There’s not much to compare with camping when it comes to the ultimate “back to nature” experience. A week or two away from electricity, the TV and your broadband connection, coupled with the very real need to conserve water and cook your own food on fairly rudimentary facilities outdoors certainly takes the mind off our usual routine in a way few other things do.
That said, however, camping isn’t for everyone – and it’s not just about being a bit of a softie whose idea of “roughing it” is staying in a hotel with rather fewer stars than usual. The truth is that no matter how tempting the idea may seem, it can sometimes turn out to be a surprisingly daunting prospect, especially if you have small children to consider and you’re relying on public transport to get you, your essential luggage and a giant-sized tent to your remote holiday destination.
Fortunately for those of us who fancy spending our get-away under canvas, but would like the whole experience to be a little easier and just a shade more comfortable, there’s glamping – glamorous camping – a spot of unashamed, eco-friendly holiday luxury for all ages.
Yurts, Lodges and Tepees
One of the great things about glamping is the sheer variety of places that you can choose to stay, both in terms of whereabouts in the country – or world, for that matter – and the type of accommodation available. There’s no shortage of sites in some of the most beautiful parts of England and Wales, for instance, and the idea is gradually gaining in popularity in Scotland too, while anyone wanting to venture further afield should be able to find somewhere suitable, wherever they might want to visit.
As for the accommodation itself, there’s plenty to choose from – and it will already be set up, fully prepared and waiting for your arrival, so gone is the need to haul your holiday home and bedding along with you! The traditional Mongolian nomad’s yurt, North American tepees and the sort of bell-tents loved by intrepid Victorian explorers are probably the most common, but if flapping canvas really isn’t your thing, then some sites have more substantial constructions on offer too. Well-appointed wooden cabins, for example, often equipped with a range of eco-friendly home comforts, such as composting toilets, solar electricity and wood burning stoves, provide the perfect holiday home for those who want to connect with nature – but just not too intimately!
Finding the Right One
The facilities obviously vary from site to site, so like any traditional camping holiday, it’s important to do a bit of homework before booking to make absolutely sure that your needs are going to be met and any potential problems avoided. Most glamping sites are in fairly secluded surroundings, for instance, which is great for a peaceful holiday, but very remote locations may not be suitable for everyone, while families with young children might want to avoid those near to rivers or deep lakes.
One big benefit of glamping is that many site owners, especially the smaller independent operations, are doing this because they really believe in it, rather than viewing it simply in terms of a business venture and often it sits alongside other green activities. For the kids themselves, that might mean the chance to help out with tending the animals, collecting the eggs or planting a few trees during their stay, if they’re so inclined.
The rise in popularity that this kind of holiday has been undergoing over the last few years means that glamping has become more of a mainstream activity – and that means that high street travel agents and major tour companies are increasingly involved. While the ‘commercialisation’ of what is a fundamentally green idea may seem a little irritating, it does bring all the advantages of ABTA bonds and ATOL guarantees – and no one wants to lose money or have their holiday ruined. Just find yourself an eco-friendly travel operator and let them help you find that ideal glamping experience; then all you’ve really got to do is turn up and enjoy it.