for those who aren’t fans of camping though, who wouldn’t want to stay in these fantastic places?!

  • I’ve only been clamping where clamping was born… Africa! And they do it right. Amazing tents, meals in the bush and more luxury than you could imagine, amazing:)

  • Tim says:

    Love these options from the yurt to the igloo to the treehouse. Would stay in them all in a heartbeat.

  • Adrienne says:

    Love all of the glamping options – just tweeted.

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