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The Beginner’s Guide to Glamping

Posted 17th April 2018

It’s easy to be seduced by the romance of camping; the opportunity to get out and immerse yourself in nature, sleep under a sky full of stars and live off your wits in the wilds. Unfortunately, there’s also reality to contend with: rain soaking through the canvas; having to cohabit with unusual bugs;  the 4am crisis of whether you can face getting up and trudging across a field to go to the loo; that peculiar midnight noise that is so clearly a pack of ravenous wolves on the prowl – and have you ever tried putting up a tent in a thunderstorm?

There are of course, people out there who enjoy this sort of thing; who appreciate the ‘adventure’ and the ‘challenge’ of camping. But there are also those among us for whom conventional camping is as appealing as bedding down in a soggy ditch. It is for these people that glamping was invented.

What is glamping?

To put it succinctly: it’s camping, but nice. Typically involving accommodation a good deal more luxurious that a tent, glamping is ideal for those who want to experience the pleasures of the great outdoors without sacrificing the comforts of the great indoors – such as electricity, heating and being able to stand up properly. You still get all the fun of toasting marshmallows on an open fire, the mind-expanding inspiration of gazing at the stars, and the meditative delights of fresh air and serene countryside isolation; but you also get a flushing toilet and somewhere to charge the iPhone. And, best of all, you don’t have to build your own accommodation – and no one, not even the most ardent outdoors lover, really enjoys the process of putting up a tent.

Glamping might involve yurts, bell tents, luxe wooden chalets or tricked-out bothies, or – as you’ll find at Farncombe Estates hotel, The Fish – Treehouses, Hilly Huts and Hideaway Huts.

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Will I like it?

Unless you hate nature, almost definitely. (And if you do hate nature, you’re probably on the wrong website right now.) Glamping’s great for families: you get far more space than a normal tent, so you’re not sleeping on top of each other, and kids will relish the opportunity to go wild in the country for a few days. It’s also ideal for couples, offering the luxury of a hotel stay with the added excitement of being immersed in nature – and the romance of perfect privacy.

And, if you’ve never been ‘proper’ camping before, glamping is the ideal way to ease yourself in at the shallow end and see whether the whole outdoor-adventure thing is for you before committing to canvas.

Do I have to bring anything special?

That’s the other advantage of glamping – there’s no need to lug around a tonne of extra kit. You don’t have to stuff the roof box full of tents, spare pegs, blow-up mattresses, sleeping bags, camping stoves, folding chairs, emergency chargers, or any of the other endless list of gear that most camping trips entail; you can just pack as you would for a hotel stay, maybe throwing in a pair of decent walking boots so you can make the most of the countryside’s rambling potential and go off exploring.

Can I glamp on Farncombe Estate?

We’re glad you asked. Ensconced in the scenic woodland around the Fish Hotel, you’ll find a host of glamping options, each offering an intoxicating blend of back-to-nature tranquillity and five-star facilities.

Set on the forested hillside, our Hilly Huts for two take the form of the traditional shepherd’s hut, with a bundle of extra indulgences to take them into the 21st century – including ensuite walk-in showers, underfloor heating, TV and DVD players, Nespresso machines, wood-burning stoves, and an outdoor deck with a private hot tub. You don’t get that at the Caravan Club…

Offering even more space, the Fish’s Hideaway Huts (available from July 2018) join two shepherd’s huts to create a spacious glamping suite with all the luxuries of a Hilly Hut, plus a wood-stove-heated outdoor bath big enough for two.

For families or those who are simply young-at-heart, our three Treehouses (available from 1st May 2018) take glamping to new heights – literally. Wrapped around a stout oak tree, each one contains two bedrooms (a double and a twin), an ensuite with bath and shower, a spacious living area and a large wooden deck among the branches.

All of these are just a short walk from the Fish’s main lodge and the gourmet glories of Hook restaurant, but, with their serene setting among the trees, you could be in the middle of nowhere.

So, if you’re looking for a Cotswold break with a difference, maybe it’s time to give glamping a go…

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