Most of us love the idea of getting back to nature and unwinding in the great outdoors. But not many of us are so keen on the back-to-basics element that we associate with camping. If roughing it in a flimsy tent isn’t exactly your idea of fun then you may want to consider glamping.
What is glamping?
Glamping is essentially luxury camping with all your home comforts and additional facilities thrown in. It’s a solid structure instead of a tent and a wonderfully comfortable bed instead of a sleeping bag. It’s a fully functioning bathroom instead of a field next door and a kitchen instead of a camping stove. You can relax in nature and unwind from the chaos of modern life, all while pampering yourself with a touch of luxury.
The UK offers a seriously impressive range of glamping options, which you can book through companies like Unique hideaways. From rugged coastlines to expansive rolling countryside, there is something for every type of adventurer. It’s not often you can stargaze from a hot tub, spend evenings toasting marshmallows around a fire, or wake up to an alfresco breakfast accompanied by birdsong. There’s no doubt that glamping should be on your UK bucket list.
The best part about glamping is that it caters for everyone – whether you’re bringing the kids along, enjoying a romantic getaway, a solo adventure, or a dog-friendly break. In this guide to glamping, I explain everything you need to know about glamping in the UK. From the different types of accommodation to the best places to enjoy glamping as part of a UK staycation.
Types of glamping
Glamping isn’t just about fancy tents and yurts. The glamping industry has boomed in the last few years, paving the way for a whole host of accommodation types.
From the outside, a yurt looks almost like a large and circular tent. This is true to an extent, but they are also exceptionally sturdy with wooden flooring and thick cladding. Yurts tend to offer spacious interiors, making them a good option for families.
Due to the padding and waterproofing around the structure, yurts benefit from being very warm and cosy. You’ll often find some real luxury touches inside for an idyllic escape in the countryside.
2. Shepherd’s Huts & Wagons
Inspired by the wagons of old shepherds, these cute little structures have come a long way since the days of the shepherds. Now accompanied by en-suite toilets, luxurious beds, and small kitchens, shepherd’s huts and wagons are perfect for a romantic getaway. They may not be as spacious as a traditional yurt, but they do bring the ultimate cosy factor.
3. Safari Tents
Don’t let the word ‘tent’ put you off; these are the royalty of the tent world. Safari tents bring wide open spaces and are generally the most spacious of all glamping options. They also offer functioning bathrooms, heating, and comfy beds. Safari tents usually sleep up to six, making them ideal for families.
Glamping pods are super cute and often bring an eco-friendly dimension to the glamping experience. With an ingenious use of space, pods are small but luxurious, while being well insulated to keep you warm at all times of the year. Glamping pods provide the perfect way to immerse yourself in nature without letting go of your home comforts.
Cabins come in all shapes, sizes and styles – from small rustic cabins nestled away in the trees to larger contemporary cabins with spectacular sea views. They usually offer another level of space and comfort from the classic glamping pod or yurt. Cabins are available with a range of different features, from hot tubs to hammocks and everything in between.
For a retro glamping experience, look no further than an airstream. An American inspired aluminum travel trailer, an airstream is a quirky type of campervan that brings a vintage touch. Don’t let that put you off though, as many modern airstreams bring a clean and contemporary feel in a retro shell.
Take your glamping experience to the water with a luxury houseboat stay. Escape the everyday with a floating home that brings you right back to nature. Choose a houseboat for an utterly charming glamping stay.
Nothing takes you back to your childhood quite like a treehouse stay. There are some truly epic treehouses across the UK, with luxurious cabins hidden away in the treetops. There’s no better place to stargaze than from the deck of a treehouse. Style and luxury encompassed by nature.
Best places to go glamping in the UK
You can find glamping options pretty much everywhere in the UK. The choice can be quite overwhelming, so here are my picks of the best places to go glamping in the UK:
What better place to start than with the sunniest place in the UK! Cornwall is a haven for adventurers with its beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and range of outdoor activities on offer. There are so many amazing towns in Cornwall to explore, from small fishing villages to thriving cities.
Cornwall is the perfect place to enjoy glamping with a stunning sea view. Sit back and relax while you take in your peaceful surroundings. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try a surfing lesson or other water sports at the nearest beach.
Top pick: Panoramic Silverbullet – a luxury retro airstream with hot tub near Looe.
