Image: Love2Stay Glamping Resort - Shropshire
If there is one form of camping which lends itself to the winter, it is glamping. Before the glamping trend swept the UK, we might have associated outdoor orientated holidays during the coldest season with a constant battle to keep warm; uncontrollable thoughts of home; and the persistent question of “why are we doing this?”
That’s all changed thanks to glamping, which makes a winter break in the countryside a cosy, rather than cold, experience. Over the past decade glamping sites have really stepped their game up, and the race is on to offer the newest quirky twist on comfortable living in rural settings.
If you want that enticing combination of adventure and modern conveniences, glamping really is the only way to go, and there is no better time to bring out your wild side than in the winter. In this guide to luxury camping in winter, we run you through some essential tips and considerations, look at the typical accommodation forms on offer, paint five profiles of winter glampers, and take a trip outside the UK to some exotic winter locations.
Winter glamping in the UK: The ‘need to knows’
Take heed of the heating arrangements
While many glamping and cabin lodges throughout the UK are fully heated and insulated, that doesn’t go for all of them. If heating is a priority - and if you are a glamper, we are betting it will be - ensure you know what’s on offer before you book. No mention of heating provision could suggest there is none.
Check your bedding
What’s your idea of glamping? If it’s just a step up from normal camping arrangements, you won’t have trouble finding a more basic glamping site which negates the need for a sleeping bag, and will offer you sleeping quarters which hold an air bed, or similar. On the other hand, there is a range of more luxurious options to choose from – think king size beds and muscle memory mattresses. So before you go all out for winter glamping, ensure you know what you are getting.
What’s in the wardrobe?
A well-prepared glamping trip means you must know exactly what is on offer inside your accommodation, whether it’s a cabin, yurt or lodge. Don’t assume towels are provided – turn up without any and you could find yourself on a journey through the wilderness in search of a shop to buy some! Don’t be afraid to ask your glamping site to provide a list of what each accommodation unit holds; from kitchen utensils to a spade to clear snow with. You can then create your ‘to bring list’ accordingly.
All hail the wood burning stove!
There is possibly nothing more comforting in the depths of winter than a wood burning stove. And while you may not have one at home, plenty of top glamping sites do feature a fully functioning wood-fuelled stove as part of their accommodation units. While you take your leave from the everyday grind, cosy up next to the fire with an absorbing book in hand, or sip your way through a good bottle of red with a loved one.
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Types of glamping accommodation
So what kind of accommodation can you expect on a winter glamping trip? There is certainly no set rule when it comes to the form of accommodation glamping can offer, but there are types of structures which have come to the fore over the past decade. Here we look at a few of them:
Tents have come a long way over the years. A yurt essentially a large circular tent, with a few striking differences to those used for standard camping. Firstly, they can be designed with very thick material to retain warmth, and some are also heated via a log burner – a big box ticked in the winter. Beds usually have pride of place in the centre of a yurt, which are often found at glamping sites situated off the beaten track.
Airstream Luxury caravan
The US style airstream caravans have become a retro looking choice for glamping sites, allowing them to provide guests with a ready-made bedroom, kitchen and bathroom full of mod-cons. They can be placed on a wide variety of terrains in a range of locations, and make for a quirky glamping option.
Offering sound heating and an intimate, cosy environment, wooden pots or huts are the favoured glamping accommodation unit in many sites up and down the UK. Set ups vary from single, to double beds and bunks, but the essential ingredients here are warmth, usually a bathroom, and enough space for at least basic facilities such as a microwave and kettle.
Lodges take glamping to the next level of luxury, offering comforts such as luxury bathrooms, state of the art entertainment systems, designer fittings and furniture, and ample space for both relaxing and socialising. Winter glamping can be a home away from home, and lodges - such as those found at the Love2Stay luxury glamping resort - mean that while you might be in the middle of the wilderness, you will be cocooned in comfort away from the harsh conditions.
Five candidates for winter glamping
Who are winter glampers? You might be one yourself… here we look at five likely candidates to thrive off a winter glamping trip.
The disconnector has a pressurised job in a fast-paced environment. Their day is filled with the ping of emails and ring of telephones. Winter glamping allows them the time and space to relax, embrace nature, and leave their laptop at home while sampling a little luxury.
The peace craving parents
While they are the centre of our universe, kids can make a racket which can grind you down day after day. The peace craving parents savour the opportunity to leave their children with family for a long weekend away, when they can rejoice in the blissful silence of the countryside.
The roving retirees
With age, we come to appreciate a good night’s sleep even more. That’s why a conventional camping trip, especially in winter, can be unattractive. The roving retirees take advantage of all the mod cons offered by glamping sites, giving them the chance to take a rural break without ‘slumming it’.
The curious couple
More couples are now making the decision to take ‘mini breaks’ throughout the year, rather than put all their eggs in one basket with a summer time blowout. That means an added interest in ‘staycation’ options within the UK, in rural locations, throughout the year. A couple who might have turned their noses up at traditional camping in colder climes now have the perfect reason to explore the country. Say hello to winter glamping!
The fun-loving family
It isn’t just busy professionals who need saving from their smartphone. Children and people of all ages now spend a lot of time looking at a screen, be it their favourite TV programmes or email inbox. Winter glamping provides the fun-loving family with the chance to ‘go green’, embracing outdoor activities from hiking to sightseeing and a good old snowball fight.
Global glamping getaways
The term ‘glamping’ is said to originate in the UK, but it is now a truly global phenomenon. Winter glamping presents the opportunity to discover rural settings around the world, and here we take a look at some overseas options:
The Swiss Alps
Glamping has well and truly arrived in one of Europe’s most beautiful mountainous regions. A broad selection of glamping options in the region puts you on the slopes where a feast of activities, from hiking to skiing and snowboarding, awaits each day. One of these sites, Whitepod, has 18 separate pods of various descriptions, is group friendly, and includes a restaurant on the premises.
The central US state of Colorado is fast becoming a winter glamping hotspot. Huge stretches of woodland, lakes and mountains make it one of the country’s most in-demand regions for rural escapes, and the glamping options are multiplying, in the form of secluded cottages, yurts and huts. The larger structures available are perfect for groups who wish to stay under the same roof.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Another landscape characterised by breathtaking mountain vistas, a winter vacation in the middle of Chile’s conservation used to be an inhospitable experience, until glamping came along. A host of options include Ecocamp, the first geodesic ‘dome hotel’ in the world, which puts you in amongst the dramatic peaks, with the advantage of international cuisine and fine wines of your choosing.
So there you have it, that’s our guide to winter glamping. It is has been suggested by experts that glamping has contributed greatly to the growth of the outdoor hospitality industry, which was noted by the Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism for its “stellar performance during the recent global financial slowdown”.
Thanks to glamping, it seems like we are entering a new era for the rural winter holiday – a much warmer and more comfortable one!
To brighten up the dark days of the year with a winter glamping experience, reserve your lodge now at www.love2stay.com