Glamping in Norfolk

Uniquely Away magazine give us some help on how to glamp yourself up...

The fresh air, the sunshine and the sense of being close to nature – there's nothing quite like glamping.

Glamorous camping, or 'glamping', is becoming increasingly popular among those eager to sleep under the stars in Norfolk.

It provides the opportunity to holiday in the great outdoors without having to do battle with the elements and it offers the chance to stay in beautiful and natural environments while also indulging in a few home comforts.

Magical Camping not only hires out its luxury bell tents and tipis but it will erect them for you, kit them out with almost every conceivable comfort and then take them down again at the end of your stay, explains owner Matt Mazurek.

"People like the idea of not having to set everything up themselves," he says. "They arrive and find everything they need for their stay in the county in the same way as they do if they go to a hotel."

A love of camping and several trips away in a bell tent led Zoe and Mark Vanderstay to launch their growing business, SoulPad. Now they make and sell a range of bell tents and tipis, and invite potential customers to visit their showroom at Shadwell, near Thetford.

"The nice thing about glamping is that you can take things from home with you too – your duvet, pillows and other comfortable items – and it is nice to dress your bell tent with a few accessories too, perhaps some lanterns or bunting, to make it look even more attractive and homely," says Zoe.

A glamorous bell tent at West Lexham.

Visit Norfolk offers you seven places where you don’t have to lift a finger…

West Lexham Manor is an ethically focused agri-chic venue – and a properly funky place to sleep under the stars that’s good for friends get-togethers or romantic getaways. Set in a 21 acre manor family estate, you'll find two treehouses, two hand sculptured yurts and six glamping camps, all set in rolling meadowland with frolicking lambs and river. At night the only lights you'll see are your lantern, fire pit, the stars and moon.

Wild Luxury has reached Thornham in the shape of a South African safari tent. Well, it's a bit more glam than a tent – it's actually a spacious lodge on a 40-acre apple orchard complete with flushing toilets, power showers, comfortable beds and a woodburning range cooker with sink. A short walk through the salt marshes takes you to a secluded beach and nature reserve, and then return to sit by the fire pit under our Norfolk big skies.

Immerse yourself in farm life at College Farm in the Waveney Valley, run by Marcus and Lucy Daniels. The farm used to be the agricultural college to Kings College, Cambridge, hence the name. You can sit outside your south-facing tent and watch the sail boats pootling along the southern Broads, behind a field of swaying sunflowers. For the farm experience, feed the cattle and lambs, collect chicken eggs or do some therapeutic horse-grooming.

Deepdale Backpackers and Camping has two shepherds huts - the latest innovation in Glamping. With comfortable beds, wood burning stoves, and a bespoke design, each shepherds hut sleeps up to four people, and has traditional styled iron wheels to give it the distinctive character of the original utilitarian travelling home. Prices range from £50 per night for 2 people out of season to £120 for a family of four at the height of season.

Down on Bagthorpe Farm near Burnham Market you can stay in The Oyster Catcher, a white biodome in the middle of rolling countryside. You can lounge on the deck, fire up the barbeque, or simply relax. There's a bedroom pod as well as a bath, loo and kitchen. The Farm also has a fabulous treehouse in which you can stay too.

Whitlingham Broad Campsite is the newest in the county, situated in 80 acres of country park inside the Norfolk Broads and just 15 minutes cycle to Norwich centre (the campsite is on National Cycle Route 1). There are shepherds' huts and funky bell tents and you can either relax at the cafes or on boat trips or get active - try canoeing, rope courses and there are gorgeous walks by the only broad in a city.

Fancy camping in The Wren's Nest at Playboks near Dereham, a hand-made dome using locally harvested hazel. Unassuming from the outside it is truly magical when you step inside. Hazel has many wonderful properties and you can be guaranteed a great sleep under the network of interlocking branches. You can rent it for £120 a night for up to 6.

A shepherd's hut at Deepdale Backpackers.
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