Where's the best place to go glamping - and save the world at the same time?
PUBLISHED: 15:48 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:54 07 January 2020
Imagine a holiday where you can actually do some good at the same time. It might seem a bit cold to think about glamping right now - or is it? James Clark reports.
A rapid explosion in ritzy tented accommodation went out of fashion just about as quick as it started. However, glamping is back and taking high-end camping to a whole new level. If you think it's all about 'yurts' then think again.
On a recent weekend trip to Cornwall, we were pleasantly surprised as we drove into the parking area at Lydcott Farm, to see just two three modern and well-designed looking cabins. One named 'Prosecco' and the other larger cabins 'The Pilchard' and 'The Pasty.'
We were staying in the Pasty (large enough for four guests) with sea views, and miles of lush green hills and fields all around it.
Keen to look inside our weekend home we were not disappointed. It comes with a seating area at the front perfect for breakfast al fresco dining, as well as a large family sun lounger overlooking the sea and hills and a private outside area with fire pit and seating at the back of the Pasty, a huge queen size and very comfortable bed, a living area with a double pull-out sofa bed, a fully equipped kitchen with cooking facilities, a fridge/freezer, microwave and utensils, DAB radio with Bluetooth, an en-suite bathroom with a shower (much larger than the one I have in London), fresh bedding, towels and as an added bonus the lovely and very well behaved Cocoa the dog and Plucky the very curious chicken. (Plucky is one of 28 very friendly free range hens you may meet here!)
We swiftly unpacked what we needed, took the bottle of Prosecco out of the fridge that Emma and Rich had left for us and sat on the front deck, in the sun enjoying our natural and very tranquil surroundings. The only noises we could hear were hens at the farm and cows in the distance.
Emma and Rich moved here from Buckinghamshire in 2015 with three kids, and over the past few years have completely renovated the almost derelict farmhouse and set up Lydcott Glamping, which opened in February this year 2019.
"It's massively important to us that we get it absolutely right for every guest and we want every detail to be perfect, so every guest arrives and leaves with a 'wow' feeling. We have tried to think of everything guests might need - there's nothing more annoying than being on holiday and starting to prepare a meal and finding you don't have a potato peeler or a cheese grater for example - or decide to have a BBQ and must go out on a hunt around the local shops to get firewood first."
"We are also aware that some people like to arrive and leave on their own terms and don't want to be bothered, and some might want a little more interaction with us the hosts. We are happy to leave guests to their own devices entirely (some arrive and leave without actually meeting us in person) - and equally some guests have been keen to chat and come to meet our hens, chicks and Cocoa - we want to give guests the level of interaction they are comfortable with and don't want to be in their faces," explained a very happy Emma. The Cornish countryside suits her.
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We later wandered to the local shop for barbecue coals and spent the rest of the evening sat around the firepit drinking Cornish cider and relaxing into our idyllic location.
The next morning, after a good nights sleep (the cabin is fully heated, very well insulated and noise proof) and a delicious breakfast hamper sourced from local farms and again provided by Emma and Rich, we drove to Looe. The town is a very popular family holiday resort town, but it was far from overcrowded when we visited.
Looe is a collection of narrow streets lined with shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs that lead through to the main beach. We spent a couple of hours wandering around and enjoying the atmosphere before hiking the coastal path from Looe to Polperro (5.5 miles), which starts on the western side of Looe's riverbank.
The moderate coastal walk was a real treat, taking in a holy legend, a 6th century monastery, cliffs that we could have slipped off in the rain and lashing winds if we weren't careful, giant rockpools on the beaches, remnants of shipwrecks, and the walk ends with a stroll up through the picturesque fishing village of Polperro where we had lunch and caught a bus back to Looe.
We returned to Lydcott Glamping, played with Cocoa the dog and relaxed for a couple of hours, before walking to the local pub, the Copley Arms, in the picturesque village of Hessenford. It had an excellent and varied selection of gins, ciders and good food.
The next morning, we bid farewell to Emma, Cocoa and Plucky (Rich was at work) and drove to Plymouth to see family before driving back to London.
With the growing interest in ethical holidays and reducing our carbon footprint - what could be better than planning a UK staycation through Quirky Accom who champion the 'charity begins at home' ethos, by working with a range of ethical, charitable and conservation glamping projects - as well as giving 100 % of their own profits to charity.
Jess Twitchin and her team believe in the importance of 'giving back' and donate all their profits to good causes. Their latest donation of £20,000 to Gofal - a Welsh mental health charity (March 2019), takes their total fundraising to £130,000 in under three years, with previous charities benefitting including; Friends of the Earth, Rainbow Trust, MacMillan Trust, Kidney Research UK, UN World Food Programme World Vision, From Wales and Right to Play UK.