What is glamping, and how and where can you do it?

Glamping is increasing in popularity for short breaks or family holidays. At BCH Camping we often help customers who have opted for a glamping holiday because they don’t think the traditional camping experience is for them. So, what is glamping and where are the best places to experience it?
What is “glamping”?
There are many people who like – or pretend they like – the idea of their holiday accommodation being so close to nature and the elements, or who need an economical alternative to B&Bs, but still can’t give up some of the luxuries enjoyed at home. For these people, glamping is the answer.
Glamping is a portmanteau (or a merge of two words for the not-so-posh among us!) of “glamorous” and “camping”. Due to its increased popularity, the word “glamping” entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2016, (along with “budgie smugglers” which we will leave there!).
DIY glamping
Happy glampers who bring their own tents to a campsite will have additions to their pitch such as an electric hook-up, furniture that wouldn’t be out of place in a well-known Swedish furniture store, an all-singing-and-dancing-and-cooking barbecue, lighting, high-end picnic tables and impressive crockery. This is the territory of camping equipment envy, whereby co-glampers eye up each other’s equipment while hardened “tent, sleeping bags, stove and deckchair” campers roll their eyes and scoff at the needy.
For the novice glamper using a standard campsite, BCH Camping can provide a wide range of kit to put the glam into camping. We supply camp beds, furniture, ovens, barbecues, kitchen equipment and accessories, hook-up electrical spares and lighting, along with the usual equipment needed for a camping holiday.
Glamping sites – what to expect
The increase in glampers did not go unnoticed by the campsite fraternity and soon enough glamping sites were popping up all over the country. These sites provide tents, yurts, tipis, pods, bell tents, cabins, safari tents or huts fully equipped with furniture, home luxuries and equipment. Some even have en-suite bathrooms!
Many glamping sites have an eco-friendly theme, encouraging its occupants to embrace energy-saving modifications to their holiday, while at the same time revelling in the luxurious facilities that glamping has to offer.
As glamping has evolved the focus of site developers has increasingly focused on providing unusual or unique glamping accommodation. This can involve converting retro or vintage vehicles into quirky places to stay or developing state of the art dwellings and putting them in unique locations that are designed to attract the adventurous glamper.
Whatever the motivation may be to glamp, there are many reputable sites where glampers can simply arrive with their belongings and revel in the lap of luxury straight away, therefore avoiding the erect-a-tent-in-the-rain game followed by the “who packed the toilet roll?” quiz.
Where are the recommended glamping sites?
Here is a selection of some recommended glamping sites:
Blackberry Wood, East Sussex
Offering “quirky, glamping accommodation including a holiday double decker bus, a romantic gypsy caravan, a real helicopter, a curvy cabin and luxury tree houses”, this site is located at the foot of the South Downs National Park, 10 miles from Brighton, post code BN6 8RS. Part of the site is allocated to customers bringing their own tents.
All pitches are situated in private woodland glades, and dry logs and barbecue coals are available from the onsite shop. The area is surrounded by public footpaths and bridleways, giving access to many woodland walks and country pubs that are very close by.
A range of activities and days out can be found in the local area including a vineyard, water sports, golf, museums and a railway.
Dome Garden, Mile End, Gloucestershire
This site located just north of Bristol in the Forest of Dean, post code GL16 7DA, has 11 insulated domes, described as “space age eco lodges”. The domes are geodesic structures – meaning they’re designed with the shortest possible line between two points on a sphere. The domes at the Eden Project, for example, are geodesic.
The garden with its rope swings and tree house is great for kids, while the willow tunnels and site layout create privacy and peace. In the evening glampers are invited to make their own pizzas in the pizza oven. The emphasis is on the great outdoors and nature, with open fires encouraged.
Voted ‘The Best UK Glamping site’ and in the ‘Top 5 Luxury Camping Sites in the UK’ this site is certainly one to check out.
Happy Days Retro Vacations, Suffolk
Five miles from the Suffolk coast, post code IP17 1TG, this is a small site with 7 classic “tin can” caravans, some of which are Airstreams, and two additional pitches. Each trailer has a firepit and there is a small park for the children to play in. The total of 9 pitches makes this a quiet site.
Each trailer has their own name and character. The youngest is Peggy, a Tradewind built in 1973, while the eldest, Dee Dee was built in 1959 and now in retirement after her working life spent in Myrtel Beach, South Carolina. All the trailers have their own unique style and furnishings that offer a truly different kind of vintage accommodation for glampers.
The Suffolk coastline is home to castles, nature reserves and pretty country villages. At nearby Thorpeness you can hire rowing boats or visit the House in the Clouds.
Canolfan Ceridwen Centre, Carmarthenshire
This award-winning ecocentric site offers a variety of glamping accommodation: a converted smithy, yurts, a double decker bus, an eco pod, an upcycled static caravan called “The Hop Shack”, a restored original 1890’s Romany caravan as well as traditional B&B rooms and camping and caravan spaces.
Located in Llandysul in the Teifi Valley of West Wales, post code SA44 5XE, in an area of outstanding natural beauty 15 miles from picturesque beaches, the site runs regular pizza nights from the woodfired pizza wagon and open mic nights. Known for the quality of their vegetarian cooking, the site also has an underfloor heated hall “The Old Dairy” for Yoga and Tai Chi retreats.
This site is not just for glamping holidays. Canolfan Ceridwen Centre is also a purpose-built venue for workshops, retreats, courses and weddings.
Peaks and Pods, Settle, North Yorkshire
Peaks and Pods has an enviable Yorkshire Dales location near the Forest of Bowland and Gisburn Forest, post code BD24 0LS. There is a selection of well-equipped cedar-clad pods available, all with stunning views of the surrounding hills and countryside. The pods have en-suite facilities or a private bathroom next to the pod, and private outdoor space with a fire bowl for cooking or socialising. Some have hot tubs or TV/DVD player.
Being an environmentally friendly site guests are encouraged to leave the car at home and cycle to the site to receive free bedding. To this end, The Hub next to the car park is a secure bike storage building, including two bike repair stands, maintenance tools and puncture repair kits.
The pods have their own fully-equipped kitchenettes with two-ring hobs and a microwave. Alternatively, guests can use the fire bowl as a barbecue grill.
Wherever, or however you decide to glamp, BCH Camping can help you prepare for your break away from the rat race. Speak to our staff for ideas on equipment, clothing and footwear by visiting our stores or giving us a call. Happy glamping!