As an adult, I’ve never been a fan of camping – why stay in a tent, when you can go to a hotel? However, as I child, I flipping loved it. We never actually went camping as a family, however, we had a HUGE tent that we’d pester our parents to get out frequently. So we could play in it during the day, and sleep in overnight, all in the safety of our back garden. Food was always made in the kitchen, and if we needed the toilet, we could pop inside. So it was a pretty basic camping experience – and that suited me just fine! It just felt very grown-up being able to sleep ‘away’ from my parents!
I’m too much of a diva to use shared toilet facilities and have to make up meals hunched over a stove. I’d much rather be in a hotel and get someone to cook me food.
With things as they are at the moment, lockdown torpedoed our holiday to New York in April. It’s looking like it’s going to do the same to our rescheduled one in November. Vicki and me needed a break, so, we thought we’d book something that wasn’t MILES from home, and also wasn’t overly expensive. We went a little ‘off-piste’ and booked a Glamping holiday.
If you’re not sure what Glamping is, this definition is pretty much spot on –
Literally, “glamorous camping”. Glamping is about being able to experience nature without having to pack all your camping gear. Amazing places to stay in the UK and Europe, such as treehouses, cabins and yurts with great beds and creature comforts.
We opted to “Glamp at The Priory” – a small Glamping site in Beccles, Suffolk. There are four different themed bell tents, 6 metres in diameter and 3 metres in height. Each of them has a ‘proper’ double bed, and a sofa bed so they can sleep up-to four people (they also provide bedding and towels). One of them is dog-friendly too, we’d opted to take Duggee with us so we’d booked ‘Country Cottage’.
Each tent has a little kitchenette unit with cooking utensils, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, a cool box, and tea, coffee and sugar – and importantly, a little gas stove with a kettle.
There’s also a dining table and chairs to sit and eat at. There is a bedside table unit that has USB sockets for charging, and also a 12v outlet too. They have lined the inside and outside of the tents with fairy lights, and there is a remote-controlled ‘main’ light at the top of the tent.
There’s literally everything you could want under one roof. Well – not quite EVERYTHING. Glamp at The Priory has your bathroom needs covered in little sheds next door to each tent. Where you’ll find a gas-powered shower, a bucket sink with fresh running water, and interestingly, a compostable toilet! So even though it’s not part of the tent, it’s right next door, and you don’t have to share with anyone else.
Outside each tent is a barbecue, a fire pit, and a table and four chairs – it’s pretty much all you need for a little break.
The weather for our stay was looking a little miserable, so a day before we decided to leave Duggee at The Doggy Lodge rather than bring him glamping. With it being our first experience, we thought it was probably best not to have a wet and excitable doggo jumping around. We called our host Gavin and switched to the ‘Beach Hut’ tent.
On the morning we were due to leave Gavin called us and explained the weather had been horrendous there, and it wasn’t looking great for the duration of our stay. He gave us the option of postponing our stay to when the weather was better. We decided to keep our booking and just risk it!
When we arrived to Glamp at The Priory the road leading to the bell tents was very muddy and a little tricky to pass. However, once onto the fields where the tents are it wasn’t a problem. We were given a quick tour of our bell tent and bathroom shed. It was all pretty straightforward and self-explanatory, although the compostable toilet was uhm, new! Basically, it looks like a normal loo, however when you’ve done what you need to, you chuck down a handful of sawdust to cover it. It didn’t smell, and was a little odd, but.. well – you got used to it!
We took a wander to a nearby pub – The Wheatacre White Lion – they stop serving dinner early on a Sunday, so we had a few drinks in-front of a roaring fire. We wandered back to Glamp at The Priory and Vicki knocked up some dinner on the stove. The tent wasn’t particularly warm, but we had come armed with hoodies, blankets and Glamp at The Priory provide hot water bottles, so it was actually cosy. After dinner we just chilled and watched Netflix on a laptop (there’s no WiFi, but streaming tethered via my phone over Three UK was just fine!)
Then it was time to turn in for the night – the solar-powered light in the ‘bathroom’ had faded, so I had to brush my teeth by phone torch.
The bed was super comfortable, and the sheets had a lovely ‘just washed’ smell, it was very much like sleeping at home. Obviously being in the countryside, whilst there aren’t any passing vehicles, there are lots of random wildlife sounds. From squawking birds to moo-ing cows – it was to be expected and didn’t really disturb my sleep. Something that I was REALLY glad I’d packed was some eye masks – in the morning the tent is VERY bright. I’d really recommend one if you’re Glamping in a bell tent!
Instead of making breakfast over the stove we got ready and drove to Southwold – it’s only a short drive away and LOVELY. We had a great day there, the Two Magpies Bakery and Adnams shop were definite highlights.
Unfortunately, back at Glamp at The Priory, the weather wasn’t really conducive to sitting around the barbecue, or fire pit. However, if it had been, you can order charcoal, wood, and firelighters from Gavin. They also can supply breakfast packs and burgers and sausages from a local farm, which is a lovely touch.
We had dinner at Oak Fired At The Royal Oak which serves Neapolitan pizza, it is the third restaurant in the UK, and the 743rd restaurant worldwide, licensed to make True Neapolitan Pizza. It was flipping good.
Glamp at The Priory – Overall
Our stay at Glamp at The Priory was around £70 per night – so it’s not super cheap, but it’s not really expensive. I don’t think I could actually do proper camping, Glamping is probably my ‘bottom tier’. That’s not to disparage Glamp at The Priory at all. It’s a lovely place with a wonderful owner, and I would absolutely recommend it if you fancy Glamping. You get plenty included in the price, and the accommodation really is top-notch – I really liked it there – it was nice to be switched off. I thought I’d be driven mad with the lack of TV and WiFi, but I just found myself sitting on the sofa listening to the trees and birds.
I’d love to go back when the weather is better, sit in front of the fire pit after stuffing myself with barbecued food on a warm summer’s evening with a glass of wine. If you want a foray into the world of Glamping I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Glamp at The Priory – it’s an excellent balance of cost, comfort and facilities.
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Glamp at the Priory
I’d love to go back when the weather is better, sit in front of the fire pit after stuffing myself with barbecued food on a warm summer’s evening with a glass of wine. If you want a foray into the world of Glamping I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Glamp at the Priory – it’s an excellent balance of cost, comfort and facilities.
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