Glamping as been a family holiday buzzword for a while now and with more choice than ever from tipis to treehouses popping up all over the UK there has never been a better time to start your great outdoors adventure. While these quirky and far from ordinary accommodations certainly look the part – we wondered how many of these sites offer an experience that tots – and indeed the whole family would enjoy?
We spoke to Martin Smith from Campsites to list his 10 favourite family friendly clamping sites for us:
Yurtcamp is a collection of 22 yurts hidden away in woodland that is home to birds of prey and deer. The comfortable yurts are fully insulated and have real beds, log burners, solar lanterns and star-gazing panels for admiring the night skies, and outside there are campfire pits for toasting marshmallows. On site is a play area and a full-size woodland assault course for children and adults, and there’s a pancake house for tasty treats.
Camp Katur has Instagrammable accommodation including Hobbit pods, a Rickety Shack and Geodomes, all offering wonderful views of the woodland setting. The site offers a huge range of activities including bushcraft, a giant adventure playground and a treetop adventure course with a climbing wall, rope bridge and sky-high zip wire that flies you back down to the ground.
For a wild night, stay in a Lookout Lodge at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire and drift off with a view of the zoo’s white rhinos. The experience includes a day entry to Whipsnade, which is the UK’s biggest zoo, a sunset tour, two-course dinner and breakfast, and an overnight stay in one of the comfy, well equipped lodges. Children must be at least five years old.
With panoramic views of the beach on Lochhouses Farm, next to the John Muir Country Park, east of Edinburgh, the treehouses at Harvest Moon Holidays are perfect for beach loving families. The ensuite accommodation has two double bedrooms and a separate octagonal living area, so parents can relax when the kids head off to bed. Water sports such as surfing and wake boarding are available nearby.
Coastal Valley is a Newquay camping and glamping site dedicated to arts and crafts. The site holds summer workshops to help families explore untapped talents, with activities including weaving, slate painting, marbling, textiles and even bushcraft. Saturday nights are given over to a communal feast and on Tuesdays a local chef is brought in to cook freshly caught fish in front of guests. Stay in the Barbecue Lodge which sleeps four – the barbecue has pride of place in the cabin centre.
Tattershall Lakes offers a huge range of sports for water loving families, with wakeboarding, waterskiing and jet skis among the activities on offer. For something more serene there are pedalos and fishing, and there’s a spa for ultimate relaxation. The range of accommodation includes bell tents decorated with bunting, candle lanterns and fairy lights, and canvas cottages packed full of make-camping-easy extras.
Off-grid Owl Valley is set in its own valley with no WiFi, phone signal or electricity. The site was once a nature reserve, so pond dipping, bird and butterfly watching are the activities on offer, plus there’s a recreation shack with games and books. Children have their own den building space, with branches provided, but the accommodation parents will be most interest in are the three tents and a cabin, each lit with solar fairy lights and with their own DIY shower.
The classic silver caravans at Happy Day Retro Vacations have names such as Nettie, Dee Dee, Gloria and Annie, adding to the site’s cool kitsch swagger. The vans date from the 1950s, 60s and 70s and still have many of their original features, and all have been lovingly updated to make them cosy and welcoming. There are swings, slides and a trampoline for children, plus an abandoned army truck that fuels adventurous daydreams.
This is an unashamedly luxurious option – more of a tree-palace than a tree-house in the midst of a private woodland. Sunridge includes a downstairs ‘snuggery’ with a 4k cinema room and a private outdoor hot tub. The self-catering retreat has two double bedrooms with one ensuite, bi-fold doors to bring nature into the house, and free WiFi. There’s a private fishing lake to enjoy, and the wilds of Dartmoor national park are just a few miles to the north.
For a luxury cabin or geodome with a loch view, head to Loch Tay Highland Lodges. The park sits on the banks of Loch Tay and is surrounded by mountains, with the scenic village of Killin and picturesque Falls of Dochart nearby. Onsite activities include Canadian canoe hire, rib boat trips and outboard pebble boats to explore the loch and its connecting rivers. Off site, there is canyoning, deer stalking and highland safaris.
With thanks to Martin Smith, founder of Campsites which lists more than 1,300 camping and glamping sites across the UK, with unique accommodation varying from converted helicopters to sky-high treehouses to hobbit homes.
Visit Campsites for more information.