Get the kids away from their tablets and into an experience-filled taste of the British countryside. A glamping trip at one of these sites mixes restaurants with climbing walls, stargazing and freshly baked pizzas.
1. Heydon Grove Farm, Heydon, Norfolk
Feather Down Farms are known for their safari-style tents equipped with running water, bunk beds and cosy kitchens complete with wood-burning stoves. This site in north Norfolk is particularly well suited to children, offering a small playground as well as tractor rides. Little ones will also love collecting eggs from the chicken coop each morning and watching lambs gambol in the adjacent paddock. Within striking distance of the county’s expansive coastline, it’s a half-hour drive to the bucket-and-spade delights of Wells-next-the-Sea, while grown-ups will appreciate the charming Earle Arms pub, reached by an easy amble past arable countryside and woodland.
Details Three nights’ self-catering for six from £450 (featherdown.co.uk)
The shepherd’s hut at Bert’s Kitchen Garden
2. Bert’s Kitchen Garden, Trefor, Gwynedd
On the wildly beautiful Llyn peninsula, this is one for foodie families. Sitting amid the site’s kitchen garden is its light and airy restaurant, serving freshly made pastries in the morning, sunset cocktails infused with homegrown herbs and seasonally inspired evening dinners. Accommodation includes a couple of smart vintage tents, but new for this year is a two-bedroom shepherd’s hut, which sits apart in its own private paddock, with a courtyard garden and camp cooking facilities. At Bert’s, simple pleasures abound — from rope swings over streams to treehouses, plus yoga classes in the meadow and a track that leads to a tiny shingle beach.
Details Two nights’ self-catering for five from £170 (bertskg.com)
Hesleyside Huts, Bellingham
3. Hesleyside Huts, Bellingham, Northumberland
Home to the UK’s largest dark-sky park, Northumberland is made for stargazing — and each of the beautifully designed shepherd’s huts and cabins here comes equipped with its own telescope. Getting you even closer to the Milky Way is the luxury Skylark treehouse, where an outdoor tub will give you a stars’n’suds bathtime. Nearby, the fancy French-style caravan Bramble has a separate bunk room with a climbing wall. Each hut is set within its own private patch of the Hesleyside Estate, a country house hotel surrounded by 4,000 glorious acres that include woodland perfect for den-building, plus riverside walking routes. Hadrian’s Wall is a half-hour drive away.
Details Two nights’ self-catering for four from £270 (hesleysidehuts.co.uk)
One of the camping domes at Loveland Farm
4. Loveland Farm, Bideford, Devon
Ideal for water babies, the six geodesic domes at this eco-retreat all have access to a heated indoor swimming pool — while it’s a 30-minute drive to beach days and surfing lessons at Bude. Perfectly pitched to maximise views along the coast to Hartland Point, pods are spacious and stylish. Each is equipped with a bathroom and kitchen, while the most palatial have film projectors for family film nights. Children will enjoy meeting the farm’s menagerie of pigs, chickens and ducks, as well as gathering with other guests around the pizza oven.
Details Two nights’ self-catering for four from £314 (canopyandstars.co.uk)
A camping pod at Low Wray Campsite
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5. Low Wray Campsite, Ambleside, Cumbria
This site on the shores of Windermere is the place for a Swallows and Amazons-style adventure. A variety of camping pods and safari-style structures with wooden decking are spread across waterside and woodland pitches, while suspended in the canopy are innovative spherical “tree tents” that look like alien spacecraft. Reached via a sturdy ladder, they’re surprisingly cosy, with a wood-burning stove and roof windows to facilitate leaf-peeping as the wind rocks you to sleep. Each morning families head to the activity centre to hire kayaks, canoes or paddleboards for larking about on the lake, or bikes to cycle around its perimeter.
Details Two nights’ self-catering for five from £130 (nationaltrust.org.uk)
Inside the yurt at the Stargazers’ Retreat
6. Stargazers’ Retreat, Ventnor, Isle of Wight
In delightful seclusion on a hillside overlooking the sea, this yuppified yurt provides not one but two outdoor bathtubs. Don’t let the kids steal your thunder — book a spa treatment and claim some well-deserved parental R&R. Inside, a king-sized bed takes centre stage, while the children’s bedroom is tucked away on a mezzanine floor, with a clear domed roof providing a starry backdrop to story time. Close to the local village — and pub — at Niton, it’s also an easy stroll down to Castlehaven beach or St Catherine’s lighthouse, while the nearby town of Ventnor is ideal for a lunch of fish and chips.
Details Two nights’ self-catering for five from £480 (uniquehideaways.com)
Get cosy in a log cabin imported from Finnish Lapland
7. Big Sky Lodges, Muir of Ord, Highland
Combining Nordic design with a Scottish backdrop, this working croft 20 minutes’ drive northwest of Inverness imported its six log cabins from Finnish Lapland. Impeccable inside and out, each has beds laid with recycled tartan blankets and little libraries of books for all ages — plus outdoor firepits that make daily marshmallow-toasting pretty much mandatory. A herd of friendly Highland cattle graze in nearby fields, while roe deer and red squirrels can be spotted in surrounding birch woodland. Options for outings include a walk to the village along a disused railway line and a trip to the North Sea coast for a chance to see dolphins.
Details Three nights’ self-catering for six from £504 (bigskylodges.co.uk)
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published 2023-05-08 07:20:01