The popularity of glamping is mushrooming and the array of unique glamping accommodation is more wild and wonderful than ever. From canvas cottages with hot tubs to energy efficient eco pods, get the lowdown on what’s available so you can find the perfect glamping pad to suit your style and needs. Whichever you choose, you can count on designer lodgings seamlessly merged with Mother Nature.
Best for? Stylish nomads
Seeing as these portable Mongolian dwellings were made to withstand severe winters with high winds and low temperatures, you can trust them to brush off whatever the British weather throws at them. One of the most popular types of glamping accommodation, the circular wooden base provides a spacious living area, usually with a log burner. Many also have indoor cooking facilities and skylight panels so you can snuggle down and star gaze.
Best for? Cowboys and Indians
An exciting abode for a family adventure; step into your tipi and you feel like you’ve stepped straight into the set of a Western movie, with smoke spiralling from the conical roof of your Native American tent. A simple design of wooden poles tied together at the top and wrapped in durable fabric (historically animal skins), these days the central fire is usually a log burner and the interior fully furnished in modern, comfortable style. A wigwam also harks back to Native Americans, but is domed in structure.
Best for? Bohemians and festivalgoers
Spacious and so simple to erect that it’s a one-man job, bell tents are the perfect party abode or cosy nook in the wild. A huge step-up from a classic tent in style and character, you usually find them strung with fairy lights and bunting, and often decked out with low-slung furnishings and a wood burner.
Best for? Hobbits and eco warriors
Hunker down in a magical hobbit hole. The increasingly popular camping pod is an insulated wooden shelter (much like a wooden tent) designed to protect you from the elements and make camping a cinch. Make sure you choose a model to meet your expectations – some glamping sites simply offer an empty shell with a camping stove and sleeping mats, while others offer proper beds, plush furnishings and mod cons such as microwaves and kettles.
Best for? Groups
Think of all the romance of being on safari in Botswana, without the African savannah or elephants at the watering hole in view (you might get farm animals or alpacas instead). Safari tents are large rectangular structures, usually with raised wooden floors and designer interiors separated into several rooms or areas using partitions or curtains. Much like a lavish self-catering cottage, just with a canvas roof and a stupendous location in the wild, there are no limits to the luxury these homely spaces offer. Some even house a hot tub.
Best for? Families and groups
Much like the safari tents, although more versatile in their design, canvas lodges are the height of camping luxury. With king-size beds, en suite bathrooms (think fluffy towels, bathrobes and mini toiletries) and custom furnishings, canvas lodges (or canvas cottages) bring together the wow factor of a designer holiday cottage and the back-to-nature experience of camping.
Best for? Romance
Either restored shepherd dwellings, or built in the same style as these insulated tin huts on stilts, these bijou and boutique lodgings lend themselves to romance and seclusion. Shepherds didn’t expect any neighbours, and neither should you. Fling open your door to the countryside, or huddle in the cushy interior – usually decked out in Cath Kidston-esque style and somehow squeezing in a well-appointed kitchen and dining area.
Best for? Adventure
Climbing trees and sleeping in the wild – it’s the stuff that kids’ dreams are made of. But taking up residence in a unique and awe-inspiring tree house isn’t just fun for the children – you’ll love the magic of climbing a ladder to your glamping domain and soaking up the bird’s eye views from the boughs. Cunning craftsmanship has made these lofty spaces quite luxurious, often with running water, electricity and bathroom facilities – so you won't have to scramble down the trunk when nature calls in the middle of the night.
Best for: Vintage lovers
No need to bring a mirror on holiday when you stay in one of these shiny, vintage caravans that are becoming popular within the glamping community. Not only do they flaunt enviable retro style and house all the mod cons of a more dowdy static caravan, you can guarantee a decent night’s sleep as there’s no canvas flapping around when the wind blows.
Best for? Travellers
It’s all very well living in a house with modern comforts, but sometimes we all need to breakout to our gypsy roots and reconnect with nature. The resurgence of gypsy caravans on glamping sites enables you to swap your brick walls for a traditional wagon in the wild, but one that’s been fully modernised so you won’t need to leave your creature comforts behind.
Best for? Design gurus
Like futuristic tents, dome-shaped constructions (much like the bubbles of the Eden Project) of all shapes and sizes are cropping up in glamping sites all over the world. Stunning designs wrapped in high-tech fabrics fend off the weather while allowing the scenery and light to penetrate modern interiors, often with elevated floors, luxury furnishings and wood burners.