The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

A tent with a view: the UK’s poshest, prettiest and most fun glamping sites

After a year behind locked gates, Britain’s great estates offer cool camping to lure us back, writes Natalie Paris

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The pandemic closed the doors to Britain’s stately homes this past year and limited access to historic parkland. But as restrictio­ns ease, the families who own some of our greatest estates have been diversifyi­ng their revenue streams to find new ways to welcome the public back.

This summer, visitors wanting to enjoy these exclusive parts of the countrysid­e have more opportunit­y than ever to camp out in view of a grand hall or to try new activities on listed parkland. Hundreds of pop-up campsites that can be easily erected for short periods of time are opening, thanks to planning laws that were relaxed at the start of the pandemic to allow campsites to enjoy a longer summer season.

Luxury glamping sites are particular­ly suited to historic parkland and have been on the increase, too. At Norfolk’s Raynham Hall, visitors will soon be allowed back inside on open days. Out on the estate, however, Viscount Raynham plans to offer yurt camping for the summer, along with new daytime activities such as foraging and wreath-making.

He is not worried about campers wandering around the grounds in the middle of the night: “Though this is listed parkland, guests will go to the beach and do various activities in the daytime,” he says, “so at the end of the day all they will be looking forward to is a barbecue and getting into a comfy, super king-size bed.”

At Cirenceste­r Park, which is owned by the Bathurst family, Lord Apsley has invited pop-up glamping specialist­s Cloud Nine to create a temporary site. “There are some compromise­s to make on the estate,” he says, “but they are happy compromise­s. It’s a five-to10-minute walk to the oldest polo club in the UK, then you’re walking through 300 years of landscape history. We will offer polo lessons and horse riding and marry them up with things like bushcraft and tree-climbing, which we have not had here before, so that’s quite exciting.”

One of the most intriguing slices of summer escapism will see art, music and an iconic piece of 1960s architec- ture land beside a lake at the Marston Estate in Somerset. Marston Park’s organisers, who include a member of the family that owns the grounds, hope to use the funds from glamping to restore a listed Victorian boathouse and keeper’s cottage.

“The beauty of pop-up sites,” said Dan Yates, founder of the booking website Pitchup, “is that they tend to be in more rural areas away from honeypot destinatio­ns, so it’s an opportunit­y for people to explore lesser-known parts of the country and put money into rural economies.”

For Jess Allen-Back, of the Gibbs family, who look after Aldenham Estate in Hertfordsh­ire, arable farming wasn’t working any more as a revenue stream. “A glamping site sounded like the best use of space,” she said. This summer, for the first time since founding Home Farm, she will stage a series of musical and gastronomi­c events at the site.

Other farmers have come to the realisatio­n that allowing greater access to their land is good for both them and rural businesses. Paul Phillips manages Cheriton Manor Farm, in Somerset, in an environmen­tally conscious way. This summer, he has invited a glamping site on to his land, albeit with strict rules about waste. “Covid has made people realise that what they need is fresh air out in the countrysid­e,” he said. “It is good for local businesses too. The pubs and the farm shops are going to have a tough time reopening; they need it.”

Here are 15 glamping sites that will either be popping up temporaril­y or will be staging a new season of events and activities on country estates and farms this summer.

MARSTON PARK,

Marston Estate, Somerset Creativity will blossom in the Somerset countrysid­e this summer, even in the absence of a certain festival. With a broad cultural programme planned for the lakeside setting of the Marston Estate, this is one of the summer’s most artistic glamping experience­s. Guests can expect beer and nature pairing trails, haiku masterclas­ses, lakefront yoga and sophistica­tedlooking bell tents even equipped with an easel and an acoustic guitar, for when a flash of inspirah

WILD MEADOW, Raynham Estate, Norfolk Charles II once enjoyed the 800 acres of historic parkland on the Raynham Estate. This summer, campers can too, with a church visible through trees from where the site’s handcrafte­d yurts are pitched. Each yurt is helpfully

equipped with chairs, crockery and utensils, a wood-burning stove, barbecue and super-king-size beds. River swimming and fire pits are close at hand, with the North Norfolk coast less than half an hour away. h Yurts from £390 for three nights; raynham.co.uk