Located in southwest Wales, Camarthenshire is a haven of natural beauty. It’s easy to see why it is known as the ‘Garden of Wales’. From the beautiful beaches of Carmarthen Bay to the rugged landscape of the western Beacons and Cambrians Mountains, it’s an adventurer’s paradise.
Discover lively market towns and impressive historic castles. Go cycling or hiking through the spectacular landscape, or simply sit back, relax, and take in your surroundings. What better way to experience all that Camarthenshire has to offer than with a glamping experience.
Top pick: Syddyn Cowshed – a rustic cabin retreat near Burry Port.
3. Isle of Wight
A wonderful year round destination, the Isle of Wight is situated just off the south coast of England. Accessible via ferry or hovercraft from a number of coastal towns, it is easily reachable and certainly worth a visit. From castles and country parks to railways and museums, there is plenty to see on this unassuming island.
Explore the Isle of Wight’s rich heritage and history, or immerse yourself in the local arts culture. Soak in the many breathtaking views or try your hand at some extreme sports. The best way to make the most of a place as beautiful as the Isle of Wight is by glamping.
Top pick: Fortune – a luxurious and modern houseboat in Bembridge.
Another haven of natural beauty is Devon. With its postcard-perfect towns and epic National Parks, there is a lot to explore. Whether you are taking the whole family or looking for a romantic getaway, there are so many incredible places to visit in Devon.
Stay in an adorable shepherd’s hut in the heart of Devon’s countryside for the ultimate romantic retreat. Bring the whole family and stay in a spacious yurt amongst wildflower meadows and woodland. Or cosy up in your very own private cabin for a peaceful solo getaway. You’ll be spoilt for choice.
Top pick: Hayley’s Hut – a rural shepherd’s hut with hot tub, fire pit, and fishing lake near Bideford.
Heading back to Wales, I couldn’t not include pretty Pembrokeshire. Located to the east of Carmarthenshire in the southwest of Wales, Pembrokeshire is a truly spectacular corner of the UK. Thanks to its more remote location, it feels remarkably untouched and a real escape from the chaos of modern life.
Its coastline has been rated by National Geographic magazine as the second best in the world! It’s therefore a haven for watersports and dramatic coastal hikes. Stay in an enchanting cabin nestled in fairytale woodland, or take advantage of the breathtaking views with a unique retreat by the sea.
Top pick: Station A – a stylish retreat at a restored WWII research station with sea views near Fishguard.
Another contender from England’s West Country, Dorset is known for its iconic coastline and sprawling green countryside. Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast, visitors can explore imposing cliffs, sandy beaches, and even go fossil-hunting.
From the foodie haven of Lyme Regis to the hustle and bustle of Bournemouth, there is something for everyone in this popular part of the UK. Spend time getting back to nature as part of your glamping experience. Breathe in the fresh coastal air and wake up to the calming sound of waves lapping at the shore. It’ll be a truly unforgettable staycation.
Top pick: The Chalet on the Beach – a seaside chalet in Lyme Regis.
Benefits of glamping
There are so many amazing benefits of glamping. As well as being a wonderful holiday, glamping brings various benefits to your health – both mentally and physically! Here are some of the top benefits of glamping:
- Get back to nature
- Release stress and tension
- Try new experiences
- Get a Vitamin D top-up
- Spend uninterrupted time with loved ones
- Or enjoy some peaceful alone time
- Breathe in the fresh air
- Enjoy alfresco home-cooked food
- A more eco-friendly type of holiday
- Recharge your batteries
Choosing when to go
There’s a bit of a misconception that glamping is a summer experience in the UK. Although lovely sunny weather brings some benefits, other seasons can offer a truly special experience. I can’t think of anything better than snuggling up next to a log fire in a cosy log cabin during the depths of the winter months. Or enjoying a bubbling hot tub while the rain falls down around me.
Glamping at different times of the year offers different experiences, but all are as enjoyable as the next. Remember that this isn’t camping – the beauty of glamping is that you’ll be protected from the rain, wind and cold, wherever you choose to stay.
I hope this guide to glamping has left you suitably inspired for your next UK staycation. Let me know in the comments if you have any glamping trips planned, or get in touch on social media.
This post was written in collaboration with Unique hideaways.