Glamping Around Europe
Glamping (glamour camping) has made camping fashionable again. Gone are the tatty caravans, weatherworn and rusty, adjoined by a dilapidated concrete block, decorated with cobwebs and a dubious black liquid seeping from the crevices in the walls. The sign ‘Bathrooms’ balances precariously on a rusted nail on the rotting door.
The French were the pioneers in upping the camping game. They began sprucing up their campsites with tepee tents, tree-houses, vintage caravans and eco-lodges, introducing a touch of luxury to camping holidays. Ever the family-focused nation, they built swimming pools with water-slides, restaurants and sparkling new bathroom blocks. It’s thanks to them that families can holiday in the sun for two weeks without breaking the bank.
The glamping craze has spread throughout Europe and now you can holiday in the outdoors without sacrificing all of life’s comforts. Here are just a few to give you a taste of what’s out there.
Former CEO of Cartier, Alain-Dominque Perrin has been buying camp-sites around France and creating luxurious eco-friendly sites suitable for family holidays, however, Camping Les Moulins wins hands down.
- Little island off the west coast of France, southwest of Nantes in the Vendee Region.
- Located on a long stretch of beach and surrounded by plenty of trees.
- Huge range of camping options and accommodation to rent, all made from canvas and wood.
- Hire a tepee or eco-lodge, which is a hut on stilts – inside they have wooden floors, sectioned off bedrooms, dining area and all mod cons – electricity, fridge, gas stove and even a microwave.
- The beach is beautiful for walking, swimming, host of watersports and there’s a pool, spa and play areas for kids.
- Kids camps are arranged throughout the summer.
- Open from April – September.
How to get there: Flights Direct to Nantes from €39 one way with www.ryanair.com
Ferry from Rosslare to Roscoff from €114 car and 2 passengers one way with www.irishferries.com
Tepee Tent (sleeps 4) from €299 per week
Superior eco-lodges with bathroom from €399
Weekend rates from €90 – €150
Feather Down Farms was one of the first glamping companies, opening their first site in 2006, expanding over the years to 26 sites around England and Wales and one was recently added in Northern Ireland – Ash Farm in Derry. This was my first experience of glamping – read about it here.
Weekend breaks from £279
Mid-week breaks from £239
Week from £405
- Teapot Lane is new to the scene, opening in June 2010 and the idea was to provide a fun, rural family holiday retreat.
- Located on five-acres of land there are two thatched cottages, three yurts and a bell tent. Next year they are adding a tree-house.
- One of the cottages can be rented out for big groups.
- Yurts are very eco-friendly, down to the material used to make them and they are insulated with lambs wool. Inside they’re cosy with wooden floors, pot bellied stoves, king size beds and compost toilet and sink.
- You use lanterns and candles for light.
- Two indoor kitchens and BBQ’s & communal space with books and games for kids, which is essential in case it rains and there’s a little playground and hammocks littered around.
- The camp fires at night are a big hit with people gathering about for a few drinks.
- They can arrange guided walks in the area, horse-riding, foraging around the grounds for wild fruits and vegetables and there’s acres simply just to roam about. It’s also only a five-minute drive from Bundoran so you can go surfing or there are a number of beaches around there.
Weekends from €160 per tent
Week long from €550 per tent
Tents can sleep up to 6 people
Ok, so it’s not exactly glamping, as there’s no camping involved and accommodation is in luxury eco-cabins, but I thought I’d throw it in. They started life as a health farm and this is still a major focus, with guests partaking in yoga and meditating classes, getting treatments and chilling out in the fully equipped cabins. It’s also very family friendly with a playground on site and plenty of local walks.
Weekends from €150 pps
Week long from €225 pps
Weekend retreats from €170 pps
A few places I’ve yet to try:
Happy Glamping Folks!