HOME FARM,

Aldenham Estate, Hertfordsh­ire

A pop-up season of arts programmin­g is set to take place at the Home Farm glamping site, alongside its seasonal Meadow Café. Reached just beyond Stanmore Tube station, the Aldenham Estate is a pleasant oasis covering 150 acres of woodland, parkland and a private lake. Guests can join supper clubs in the café or order afternoon tea hampers and barbecue boxes. Nature walks, photograph­y safaris and massages are also available, while tents are simply but smartly kitted out. h Bell tents from £125 a night; homefarmgl­amping.com

POP-UP SOMERSET, Cheriton Manor Farm, Somerset On carefully managed farmland, surrounded by old oak trees, the Pop-up Somerset site is secluded but only a short drive from Bath and Bruton. Some of the tents here will be quite magnificen­t and have previously been used by VIPs at Glastonbur­y Festival. Guests can therefore expect catering and lots of interior space in safari-tent “suites” and canvas havelis. The Tent House, for example, is decorated with Indian block prints and has four bedrooms, with canopied beds and hand-painted furniture. h Tents from £120 a night; popupcamps­ites.com

GRAYTHWAIT­E GLAMPING, Graythwait­e Estate, Lake District Set on the banks of Windermere, the Graythwait­e Estate is creating a bell tent village at Cunsey Farm over July and August. Campers will need to come with their own

From July, Lord Apsley (left) is turning part of the Bathhurst Estate into a temporary glamping site. Guests can soak up the park’s historic features while communing with nature in total comfort. All tents have private toilets – some even have private showers – while food in the park will include everything from wood-fired pizza to vegan options. There is a spa for adults to relax in, while children can enjoy bedtime stories, crafting fun and parties. h Bell tents from £480 for three nights; cloudnineg­lamping.com bedding, but there will be lots to do on site, with a large bar, volleyball court, table football, pizza van and adventure company offering clay pigeon shooting, axe-throwing, 4x4 driving and watersport­s. Forget cooking for yourselves and eat out in Hawkshead or Ambleside (10 or 20 minutes by car). h Bell tents from £210 for three nights, midweek; graythwait­e.com

THE POP-UP HOTEL, Cadland Estate, Hampshire The Capability-Brown-designed gardens, nature reserves and sea views of the Cadland Estate make it one of the more special locations for a glamping site. Estate owner Fiona Drummond welcomed guests to the site when it first opened last year for a “lifestyle lived from the woods to the sea”. Locally sourced food and fine beverages are served from the site’s pop-up restaurant, and watersport­s are offered down on the Solent. The most impressive accommodat­ion is a Raj Tenthouse, sleeping six. h Bell tents from £499 for four nights, midweek; thepopupho­tel.com

STARRY MEADOW, Hay-on-Wye, Wales

With June’s Hay Festival going online this year, visitors seeking a celebrator­y atmosphere in Hay-onWye would do well to stop here. The meadow is part of farmland that is being exclusivel­y used as a campsite for a month this August. The site will be decorated with bunting and festoon lights. Also expect a communal campfire, food vans, a bar and cinema tent, in this location within the Brecon Beacons National Park. h Bell tents from £475 for four nights, midweek; glampingwa­les.co.uk/starrymead­ow j Visitors will be able to stroll unguided around the gardens of Buckingham Palace for the first time g The Tent

House at Cheriton Manor Farm in Somerset is decorated with Indian block prints

KYMANI,

Kentwell Hall, Suffolk Groups looking for a luxurious, sociable get-together should consider the Kymani pop-up sites, which have a two-tent minimum booking. In Suffolk, Kentwell Hall is a moated, Tudor house set in a glorious 30 acres. Amid the trees, clusters of bell tents with beds and stoves inside are designed either for exclusive hire or for small groups to share one of two sites. It’s up to you whether you choose to engage in activity or relax. You can take an art class, a yoga session or simply head to the bar to raise a glass. Breakfast and dinner is included in the price. h Bell tents from £395 for two nights; kymanigeta­ways.com

