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Glamping guide

Forget leaky tents and mud – learn how to add a little glamour to your camping trip.


The Roundhouse in Penzance (© The Roundhouse)

Sleep under the stars in an Iron Age-style Roundhouse at The Roundhouse in Penzance

Now that the sun finally has his hat on, it's a great time to enjoy the great outdoors by treating yourself to a camping trip. And that doesn't have to mean shivering in a threadbare tent.

Yes, there's a fail-safe way to banish the camping blues - glamping. Whether you want to splash out on a glam luxury campsite or take the DIY glamping route, we tell you where to stay and what to bring to make your camping trip as comfy and stress-free as possible.

Gypsy Caravan Breaks in rural Somerset (© Gypsy Caravan Breaks)

Gypsy Caravan Breaks in Somerset offers a cosy traditional bow-top gypsy caravan made for two

What is glamping?

Glamping aims to offer all the joys of the great outdoors without any of the discomfort. Garri Rayner, editor of luxury camping directory Go Glamping, explains. 'Many glampsites are set in beautiful locations enabling people to experience a closeness to nature, yet offer accommodation on a hotel or B&B basis where all you really to bring is yourself, a toothbrush and a sense of adventure!'.

The experience can involve a comfy tent, or something a little more luxurious - yurts, gypsy caravans, pods and eco-domes all fall under the glamping banner. But don't be fooled by all the luxury - it's still camping. "You're still at the mercy of the elements, insects and weather, but these are offset with an array of creature comforts,' Rayner says. Sounds like the perfect balance to us!

Glamping for families

Every parent knows that children love nothing more than Famous Five-style adventures. But traditional camping holidays full of twilight tent pitching and cramped sleeping arrangements are often a chore for the adults. Glamping, on the other hand, does away with the stresses of camping, so you'll be able to have just as much fun as the kids.

If it's some good old-fashioned outdoor adventures you're after, then Jollydays in North Yorkshire is the spot for you. The luxury tents (featuring beds, hot water, rugs, toilets and gas stoves) sit in 200 acres of private woodland; kids can leave their video games behind and make the most of dens and rope swings.

For a taste of The Good Life, head to Harvest Moon Holidays on Lochhouses farm in Scotland. Their Cock-a-doodle Kids Corner with farm animals and a large play area will keep most children occupied for hours, and if that fails they also offer bike hire and pony trekking.

Feather Down Farm Days has wood-fired hot tubs on offer (© Feather Down Farm Days)

Feather Down Farm Days has wood-fired hot tubs on offer

Best for relaxation

Unlike a traditional camping holiday, which is as much about endurance as fun, glamping is all about indulgence and relaxation. If you really want to up the indulgence factor, you should head for a camp with spa facilities (yes, you just read right!).

Feather Down Farm Days have nearly 30 camping sites in the UK, but if you're after that extra touch of luxury then head to their Upper Shadymoor or Boswarthen Farm camps, both of which have family-friendly wood fired hot tubs.

If a hot tub with a killer view isn't indulgent enough, then Forest Holidays, who have seven cabin sites in the UK, offer in-cabin spa treatments in partnership with My Personal Sanctuary. Bliss.

Best for romance

What could be more romantic than sleeping under the stars? What about sleeping under the stars in an Iron Age-style Roundhouse with an open fire and a handmade four-poster bed? That's just what's on offer at The Roundhouse in Penzance.

Or for something a little more back-to-basics (but equally romantic), what about a stay in a traditional bow top gypsy caravan made for two? Pitched in an old apple orchard in rural Somerset, the caravan accommodates little more than a double bed, so you'll have to head to the nearby old shepherds hut for a warm shower...or you could just stay holed up in the caravan all weekend.

Boutique Camping bell tent (© Boutique Camping)

A bell tent is a great investment for the DIY glamper

Best for budget

With luxury comes cost, and some glamping packages can be as expensive as five-star hotels. If you want a taste of the glamping experience without the price tag, then why not DIY?

Pitching your own comfy tent on the campsite of your choice is the easiest way to transform regular camping into glamping and bring the price of your holiday down. True, it's not the glamping ideal (as part of the luxury is the fact that you don't have to faff around with pitching and dismantling your tent), but if you don't mind putting in the time and effort, then you can make some real savings.

When purchasing a tent, the minimum a glamper would opt for would be a bell tent. Boutique Camping bell tents start at £399 - a bit of an investment, but one that will pay for itself after a DIY glamping trip or two. They are fully waterproof and come in a choice of five different colours, so they look super-stylish inside and out.

Glamping essentials

Unlike camping, where the only accessories are necessities such as pegs and sleeping bags, glamping calls for creature comforts.

With their homely retro feel, Cath Kidston products were made for glamping. This handy two-person picnic hamper is pretty and practical, and contains all the crockery you'll need for an al fresco afternoon tea.

If the weather takes a turn for the worse, keep everyone occupied for hours with this solid wood traditional games compendium, which houses Monopoly, Cluedo, chess, dominos and playing cards.

And make the most of the hot running water and pamper yourself with Cowshed's all natural Pocket Cow Bath & Body travel set.

If you'd like to achieve the perfect healthy balance to help you feel great on your glamping trip, then sign up for a free My Special K personal plan. Each plan offers health, fitness, beauty and fashion advice specially tailored to you, and could help to take the stress out of keeping healthy.

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