Glamping Canvas Frills Tent. NHYM 2017. All photos courtesy of NHYM
When I told my friends I was going ‘glamping’ they looked at me suspiciously: ‘You? Glamping? Really?’ It is true that glamping is not on the top of my travel bucket list (uhm, Bhutan, Buenos Aires and Burma are currently my frontrunners) but it was something I was prepared to do ‘for the children.’
Lately, all of my friends have been going glamping. Apparently it is ‘the’ thing to do if you are middle/upper middle class in England. (And Soho Farmhouse does NOT count). So, when two friends asked if I wanted to go glamping, I was curious enough to give it a try (I’ll try anything once). They booked the New Barn Farm in Bedfordshire which is a running farm with a camp site on it and is part of Feather Down, a collection of glamping holidays.
Inside Canvas Frills Tent. NHYM 2017.
For those who do not know what ‘glamping’ is, it is ‘glamourous camping,’ which means you actually have a bed. How hard could it be? Well, it all started before we left and I was given a list of what to bring: blankets, milk, water, food, tea, coffee, fruit, matches, hot water bottles and the list goes on – you pretty much have to pack your whole house for one weekend. And then I forgot socks.
The Bathroom. NHYM 2017.
The good news is that our Canvas Frills Tent had a bathroom – some of the tents didn’t have bathrooms. You actually had to go to an outhouse. Now that was one step too far for me. Apparently the farmer told my friends that I looked very ‘nervous’ when I arrived and he kept asking if I was OK every time he saw me. Ha.
Chicken coop. NHYM 2017
Before you arrive, you can ‘reserve’ some chickens next to your tent and guinea pigs, which of course the girls were thrilled with.
Eggs from the chicken coop. NHYM 2017.
We were able to collect eggs from the chicken coop which was rather satisfying – cooking my freshly collected eggs made me feel very ‘one with nature.’ (Well actually, my friend cooked them).
Rabbits petting farm. NHYM 2017.
This is a working farm with lambs, pigs, swans, goats, roosters, horses, bunnies and guinea pigs, so for animal loving children, this is heaven. (You should try pig feeding, it’s quite an experience). There is a small petting farm that children can go in and pet the bunnies and guinea pigs to their heart’s delight.
Baby Guinea Pig. NHYM 2017.
Rooster New Barn Farm. NHYM 2017.
One of the pet Guinea Pigs. Which we lost. NHYM 2017
One of the great past-times at New Barn Farm is guinea-pig-chasing….Basically, you can ‘rent’ a guinea pig for the weekend who stays in a cage outside your tent, but when you take them out for a pet and you don’t hold them tight enough, they are prone to run away. Our group lost two guinea pigs in two days and had to go chasing guinea pigs in bushes and under our tent. Not a good record.
Fire and boiling water. NHYM 2017.
The other great past time whilst glamping is building fires. I had been forewarned that it can get very cold at night (we were there early May) and there is no heat in the tent apart from the fire, so be prepared (or rather husbands and dads be prepared) to keep a continuous fire going. You will need to buy 1) wood 2) coal 3) kindling 4) matches and bring a man with big biceps to keep the fire going all night long…. It was freezing in the night, despite multiple blankets, so I barely slept (and neither did my youngest who told me she was dreaming of tropical beaches).
Cupboard bed. NHYM 2017
The cupboard bed was a fun novelty for my eldest and was the warmest part of the tent at night – protected and closest to the fire.
Breakfast NHYM 2017.
One of the highlights was having our meals together in one of our friend’s tent: 3 families, 6 children and 6 adults all cozying up in one tent. You can pre-order your meals which will be waiting for you at the farm ‘shop,’ including breakfast and BBQ essentials. Although it isn’t quite room service, it is a lot of fun. Saturday night is pizza night, where the hosts will make pizza in their outdoor pizza oven for you, which is great fun.
Feeding baby lambs. NHYM 2017.
The other big highlight for our children was feeding baby orphan lambs with milk bottles. We went there specifically in Spring for this, and although it was cold, the girls loved it.
The New Barn Farm. NHYM 2017.
For a true farm experience for the children, New Barn Farm was great. Despite the freezing cold, the kids really enjoyed it and if it had been warm it would have been perfect. As long as you bring a few hot water bottles (or a man with biceps to keep the fire going) and go with some friends who will host you in their tent so you don’t have to do the cleaning up, you will survive. Like I did.
New Barn Farm:
Other glamping options: