Autumn is the season of rust-coloured leaves, crisp winds and the first drops of rain. It may not sound like the ideal time to have a holiday, particularly one that involves the outdoors, but there's nothing like soaking in the last of the Autumn sun to create memories to tide you over the Winter months. If you love the outdoors, but don't want to be caught out by the impending temperature drop, then you should try glamping. You'll be able to enjoy nature without relinquishing the comforts and luxuries of indoor accommodation. With Autumn just around the corner and so many camp-sites now offering this service, it was only a matter of time before glamping took off.
What Is Glamping?
Glamping is a slightly more glamorous form of camping. Gone are the days where we have to scramble around in the rain looking for ways to close up leaks, or have to go running after pegs or the tent roof as the wind angrily disturbs our temporary little home. In fact, you no longer have to pitch or haul anything, and you can still get as close to nature as you would with traditional camping. When you go glamping all you have to worry about is booking the right place and unloading your luggage.
Research Different Places
With glamping, there's a whole range of camping accommodations to choose from. Some are close relatives of the traditional tent, like tipis (teepees) and yurts, some resemble the ever-popular log cabin, like pods and huts, and some take you back to your childhood, like tree houses.
Glamping also offers a few unique, eco-friendly and futuristic dwellings, such as domes. These geodesic structures, designed to leave no permanent carbon footprint and be more conducive to heat retention, can be found at the Ecopod Boutique Retreat. Within these eco-friendly domes you'll find a mini apartment kitted out with everything from an indoor cedar bathroom to a convenient kitchen, complete with a multi-media centre and Japanese cedar hot tub on your private balcony. With panoramic views over Loch Linnhe and the famous Castle Stalker, it's no wonder couples love this majestic haven tucked among the trees. If you want to retain the feel of good old outside tent camping, then selecting a tipi would be your ideal option. On the other hand, if you want a completely different camping experience then maybe a “dome away from home” is the answer.
Figure Out What To Pack
Unlike normal camping, your car won't be overflowing with mattresses, linen and kitchenware. Most of these amenities are provided by the glamping site. You can get king or queen sized beds, tables and chairs, and even plates, cups and cutlery. Really, all you will need to pack is a change of clothes, basic toiletries and some food.
The Park Mawgan Porth in Cornwall gives guests a balance of outdoor camping with the comfort of a hotel room. The self-catering glamp-site has Mongolian structures known as yurts built with wooden lattice frames, insulation and canvas. The decor is inspired by nature, with wooden bed frames, a wooden dining table and chairs and even a wooden clock; great for tent lovers seeking luxury. The only things you’ll need to bring are your travel essentials, like clothes, toiletries and a torch as well as food and refreshments. Then relax and enjoy Egyptian cotton bedding, a flat screen TV, DVDs and Wi-Fi, all these supplied by the park and all protected behind the solid door entrance that locks away your belongings for peace of mind. Of course, not all glamp-sites have the exact same extras on offer, but a quick phone call or email can provide you with more information on what is available.
Food For Thought
Apart from the essential gear, food is often a camper's biggest concern and expense. Many of the same camping rules regarding food apply to glamping as well. The most reliable products to bring on any glamping trip are still non-perishables like canned and dried goods. Not only are they cheaper than purchasing the meal ingredients or ordering the dish in a restaurant, but you probably have a few of these items in your grocery shelf already. Non-bruising fruits and vegetables, granola bars and nuts all make for healthy additions. And if you plan to participate in a few adventures, you’ll want to maintain your energy by stocking up on carbohydrates like rice, pastas, breads, and pre-cooked pastries, served with travel-sized condiments and spreads.
When it comes to perishable food products, however, glamping definitely has the edge. Most glamping accommodations house cooler boxes with ice packs available on site, and communal kitchens with freezers. You’re also likely to have a gas stove, log oven or fire pit inside or right outside your shelter to cook your favourite fireside meals. Glampers can therefore bring meats, dairy products and ziploc bags with home-cooked comforts. And if you forget any of these, the shops on site or a short distance away should supply whatever you need. At Roulotte Retreat you can get a wood-burning stove, retro barbecue and al fresco dining area, which provides the perfect combination of modern comfort and outdoor luxury.
Activities On Offer
When it comes to holiday activities, the choice is yours. You could humour your adventurous streak by sampling the various activities offered in and around your glamp-site or use the time to pamper yourself with some much needed rest and relaxation. The Yurt Camp in South Devon is a great spot to do both. Perfect for family vacations of any kind, the campgrounds are extensive, giving you the option to either share a little yurt village with friends or strangers, or enjoy a private woodland hideaway.
The more active glampers can go swimming and rock climbing in Dartmoor, or enjoy tree rope adventures at Haldon Forest. Glamp-sites are best explored on foot and most offer walks in the surrounding woodlands, meadows and lakes. Some also provide bicycles for hire as well as children’s play areas, so the little ones can enjoy nature just as much as you. There's always loads to do and no two glamp-sites are the same, so you’re bound to find a list of fun things to do and see wherever you book, even during the colder months.
Watch The Weather
Seeing as camping is nothing without nature, this is a vacation usually dependent on good weather conditions, but with glamping you no longer have any restrictions. All glamping structures are insulated for toasty indoor temperatures and some even have heated mattresses. Structures like yurts and domes house heaters or log ovens for added comfort.
The only possible exceptions to glamping’s weather-resistant reputation are tipis. These Native American conical structures - that may not appear very glamorous on first sight - are deceptively spacious, surprisingly tall and capable of withstanding a little wind, rain and snow. But as the people of 4 Winds Lakeland Tipis caution, while tipis are waterproof and have rain catchers attached to their poles, the small sticks through the tipi’s lining provide holes for stray leaks, and rain catchers don’t always provide complete protection. Installing rubber barriers on the poles, a bucket beneath the top of the tipi or a rain cap above can drastically reduce the chance of leakage. Bringing an extra sleeping bag along is a good idea too.
Once you’ve found the right accommodation with all the comforts you desire, you can have as much fun with it as you want. Take the glamorous side to new levels by dressing up, doing your hair and wearing makeup, or lock yourself up and lounge around without a care in the world. Whatever you decide, there’s a glamp-site out there just waiting for you to indulge.
Last Updated: November 2013
Your Essential Travel Experts can't be everywhere all the time, so we often welcome guest travel writers. This article was written by one such visiting travel enthusiast whose experience of different places and advice for travellers makes for an interesting read. Enjoy!