FeaturedGetaways + Travel

Bell tents and wild swimming at Elmley this summer

Elmley Nature Reserve are looking forward to welcoming guests back from 4 July onwards, and bookings are now open under flexible terms so it is possible for guests to arrange an escape into nature, without worries of being out of pocket if plans need to change.

Around an hour’s drive from Central London, on the Isle of Sheppey in North Kent, the Reserve is a world away from city life, and the ideal destination for a post-lockdown stay. All accommodation is well spaced within the Reserve, allowing guests the chance to explore its 3,300 acres and extensive trails, wild swim from Elmley’s private beach for the first time, and relax and unwind amongst the wildlife under awesome skies.

Alongside their two bigger rental properties – Kingshill Farmhouse (sleeping up to 14) and Elmley Cottage (sleeping up to 10 people) and their very popular shepherds huts, Elmley will be extending their accommodation this summer, to include a small number of bell tents for the warmer months and which will be ideal for couples or those travelling with young families. Glamping but with all the elements required for a comfortable stay provided, and set up with the love and thoughtful touches that Elmley’s loyal guests love the huts for, such as complimentary marshmallows and individual fire pits.

Like all the accommodation at Elmley, the bell tents are spaced well apart, and guests can choose to stay in the hay meadows, with fabulous views looking east over the Reserve, or in one of two woodland tents which are tucked away in a wooded area with woodpecker, Little Owls and butterflies for company.

The traditional thick canvas bell tents, are five metres in diameter, made cosy with coir matting and floor rugs, double beds with a proper mattress, and children’s beds added where required. Beds are made up with duvets, pillows and soft white linen, and towels and Bramley bathing products are provided too. Each tent has a private barbecue and camping gas stove, kettle and basic cooking equipment including enamelware crockery. There are plenty of loos and three hot showers for bell tent guests to share, and it goes without saying that all facilities are regularly and thoroughly sanitised, and the team will happily discuss full hygiene and cleaning protocols with potential or existing guests.

All guests staying at Elmley have access to the Reserve’s vast Victorian barn with plug sockets and tables – it is an ideal place to play a board game, read or shelter when the weather isn’t so good. Kingshill Barn has a grassy courtyard and is also next to a beautiful open barn guests are free to enjoy. Roam the hay meadows, or cycle or walk the nature trails through the Reserve, and Elmley’s secret beach will be open to staying guests only and is a great spot for a swim – an idyllic spot made up of crushed shells, and with seals to be spotted too. Later in the summer, outdoor yoga sessions will be held in the meadows.

Guests can easily self-cater throughout their stay should they prefer to, but the team will be offering a summer menu of seasonal options, partnering with local suppliers to offer a selection of delicious, sustainable meals, and fabulous salads, cocktails and coffees. All food and drink can be delivered directly to accommodation or eaten on well-spaced tables in the barn or courtyard. Ice creams, drinks, snacks and essentials will also be available to buy on site. There are some excellent local farm shops and butchers open for socially distanced shopping near Elmley that are also worth venturing to, some of which also deliver.

This summer is certainly set to be a little different but the team at Elmley are excited to be able to offer guests an incredible experience and escape into nature.

Bell tent prices start from £110 per night mid-week. Shepherds hut prices start from £115 per night.

For further details, please visit www.elmleynaturereserve.co.uk

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