Some things are just meant to be together: Morecambe and Wise…Torvill and Dean…Ant and Dec. One without the other is good, really good, but something is missing and you need the other half for it to be truly awesome. And I’ve got a new pairing to throw into the mix: glamping and hot tubs. Hot tub glamping. Yes, it does exist, right here in the UK, and as special treats go (and we all need one of those after the year we’ve had) it is one of the best. Now, hold judgement please about what I’m going to say next. I am a mother, I love my family and I love family holidays (as long as there are plenty of activities booked and I’ve got a stiff gin in my hand by 7pm). But for me, this one has got to be adults only. The pure selfish joy of quality time and doing nothing; out in nature, walking through the woodland and floating in a wooden hot tub of bubbling, steaming water, overlooking a beach or across rolling fields…..without someone following you in and asking for the toilet. I mean, Jane Torvill didn’t skate the Bolero with a toddler clinging to her leotard did she? Nope. This one’s for grown ups. Where are these heaven sent places I hear you shriek! Can Hot Tub Glamping really be true? Fear not, I’ve found some of the best in the UK and I am willing to share (another sentence you wouldn’t hear if you took the nippers). Lie back, put your feet in a portable foot spa, read on and just imagine…...
The Yurt Hideaway, in rural Carmarthanshire, nestled in a beautiful Welsh valley is a real find. Literally. It's in the middle of nowhere. The owners here believe in complete privacy, so if you want an exclusive and extremely romantic hideaway in the woods for you and your loved one - plus dog if you wish - and not another soul, this is the place to come (take note: potential proposal site). There is only one beautifully furnished yurt, and it comes kitted out with a wood-burner to keep you toasty, leather tub chairs and a handmade kingsized bed. Outdoors you will find a woodland hot tub, pizza oven, fire pit and pretty seating area. The bathroom is like no other: a luxurious shepherds hut, with a double walk-in shower and oak barrel toilet. It's romanic, it's private, it's like being completely lost in the woods. And I can guarantee - you won't want to be found.
In Scotland, a bothy in is a small hut, often used - according to my googling - as a mountain refuge. Well, this is certainly a refuge. Romantic and rustic, the Sheep Shed is a bolthole/love shack for couples to get away from it all; the emphasis here is to relax, recharge and rejuvenate. Set in a little copse of trees, the Sheep Shed is very pretty inside, full of colourful furnishings and a kingsized bed on the mezzanine level, with a star gazing window and incredible views across the fields and countryside through the glass wall at the gable end of the bothy. Out on the deck, fire up the beautiful hot tub after a day walking along the Moray coast, sit back and relax.....
This treehouse pod is the stuff of fairytales, set in its own secret garden at the edge of Kent's beautiful Blean Woodlands. Once inside your private grounds, you can explore the wonderfully crafted Faraway Tree, safe in the knowledge that no one, not even Moonface, Silky or Enid Blyton herself will come bustling in. It is very romantic. There is no TV and no wi-fi, so a complete digital detox is on the menu here, as well as whatever else you can rustle up on the outdoor BBQ. If it rains, head indoors, cook on the small range and cosy down by the wood-burner, or gaze up at the stars through the large glass domed roof above the double bed. Outdoors, there is a luxurious wooden hut bathroom with twin shower and next to this in pride of place, a beautiful wood fired hot tub.
There are a few options for glamping at Woodland Escapes, but my favourite here is the rather stunning Tree Dome. This geo-dome, nestled into the woodland (a lake of bluebells in the spring), holds an elevated position and offers incredible views across the Shropshire countryside, from both the dome itself and the hot tub; it is a tranquil and wonderfully peaceful escape. Inside, there is a modern four poster bed, a sofa, sumptuous bedding and luxury furnishings. You are completely immersed in acres of nature here, but with all the comfort and amenities of boutique accommodation. This truly is what (my version of) glamping is all about. Watch out for birds, badgers, foxes and squirrels while you swig Prosecco in the hot tub; whip up dinner on the hand crafted wood-fired oven, before star gazing in open mouthed awe.
Ludlow - the "loveliest town in England" according to John Betjeman - is only six miles, away, so if you do feel the bizarre urge to drag yourself away from this idyllic rural retreat, there is great exploring to be done around and about.
"Welcome to your hand-crafted, wooden wagon on wheels, featuring glass walls, star gazing lounge and stained glass window, plus separate wigwam with sunken hot tub". Now this, is a check-in welcome that would make even the most hardened glamper (is that a thing?) weak at the knees. This is a Special Place with a capital SP. The ultimate retreat for those with stressful lives who need time out, or for those who are already horizontal and wish to stay that way. From the minute you enter here, you will be brilliantly looked after; the wagon is superb. No detail is left out, from the record player and collection of vinyls inside, to the underwater lighting in the hot tub outside, this place is magic. Strictly made for two.....
As a side note: if the Wagon is booked, there is also a vintage caravan here (the Bluebird Penthouse), beautifully done, with its own private hot tub sunk into an old Land Rover. Yes you did hear right. Get booking.
A converted 1955 airstream caravan is your bed for the night here at the stunning Glen Dye Estate in Scotland. Set deep in the forest, glamping doesn't come more back to nature than this; sleep in the beautifully restored airstream, swim in the nearby stream and then spring into the wood fired outdoor steel tub to warm up. Head over to the old (but now fully modernised) seed store to hang out, and cook your meals on the Big Green Egg BBQ. The estate is an adventurers paradise with miles of hiking, climbing, trout fishing or kayaking for those who want to traverse the rapids of the River Dye.
Surrounded by farmland in Dorsets rolling countryside, sits Rosie's Hut; a pretty, beautifully decked out shepherds hut, surrounded by a natural garden of wildflowers and uninterrupted countryside views. The hut is well stocked with everything you could possibly need; a good kitchen, wood-burner, comfy bed and ensuite shower room, but as we all know, all the best bits of glamping happen outdoors. Here the place really comes alive with a wood fired hot tub complete with twinkling fairy lights and a fire pit - perfect for an al fresco evening outdoors, watching the sun go down and listening to crickets in the cornflowers. Bliss.
Oh I just love the Yorkshire Dales! My grandfather was from here (and lived until 105 I'll have you know, so there's something in the water) and he used to enthusiastically rove the moors as a lad, sleep under thin canvas in the rain and walk miles with only a slice of parkin to keep him going. Well good for him, but I'm not planning on doing anything like that. However, these gorgeous yurts in Wensleydale with panoramic views out over Dales are just my cup of tea. All the luxurious yurts here are beautifully appointed with everything you could or would ever need and more; private bathroom, dining table, BBQ and outdoor hot tub. So, after a good moors roving, fire up the hot tub, relax and watch the sun go down. The farm is home to llamas, sheep, goats, cows and pigs and they warmly welcome children here (in fact you can join the farmer on his feeding rounds), so if you do want to make it a family affair, this is a great choice.
Ok ok, I am well aware I have totally stretched all boundaries of the glamping/hot tub theme here, but I am so excited to have found this place that if I don't tell someone about it ASAP I'm going to burst. If and when I make a bucket list, The Woodman's Treehouse is going to be right up there with the sea villas of Bora Bora.
Up high, in an old oak tree, Swiss Family Robinson have arrived. On steroids. Something has been built here, so beautiful and well crafted it defies belief. Swinging bridges connect you to the main treehouse which has - among other things - a copper double ended bath, a revolving wood-burner, leather armchairs and a large bespoke bed you could loose your Nan in. Outside it gets even better: yes of course a hot tub, but this tree platform also features a BBQ, pizza oven, snazzy open air shower, hammocks and, because it can, a stainless steel slide to get you back to the ground. But don't go down it, stay up in the canopy of trees and gaze in awe across across the enchanted Dorset woodland. This one is a real treat....
Picture credit: Mallinson.co.uk
Due to Covid-19, please check with the glamping sites individually, as these are strange times and opening seasons may change regularly.
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