Boatbuilders use skills to design glamping pods

PUBLISHED: 10:21 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 10:23 10 February 2014

James Knight , Managing Director of the Waveney River Centre who has been building Escape Pods ‘glamping’ accommodation for the site.

Picture: James Bass

James Knight , Managing Director of the Waveney River Centre who has been building Escape Pods ‘glamping’ accommodation for the site. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

A Broads holiday centre is using the traditional skills of its boatbuilders to create an upmarket camping experience.

For alongside their work on boats, the craftsmen at Waveney River Centre have designed and are building chic ‘glamping’ pods.

Three of the escape pods were successfully trialled at the site next to the River Waveney, at Burgh St Peter, near Beccles, at the end of last season.

Now director James Knight is planning to add three more to create a cluster behind the site’s popular conventional camping pitches.

Following the positive comments from customers last year he has also decided to sell the pods online at

Mr Knight, who runs the site with his wife Ruth, said his team of Steve Charlton, Nick Potter and David Gaze had gone out and looked at other designs and “come up with their own twist”.

He said: “A lot of pods just seem to use the ground level, but using the skills of boatbuilders they have come up with a design that makes the most of the available space, raising the level of the double bed and creating storage space.”

As well as marketing the pods to other holiday centres he believes they could also be bought for other purposes such as garden studios, unusual sheds or guest accommodation.

He said: “They fit in well with the environment and are made with sustainable timber – larch on the outside with a pine interior.”

Double insulation using
sheep’s wool made them cool in summer and warm in winter.

The pods, which take two weeks to build, are being marketed fitted out for £11,500 including VAT.

Mr Knight said such diversification ensured a more sustainable future for traditional boat building. Following a lean season last year, caused by the previous washout summer, bookings at the centre are 30pc up compared to last February – and pods are proving very popular.

To further improve visitor numbers to the centre, which also offers upmarket lodges, a marina and fleet of day boats, the Knights are investing a six-figure sum in the on-site pub and planning a new menu with locally-sourced food.

Is your holiday business
investing for the coming season. Email

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24


  • These pods are brilliant, but they have had these at Applewood banham Zoo scince the middle of last year..

    Report this comment


    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • I have visited Waveney on a couple of occasions its a great idea James to add the pods they should increase revenue and offer a different experience to their visitors. Glamping Pods have been around for many years but do seem to be trending in the Glamping Industry at present along with the Safari Tents Yurts, and Tipis, Take a look at the Glamping section on Campsite Finder Online there is nearly 200 available throughout the UK and Europe

    Report this comment

    Nina Blanchard

    Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Management Jobs

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


For many the most thrilling part of starting a business comes in the early days, buoyed by those first sales when you might be running your fledgling enterprise from the kitchen table.

A global boom in the use of smart meters is set to fuel the growth of a pioneering East Anglian engineering company after it struck a major production deal with a leading Indian manufacturer.

Green 100


Enjoy the Green 100
digital edition


Meet the Team

Mark Shields

Business Editor


Chris Hill

Agricultural and Farming Editor


Business Most Read


Norfolk Future 50 EDP Business Awards Green 100

Business Most Commented