Glamping in Kent: Where outdoor adventure meets a little luxury
Glamping, the portmanteau of the words ‘glam’ and ‘camping’, a word we’re sure you are becoming ever more familiar with, unless of course you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years. Gone are the days of slumming it in the mud, setting up in the pitch black and waking to a wet tent, oh yes, for nature lovers, but those less loving of spartan accommodation, glamping is everything we could possibly want from the outdoors with all the luxuries and comforts of a hotel. With the warmer months fast approaching, and the increase in popularity of glamping set to increase following more covid uncertainty, Ashleigh Britten has compiled a selection of some of our favourite spots across Kent… happy glamping!
Green Hill Glamping, Dover
For a self-catering experience with a difference, head to this award-winning glampsite in Alkham Valley and stay overnight in one of the two beautifully restored vintage shepherd’s huts, ‘Shepherd’s Watch’ and ‘Ploughman’s Retreat’. The glamping huts
ingeniously include all of the home comforts: ensuite, kitchen facilities, hanging space, hairdryer, a bespoke king size bed, and a woodburner, there’s even private parking and your own BBQ.
Wake to panoramic views across the family-run farm and Kent Downs, get up close and personal with the wildlife and absorb the peacefulness, all whilst enjoying the home comforts. Make the most of the location and explore the many country walks on offer, start in the stunning village of Alkham and discover the church dating back to the 12th century, or head a little further to the White Cliffs of Dover and catch a glimpse of France. The motto here, whatever you decide to do: escape, rest and enjoy!
Knights Glamping, Leeds Castle, Maidstone
Fit for a king, or knight in this case, a stay at Leeds Castle comes in the style of Medieval striped tents. Just a few moments drive from the M20 in the splendid grounds of ‘loveliest castle in the world’ Leeds Castle, there’s no denying this will be a glamping experience with a difference. Each tent is surprisingly spacious and comes stylishly furnished with a chest of drawers, reading lamps and iPod docking stations, how luxurious! Sleep like royalty in a plush four poster bed, surrounded by crisp white cotton bedding and furry throws.
For those wishing to eat like knights, a cast iron griddle over a fire pit is included. And, just a short walk from the campsite, guests are provided with the use of the shower and washing facilities. Glampers can also pre-book one of the many activities at the castle including the falconry experiences, Segway tours or the Go-Ape Adventure. Making a booking also includes access to the castle, grounds and attractions.
Ham Hideaway, Sandwich
Situated in Sandwich, very fitting for a Ham Hideaway, this upmarket safari-style accommodation brings a whole new meaning to glamping. Available to rent as either self-catered or catered by the in-house chefs, choose between the shepherd’s wagon, yurt-style tents sleeping up to 6 people, or glamp in style on the privately owned land.
Hidden away behind a secret entrance, in a quiet spot overlooked by ancient beech trees, are a collection of award-winning boutique glamping tents. All of the joy of the outdoors without the hassle of camping, but far better than that, butler and maid service is included too! There’s also wifi, a secure bathroom and simple kitchen facilities for those who choose to go uncatered. Ultimately though, this glamping experience offers a different level of hospitality and is certainly a little more exclusive – it definitely won’t disappoint.
Kits Coty Glamping, Aylesford
Think 5-star luxury glamping and you’ll arrive here. Winner of the Glamping Business of the Year 2021 in the South East of England, and the Unsung Hero Award 2021, Kits Coty Glamping is the brainchild of husband and wife team Ami and Mark Culver. Set in the picturesque village of Aylesford, it’s within easy reach of plenty of fun-filled activity days for the whole family including Chatham Dockyard and Leeds Castle.
Choose from a variety of different stays available, one of the gorgeous tents, ‘Gretel Lodge’ or ‘Pamela’ the shepherd’s hut. Whatever the accommodation, the overall feel is romantic and cosy – a home away from home equipped with electricity, a wood burner and electric heater for those cold nights. Outside there’s a picnic table, fire pit and of course BBQ, but the star of the show has to be the luxurious shower cabin, where complimentary toiletries and fluffy hotel towels await. Escape the hustle and bustle, sit back and relax amongst nature, and enjoy this simple way of life.
Located on the edge of the Romney Marsh, boarding the historic town of Rye and famous Camber Sands, you’ll find Wheatfields and it’s luxurious safari lodges. The spacious, en-suite safari tents sleep up to eight people making for the perfect family, or group getaway allowing for time spent together in the great Kentish outdoors. Each accommodation comes fitted with hot showers, wood burners and wonderful cotton bedding offering a relaxing, memorable experience with all the hotel comforts. The site enjoys a secluded spot with superb views over the Rother Valley and easy access to the dunes.
Wheatfields is the perfect place to unwind, relax and play away from everyday life!
An award-winning campsite in an amazing location – just a short drive from Canterbury city centre – this campsite is pretty untouched. A destination to sit back, relax and embrace the rural setting, the glamping options are pretty amazing too. Choose from one of the beautifully renovated shepherd’s huts and wagons; ‘Ruby’ the authentic Romany showman’s wagon boasts wonderful views across the valley to the hamlet of Chislet. Otherwise, there’s the eight bell tents, all furnished with Indian-inspired furniture, rugs and footstools, and set in the beautiful campsite orchard. If the accommodation wasn’t ticking all the boxes, Nethergong’s location is definitely a winner – think beach trips to Whitstable, Canoe Wild trips down the River Stour, or a day spent sightseeing in the wonderful City of Canterbury, there’s plenty to do for all the family. Keep an eye out for wildlife during your stay, this is a haven of unspoilt habitat.
