Glamping for beginners: 10 things you need to know about glamorous camping
Glamping is camping with a makeover – a fantastic way to get away from it all and enjoy the pleasures of the great outdoors without compromising on comfort.
It’s aimed at families, couples and groups of friends who want to get close to nature without missing out on the luxuries of home.
With comfortable beds, cosy duvets and wood burning stoves, glamping – glamorous camping – gives you the chance to experience a night under the stars at any time of the year.
Glamping accommodation comes in all shapes and sizes, from yurts and tipis to converted railway carriages and double decker buses.
What you go for will depend on your taste and your budget. Here are some of the different types of accommodation to consider for your 2021 glamping holiday.
For thousands of years, these portable dwellings were the main type of home for nomads in Central Asian countries like Mongolia. Traditionally they are made from a circular wooden frame covered with felt, with an outer canvas layer. The large living area usually includes indoor heating and they usually come furnished with comfortable beds. Larger yurts can accommodate sofas and tables for even more luxurious living.
Similar in style to yurts, the tipi (or tepee) is a conical tent used by nomadic Native American tribes. They are traditionally made out of animal skins and wooden poles, with adjustable smoke flaps that let you make campfires inside. Warm in winter and cool in summer, tipis are spacious enough to house proper beds and are often made more cosy with throws and rugs.
3 CAMPING PODS
Probably the most common type of glamping accommodation, and often the best value, pods are curved wooden structures with carpeted floors, double-glazing and wool insulation. They are often hooked up to the mains, having electric heating and can usually sleep two adults and two children. Most have an outside terrace for cooking and eating. Pods range from basic models with no furniture or fittings, to more luxurious styles, with fitted beds, seating and even televisions.
4 SHEPHERD’S HUTS
These huts, originally designed to provide the shepherd with practical and durable accommodation, were a kitchen, dining room, bedroom and living room all rolled into one. Designs varied but most had a stove and a window on each side so the shepherd could see his flock. The cast iron wheels allowed the hut to be moved from field to field. These days they provide luxury holiday accommodation, usually for couples.
Not to be confused with the tipi, these are also Native American structures, but are domed in shape and are usually made out of wood. Depending on the size, they can sleep up to eight people.
6 GYPSY CARAVANS
Like a modern-day caravan, gypsy wagons allowed travellers to take their home on the road. These days they are usually found on campsites, where fully restored and modernised caravans are increasingly popular choices of glamping accommodation. Most sleep two adults but larger models will have space for children too.
7 SAFARI TENTS
These are huge canvas structures that are divided into different rooms and spaces, providing living room, dining room and kitchen areas, as well as outdoor living space. Bedrooms are big enough for double beds, bedside cabinets, wardrobes and more. And with heating provided by wood burners, wooden floors, electric lighting and even Wi-Fi they certainly fall into the top-of-the-range glamping category.
8 BELL TENTS
Traditional canvas tents that come in a variety of sizes providing accommodation from two to eight people. You can either buy your own tent (there’s a variety of manufacturers sell them and they are dead easy to pitch) and take it to the campsite of your choice or alternatively take advantage of the growing number of sites offering pre-erected bell tents. Like the more expensive yurts and tipis, these can be fitted out with comfy beds and soft furnishings and make for a luxury break. Look out for them in glamping “villages” at festivals too.
9 AIRSREAM/VINTAGE CARAVANS
The Airstream trailer is an American icon and instantly identifiable by its unique shape and aluminium shell. They cost a fortune to buy but there are numerous campsites in the UK that now offer them as luxury camping accommodation. For a more homegrown version, look out for sites where you can hire a retro caravan from the 50s or 60s, complete with era-appropriate fixtures and fittings.
With a little bit of creative thinking, almost anything can be turned into a place for luxury camping, from a garden shed to a double-decker bus or a restored railway carriage. The list of options is endless but includes converted boats, treehouses, eco-pods, geodomes and hobbit huts. There are sites all over the UK and further afield where the owners have lovingly converted an old structure or build something new from scratch to create luxury accommodation.