Glamping is, of course, a ‘camping’ experience for wet blankets like myself who don’t enjoy the boring effort involved in pitching a tent, trekking for supplies, wriggling in and out of sleeping bags or any of that malarkey.
You still get the sleeping under canvas experience, but with the luxury of beds already made up with sheets, plump pillows, duvets and pretty lambswool throws. And when it starts piffing it down at 1am you can be fairly confident you won’t feel the drip drip of the elements on your head, safe in the knowledge that someone better than yourself (and Mr Muddy) has put the tent up.
This was my exact experience at Holiday Glamping, a small but perfectly-formed glamping site, on the Surrey-Sussex border this weekend. If you’re planning a night under canvas, I couldn’t recommend this place more highly. Roz, the owner, has thought of everything, and then a little more.
Holiday Glamping is a small site set in a field on the Springbok Estate about a mile outside Alfold and about halfway between Guildford in Surrey and Horsham in West Sussex. There are just four bell tents on the site, which leaves plenty of space for frisbee throwing / ball kicking / badminton and any other outdoor activity guaranteed to wear the kidlets out.
The 5-metre bell tents are spacious, sleeping our family of four comfortably. And there’s no need to adopt the hunched shuffle when you walk inside as there’s plenty of head-hight too. Even the 6ft 5 Mr Muddy didn’t have to stoop.
We arrived around 5pm, having stopped in Shere for a mooch about and lunch on the way (stay tuned for my review of The Dabbling Duck). Roz provides a welcome pack with home-baked treats from her own kitchen (her background is catering). For our visit there was a jar of flapjacks and two cookies each iced with the mini mudlets names. They loved them! Ros also provides a big bag of marshmallows – perfect for toasting on the fire.
There’s also a cool box with bread, milk, eggs and exceedingly good bacon (it comes from the local butchers). Each tent has its own picnic table, firepit and camp chairs. And there’s an open-air kitchen with a double gas-burner stove, a gas barbecue, and cupboards stocked with crockery, utensils and kitchen essentials. You can also choose to order home-cooked meals which Roz will deliver. There’s a selection on the website. We decided to make use of the barbecue, so on our way we picked up a ready-made salad and some fish.
Bunting abounds on the glampsite, and particularly inside the tents. This is romantic vintage styling at its best: fresh flowers spilling from a large vase, upcycled chests and suitcases, overturned apple crates painted in pretty colours and lanterns galore. When the sun finally sinks, fairy lights come to life.
Miss Ten declared that she quite possibly might like to live here. Mr Almost-A-Teenager was also pretty enchanted with the place – even the absence of electricity on the site didn’t put him off.
You’ll be sleeping on blow-up matresses, kitted out with lovely cotton sheets, thick duvets and plump pillows. There are lovely woollen throws for extra warmth and snuggling.
But don’t forget this is England and no matter what time of year it is, it can still get pretty chilly at night. I’d suggest you to bring some pretty warm PJs, and then add an extra fleece and some woolly socks. I feel the cold, but I’d come prepared and I was pretty toasty.
Definitely. Roz’s welcome cookies sealed that deal within five minutes of arriving. But aside from the cookies, there’s plenty for the kids to do. Ours went off for a quick explore into the neighbouring fields while and Mr Muddy and I enjoyed an early evening tipple.
There’s a box of toys and games, resulting in the reacquaintance of our Mudlets to the humble frisbee as well as totem tennis and a badminton net. And of course, there’s that firepit
If you’ve got younger children, you may not be overly keen on lighting the tealight candles, so it might be worth bringing a couple of extra torches, although a torch is provided.
OUT AND ABOUT
After our outdoor cooked breakfast, we took off on a gorgeous walk around the Springbok Estate. Roz has some laminated walking routes which take you around the area.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Families, groups of friends, couples. This would be a great spot for a group of four families to come: you could book up all four tents and have the whole site to yourselves.
Not for: Romantics looking for total seclusion and privacy may want to look elsewhere.
The damage: The tents are £120 a night for two people, plus £20 for each additional person. There is a minimum stay of two nights.