With the economic climate of the UK in a precarious position and money in serious shortage, this summer’s most innovative holiday option must surely be Glamping.

Short weekend breaks away in lavish yurts, tipis, wagons and cabins are an ideal alternative for those who are bored with the hotel experience, and are clamouring for a taste of the Great Outdoors. Whilst retaining all of the comforts of the home, Glamping provides the opportunity to spend precious time in idyllic countryside settings, without the hassle of condensation and insect infiltration. This summer, Glamping will see a multitude of holiday-goers waving goodbye to the mosquito spray, travel stove and camping mats in favour of double beds, hot tubs, Persian rugs and sheepskins.

This new trend for camping in style has slowly spread across the UK over the last year, providing a welcome respite for the tourist trade from tough economic hardships. Glamping can be made as expensive or as budget friendly as desirable. By far, one of the most opulent sites in England is Harptree Court, Somerset. Depending on the season, a night’s stay at this location could cost from £105 to £175 per night. Muffle those astonished gasps, however, as this price privileges the Glamper to 17 acres of land, tennis courts, a wood-burning stove and a bathtub. On the other hand, if the thought of handing over such a large wad of cash for a night of what is essentially ‘glamorous camping’ seems a little ostentatious, one of the most budget friendly sites in England is Turkey Creek in Oxfordshire. From £65 per night, Glampers are provided with a choice of accommodations in the form of yurts, cabins or bell tents. Clearly not all Glamping necessitates spending lavish amounts, which makes it an affordable but luxurious holiday option.

Eco-tourism is a fast developing industry as travellers have become increasingly conscious of minimising the negative environmental impacts of commercial tourism. As a result, Glamping has rapidly become a popular alternative to jetting off abroad, especially with the introduction of eco-friendly domes. One such example is a site located in the heart of the Forest of Dean, where spacious domes are run purely from natural resources and are fully self-sustaining. Hot water comes from a wood-burning boiler and is stored in recycled whiskey barrels. The domes come complete with furnishing (even carpet!) and can accommodate up to five people. Furthermore, the domes have direct access to 35 square miles of forest leading down to the River Wye, and a whole host of outdoor activities are available such as hiking, canoeing, and Llama trekking, all within the surrounding area.

The perks of upmarket camping are evidently numerous, and appeal to a large number of people who are eager to experience camping without the backpack or sleeping bags. Perhaps one of the attractions of Glamping for urban city dwellers is the promise of an escape from hectic city life to a natural utopia. Ian Peet of Go Camping UK points out that Glamping provides “the appeal of beautiful natural settings with the luxuries of the home.” For the average city-dweller who may rarely stray outside the confines of concrete, it involves the enjoyment of open fields and nature without the monumental task of building fires, urinating in hedges or grappling with rogue tent poles. Moreover, the whole experience is non-exclusive and caters for one and all. Glamping is suited to large families on a budget holiday, couples on a romantic break, groups of friends, or even the individual going it alone in the style of The Beats.*

While Glamping may at first seem a bizarre concept, or could even be deemed by some as a ‘soft’ alternative to ‘proper’ camping, it is a concept that appeals to me. The promise of a tranquil break from the pressures of daily life, log burners with cosy rugs and duvets, stargazing and softly lit lanterns, all call to my romantic sensibilities.

*The Beats refers to American writers and poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Keraouc, who hitchhiked across America whist writing about their bohemian experiences.

Helena Murphy

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