Finally, we can start daydreaming about all the adventures we’ll have this summer. In last week’s lockdown exit strategy announcement, the Prime Minister confirmed it will be possible to stay in self-catered accommodation in England, including Airbnbs and campsites, from April 12. While campsites with shared facilities will be able to open from May 17. So while international travel is still up in the air thanks to quarantine and travel restrictions, holidaying in the UK this summer has never looked so tempting.
Camping, too, is having a bit of a moment. Last year people grabbed their sleeping bags and flocked to remote spaces in droves. It’s a nice idea, but if the thought of actually roughing it this summer makes you want to stockpile loo roll again, here’s an alternative.
Forget about tent poles or trying to get your eight hours on the world’s thinnest ground mat: none of these ace places to go glamping require you to pitch your own, or forgo a real bed. From pre-pitched canvas to yurts and safari tents, it’s all ease and luxury at these spots. Some even come with hot tubs. Stress-free summer hols, here we come.
This dreamy spot south of Bath is just the right mix of outdoorsy and plush. Each of the site’s roomy bell tents have real beds, fresh linen and a wood burner to keep you warm. The loos are of the compost variety, but you’ll also find hot showers, a well-equipped kitchen and – wait for it – an indoor pool. Fancy, right?
The luxe bell tents on this site are set up in what was once the moat for Haveringland Hall. These days, you’ll find spacious Lotus Belle tents with proper beds, fresh linen, wood burners and camping stoves. They are all pitched around an idyllic natural swimming pond.
You can stargaze before you snooze in this off-grid, clear-roofed bell tent, which the owners have furnished with books about astronomy, star charts and even a telescope. Then try out your new-found celestial skills from the open-air bath next door.
Fancy putting on your very own mini, socially distanced festival with all your pals? You can hire out the Fire Pit Camp in its entirety, for up to 20 people. You’ll sleep in plush bell tents, and have access to a fire pit area, a warehouse for wet weather days and a double-decker bus which has been turned into a unique dining space.
Even hardened urbanites will feel right at home in this cosy Somerset yurt. Inside there’s a log burner, a big wooden bed and clever little kitchen. Outside on the deck, you’ll find a wood-fired tub and a barbecue area for grilling bangers in the woodland.
Forget airbeds, you can sleep in an incredible bed hand-crafted from tree trunks in Crafty Camping’s yurts. This one, called Corcale the Yurt, also has a wood burner and a hot ‘tree shower’, PLUS a pizza oven and a peaceful lake to explore.
If bell tents and yurts still feel a little outdoorsy for your liking, take a look at this baby. You’re still technically under canvas in Gravel Pit Farm’s safari-style tents but you get perks like wi-fi, electricity, real toilets, a gas cooker and a four-poster bed. So, pretty much your flat, but in a lush Kent field.
There’s a bunch of glamping options at Campwell at Cherry Wood, and you could book them all up if you had 14 like-minded pals keen to spend a few nights in a forest in the Cotswolds. Our fave is Yurtup, a two-person yurt with a solid double bed, set in the wilderness. Wander through the trees to find the wood-fired sauna, or book on to classes, from yoga to foraging and a campfire cookery how-to.
You can choose between big safari tents and geodomes at this campsite, set between Bodmin Moor and the Cornish coastline. The clear-sided geodomes, like this one, are hidden away with rural views and huge king-sized beds from which to enjoy them.
This pre-pitched tipi is on the banks of Oxford Canal, in the middle of a working family farm. No hard labour for you though. All you need to do is stretch out on your sturdy wooden bed, soak in the wood-fired Swedish hot tub and toast marshmallows over your fire pit.
Peace and quiet is guaranteed in this secluded spot surrounded by old oak trees. You get a true rural experience, but with mirrors, lanterns, heated blankets and Moroccan-inspired interiors rather than sleeping bags and tent pegs.
Thick duvets, hot water bottles and egyptian cotton sheets await in these super-comfy safari tents. But first you’ll want to cook up a feast on your wood-burning stove and tuck in around a candlelit dining table. (Don’t worry – there’s one secret plug socket if you really need to charge your phone.)
These canvas lodges are so luxe we’re not sure you can get away with calling a stay here camping. The four tents look out over a pretty lake, and each comes with a wood-fired hot tub, fire pit, barbecue, king-sized four poster, real bath (in a bathroom with heated floors!) and fully equipped kitchen. Roughing it this is most definitely not.