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The great outdoors with a taste of luxury

By Heather Large | Talking Point | Published:

Talking Point columnist Heather Large on making camping glamorous

Glamping has grown in popularity

After too many uncomfortable, sleepless nights lying on a paper-thin mattress in a leaky tent, I had sworn off camping for life a decade ago.

I like the concept of getting back to nature and sleeping under the stars but I don’t mind admitting that I need a proper bed.

So when I had an invitation to go glamping, there were definitely some flashbacks to my previous pretty miserable attempts at camping.

Waking up to find both you and your belongings are wet due to the condensation is not a great way to start the day.

But having heard about this new, more luxurious version of camping, I, surprisingly, didn’t find the idea too horrific and was intrigued enough to check-out the website before ruling it out completely.

Our accommodation for the weekend would be a small cosy wooden lodge with a double bed, it certainly looked more appealing than my old Millets tent!

We would also have a supply of coffee and tea and shelving for our belongings. It promised to be nice and cool in the summer and snug and warm in the winter.

Also, after months of glorious sunshine, I thought we should be guaranteed a dry weekend.

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Cooking marshmallows on an open fire

Well, it seems the weather gods had other plans. About a week before we were due to set off to the countryside, the forecast began to change – yes, rain was on its way. At least we’re not sleeping in a tent, I kept telling myself.

But as it turned out the weather wasn’t as bad as first predicted and when we arrived at the site in South Shropshire on the Friday night we were greeted by glorious sunshine. The lodge – or pod as it was also called – was as comfy as described and very spacious.

There were electric lights and power points and being able to just turn up and start relaxing without the stress of having to put up the tent.

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There was a lovely outdoor area with a log burner so our group of 12 could all sit around the fire chatting and toasting marshmallows. It was also covered so when the heavens opened late on the Saturday, we could still spend the time outdoors.

When it was dry there were fields where we could play games like rounders and bucket ball (or saucepan ball in our case as there weren’t any buckets).

The toilet and shower block was only a short walk from the lodge and, apart from the huge toad that scared me half to death as I walked back from brushing my teeth one night, it wasn’t a problem.

We also had access to a kitchen where we could do washing up and there was a fridge to store our food which was cooked on the barbecue and gas cookers. Although on the first night we did order an Indian takeaway and had it delivered to us - which I’m sure proper campers will probably be appalled by.

Overall, the whole weekend was very relaxing - there was the social side of camping like sitting around the fire but without any of the uncomfortable bits. And there were plenty of little luxuries like being able to plug in my hairdryer to make it more cosy. I would definitely go glamping again.

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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