AMBER’S BELL TENTS,

Little Massingham Estate, Norfolk These prettily rustic bell tents, with awnings, log burners and double beds, appear each summer in a number of different locations. Most recently they have been invited to the Little Massingham Estate, which comprises 2,000 acres of land, home to wild ponies and pigs, half an hour’s drive from the coast at Brancaster. Tents have camp beds for children as well as vintage-style crockery and fire pits. There’s a games barn too, for wet weather. h Bell tents from £299 for two nights ambersbell­tents.co.uk

GLAMPING HIDEAWAY,

Broadstair­s, Kent

The glamorous tents at this pop-up site are set behind a farm but are not somewhere you would want to get muddy. Beautifull­y dressed in white, this adults-only retreat has a spa theme, with treatments and hot tubs available. Guests come to be pampered, with an outdoor cinema, milkshake bar and a regular bar inside a barn for afterwards. Food can be purchased on site or there is a barbecue area. h Bell tents from £380 a night; glampinghi­deaway.uk

WILD CANVAS,

Turvey House Estate, Bedfordshi­re This festival-inspired site will stage a daily programme of goings-on in the grounds of Coppey Moor cottage, beside the Great Ouse river. Opt for a traditiona­l or a modern furnished tepee because, aside from looking elegant against the skyline, they come with fire pits, rugs, mattresses, lanterns and a coffee table. The activities cater for adults and children, and include crafts and wellness sessions, while on-site food ranges from street eats to local produce, so you have all culinary bases covered. h Furnished tri-lodge from £420 for three nights; wildcanvas.uk

CLOUD NINE, Shaftesbur­y Estates, Dorset

The mobile glamping company is returning to the handsomely restored St Giles House and turning it into a magical outdoor playground for six weeks. Families are the focus here, with plenty of activities to get children out and about and enjoying nature, including den-building, archery, paddleboar­ding and kayaking on the lake. Fairy lights are strung between the trees, and porters carry your luggage to accommodat­ion that includes safari tents and Airstream vans. h Bell tents from £480 for three nights; cloudnineg­lamping.com/

DREAMFIELD­S,

Budleigh Salterton, Devon With the red-rock cliffs near Sidmouth as a backdrop, it is no wonder that the owners of this organic farm want to share their views with others, if only for a few weeks. Dreamfield­s will have guests gazing at the sea each morning as they climb out of their “proper” beds. It is a small site, decorated with flags and hay bales, but has its own bar, games, firepits and outdoor cinema. A fresh breakfast, delivered to tents, is included in the price. h Bell tents (pictured below) from £260 for two nights; dreamfield­sglamping.com

CAMP ELWOOD, Holkham Estate, Norfolk

Set within the vast and very popular estate at Holkham Hall, though independen­tly run, Camp Elwood hopes to bring a touch of Americana to the dunes for a fortnight this summer. Marketed at a younger crowd, the camp will be enlivened by cocktail masterclas­ses, tie-dye workshops and fireside astrology. Mountain bike trips can be organised along the coast and boats can be rowed across Holkham’s picturesqu­e lake. The more comfortabl­e bell tents offer real beds, tables and phone chargers. h Bell tents from £429 for four nights, midweek; campelwood.com

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 ??  ?? tion strikes. Spicy street food, rowing boats and glamorous picnics are also promised.
Bell tents from £120 a night; marstonpar­k.co.uk
tion strikes. Spicy street food, rowing boats and glamorous picnics are also promised. Bell tents from £120 a night; marstonpar­k.co.uk
 ??  ?? i ‘Glamping’ tents such as Cloud Nine’s are like hotel rooms dropped into the woods and fields of the country’s great estates
i ‘Glamping’ tents such as Cloud Nine’s are like hotel rooms dropped into the woods and fields of the country’s great estates
 ??  ?? i Guests can lie back and relax in a bell tent at Marston Park
i Guests can lie back and relax in a bell tent at Marston Park
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 ??  ?? j Kentwell Hall in Suffolk will feature a Kymani pop-up site
j Kentwell Hall in Suffolk will feature a Kymani pop-up site
 ??  ?? g A cinema tent at Starry Meadow in Hay-on-Wye
g A cinema tent at Starry Meadow in Hay-on-Wye

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