Camping in Britain these days doesn't have to involve the hassle of setting up camp and making do. When time is short, luxury campsites mean you can simply spend a night under canvas with all the hard work done for you. WTG introduces the ‘nano glamp'.
Have you noticed the number of travel industry buzzwords being thrown about at the moment? Flashpacking (backpacking with laptops, mobile phones and luxury hotels), staycations (holidaying at home), set jetting (travelling to destinations made famous by films – Mumbai’s slums are the most recent beneficiaries, thanks to Slumdog Millionaire), voluntourism (holidays spent helping others), glamping (glamorous camping), me-estas (extended ‘me time’), nano breaks (one-night only holidays), mancations (man-only getaways, as coined by Vince Vaughan in The Breakup), and babymoons (post-honeymoon, pre-firstborn holidays for newlyweds) are just a few.
We thought it’s about time WTG stepped into the fray and started bandying around its own travel term, so let us introduce the ‘nano glamp’. The term is a heady combination of glamping, staycations, and nano breaks. Plus, you need to stay close to home to make the most of your precious time, so let’s throw in eco-tourism too. It’s going to be huge…
The nano glamp is a mini camping holiday with all the thrills of sleeping under canvas and none of the fuss. It gives you a booster injection of fresh air and a break from routine in a two-day, one-night holiday at any time of the year. And, in these Credit-Crunch times, it’s easy on your pocket too.
Picture the scene of your average camping holiday. You arrive on site and unpack. It starts to rain so everything gets wet as you attempt to pitch the tent and get tangled in the guy ropes. You’ve forgotten your tent poles. You exhaust yourself pumping up air mattresses. You’ve arrived late and the local shop selling charcoal and disposable BBQs is closed. Everyone’s hungry and grumpy. The kids start to cry. You start to cry. In short, it’s miserable.
Not so with the nano glamp. You arrive and are shown to your pre-erected tent, tipi, yurt, etc. You simply move in, like you would with a hotel, but without the room key to lose. It’s healthy fast food; it’s instant, comfortable camping.
We tested out the theory at Norfolk’s award-winning, eco-friendly Deepdale Tipis, home to a number of tipis as well as a hostel, campsite and a working farm. Each tipi comfortably sleeps six people and on-site facilities include showers, toilets, washing-up area, cafe, shop and tourist information. Faux-fur mattresses, a wood-burning stove, logs, indoor and outdoor seating and a BBQ are all provided so once the car is unloaded all that’s left to do is enjoy yourself.
The Deepdale site is located on the outskirts of Burnham Deepdale on the north Norfolk coast, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty only two-and-a-half-hours’ drive from London. (Note: Close proximity to home is essential for a successful nano glamp.) It’s a popular tourism spot so there’s plenty to do.
Head to nearby Holkham Beach, which featured in the final scenes of Shakespeare in Love, for a long walk. The vast expanse of sand and sky will knock the city pollution from your lungs and the dunes provide ample shelter for a picnic lunch. Once you’ve got yourself fully in holiday mode (note: this doesn’t take long when you know you’ve only got a couple of days for your nano glamp), choose between hiring a bike for a half day (Deepdale Farm plans to introduce bike hire early this year), checking out one of Norfolk’s ubiquitous windmills (Bircham Windmill is the closest; it also does bike hire), or, a little further away, the Queen’s Norfolk home, Sandringham, which dates from 1870. (Note: Try to fit in at least three different activities over the two days to make sure you feel you’re really making the most of your nano glamp.)
In the evening, depending on the weather and how organised you are, head back to Deepdale and either cook your own meal around the tipi or eat in one of Burnham Deepdale’s pubs: The Jolly Sailors and The White Horse. The White Horse has the better location but we opted for The Jolly Sailors because Deepdale visitors receive a 10%-off-meals voucher when they check in. It’s a pleasant, short walk along the coast to get there, taking in marshland, small harbours and piles of lobster pots. Remember your torch for the return journey along the road though, as there are few street lamps.
(Note: On a nano glamp you have to make time for relaxing too; a holiday’s not a holiday unless you get time to simply hang out.) Make the most of the time you get in the tipi by having a leisurely breakfast and stroll around camp. It won’t take long to pack up and head off for your last activity before going home.
We walked to Blakeney Point to see the seals. It was a long walk along a shingle beach and, devastatingly, there were no seals to be seen but we comforted ourselves with a restorative cream tea in Wells-next-the-Sea. To guarantee a seal encounter go to Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary which cares for sick, injured and distressed marine animals. There’s a seal hospital, otters and penguins.
Deepdale’s tipis cost £72 to £114 per night, depending on the time of year and week, and sleep up to six people comfortably.
Try Go Glamping to find a luxury campsite near you. Not all campsites allow visitors to stay for only one night, so check before you book. Deepdale allowed us to stay for one night as we visited during their off-peak season in February (two nights is their usual minimum stay), so it’s always worth asking.