Borden Bees, Borden (p42 or p43 please)
Intimate and luxurious, this charming campsite set in the heart of Kent is packed with everything you need for the ultimate glamping staycation. Located a short drive from Sittingbourne centre, Borden Bees is perfectly situated amongst the Kent Downs in the village of Borden, a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside via foot or bike and a 10-minute walk from three local pubs.
Stay in one of the five beautifully furnished bell tents, each fitted out with 1 double and 2 single beds, the feel is bohemian – trendy, eclectic and relaxed – in keeping with the laid back setting. Bedding, a selection of extra blankets for those chillier evenings and a private BBQ – a must for hot summer days are also included. Don’t forget to order the ‘glamp and graze’ board, made fresh on site, it includes a selection of cheeses, charcuterie, sage and mustard sausage rolls, and mini sticky meringues! Whatever the weather, a break here with loved ones, friends or family will be one to remember.
Hattie the Horsebox, Hawhurst
Oh ‘Hattie’, the unique self catering experience with a difference. This cute converted vintage horse box, set in 13 acres of beautiful Kentish countryside, has been ingeniously restored and creatively designed to provide the perfect relaxing escape to the country. Fit with a double bed, ensuite shower room and galley kitchen, you’ll have all the luxury amenities of an airbnb stay, with nature right on your doorstep. Enjoy a welcome bundle of local produce upon arrival, sit in the courtyard area around the fire pit and take in the far reaching views, or take a little dip in the Lay-Z-Spa hot tub – great with a cheeky glass or two! Fancy eating out? Head to the fabulous The Great House and grab a pizza, they are a must!
Free Range Glamping
Free range by name, free range by nature, this off-the-grid glamping site is situated on a 5o0-acre organic dairy farm in the Kent Downs surrounded by Kentish meadows, how’s that for the ultimate rural retreat? Not only that, this place is home to some rather special accommodation; from hill top yurts fitted with an outdoor kitchen, king size double bed and private composting toilet with amazing views across the valley; to the fabulous shepherd’s huts, complete with all the home comforts including a wood-burning stove and cute kitchenette with double gas burner! As for the setting, Bore Place is so much more than just a farm. Not only does it boast some wonderful staycation accommodation, it’s also an environmental charity that pioneers renewable energy, sustainability and food provenance; they run courses and workshops, yoga retreats and it’s a popular place to get married.
Longberry Farm Glamping
Longberry Farm offers a place to relax, unwind and surround yourself with nature with a glamping experience that will be difficult to forget. Located just outside of Ashford, the glamping site consists of four luxury bell tents, all individually themed – ‘Blossom’ is beautifully decorated with lilacs, greys and florals, sleeps up to 6 people and comes with unlimited use of the private hot tub; whilst the ‘Mayflower’s’ shabby chic vibe is perfect for a romantic getaway. And, if one of the tents doesn’t fit the bill, the quirky converted cabin (made to look like a stable) is the perfect cosy glamping destination! Think countryside calm, fun-filled campfires under the stars and chilling out in the hot tub, bubbles in hand. Just an hour away from London, this rural setting is a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Kent Staycation’s Guide to Glamping in Kent
Choosing your accommodation
Start by browsing the web and the new 2021 edition of Kent Staycation, each and every place has something unique to offer, focus on location, facilities and activities on offer, that should begin to narrow things down quite quickly. Whether it’s a cabin in the woods, safari tent, shepherds hut, or a boutique glamping experience on your own private island – there is something for every budget.
How to Pack
What to take, you may ask? Am I packing for a camping trip, or can I allow for more stuff?! The answer is yes you can take more, but be mindful that the wardrobe space probably won’t be as big as your average hotel room. Always consider the weather, in the midst of British summer it’s likely to be warm but bare in mind temperatures do dip, so bring layers, especially for the kids. Aside from the obvious suncream, don’t forget swimwear, most sites have access to open water swimming or hot tubs if you’re lucky and you wouldn’t want to miss out!
On top of that, add in something water resistant, 9 times out of 10 it’s likely to rain or you’ll be heading to some water activity where you’re likely to get wet, so come prepared. Oh and boots don’t forget the boots! Or some comfortable footwear at least, you’re likely to be doing some form of walking.
A few added extras to note:
- Pamper Essentials – you’re glamping and you’re on holiday, so it’s the perfect place to treat yourself –don’t forget the smellies!
- Food Essentials – many sites come inclusive with kitchens and outdoor cooking spaces but you will need to supply your own food so why not stop at the local farm shop and arrive with a hamper bursting with fresh, local goodies!
- Drink Essentials – gin, vodka, rum, whatever your tipple – bring it! Most sites won’t have access to a bar, so a trip to the shops for beer and of course bottled water where necessary should be on the list.
- Entertainment Essentials – they aren’t essential, you’re here to escape the hustle and bustle so try leaving these ones out. You may like your headphones though!
Kent is full of exploring activities, from castles and gardens to wildlife parks and beaches, wherever you choose to stay, Kent is the ultimate destination for a glamping holiday – it’s got something for the whole family.
Head to the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, cruise along the coast through Folkestone, Hythe and Dymchurch right the way to Britain’s only desert, Dungeness. Explore Kent’s coastal food must-dos, absorb the fresh sea air and don’t forget the paddle boards. In the other direction, stop at Margate and delight in Dreamland and discover the Turner Contemporary. Follow the coastal road right round to Broadstairs, stopping at the beautiful picturesque bays along the way, finishing up in Whitstable, a great spot for shopping and, of course, the legendary oysters. Discover more on foot, head to the North Downs, walk the Pilgrims Way, and don’t forget your camera! Or you could visit one of Kent’s iconic animal attractions, Port Lympne, Howletts, or Wingham Wildlife Park. Need a shopping fix? Head to Tunbridge Wells for a spot of shopping and stop in one of the delicious restaurants along the famous Pantiles – the possibilities really are endless.