North Norfolk holiday site now offering ‘glampers’ camping experience - with hair straighteners

It's camping Jim - but not as we know it.

Bear Grylls might fall out of his bark-woven hammock at the idea, but happy holidaymakers are booking up to try out the latest addition to a north Norfolk caravan and camping site.

Glamorous camping - or glamping - is gaining popularity and four new timber-framed 'pods' at the Deer's Glade site in Hanworth fit the bill for those who like to rough it - in comfort.

While yurts and tee-pees are becoming more familiar sights around the county, there is believed to be only one other site in Norfolk equipped with pods.

At Hanworth, each fully-insulated and carpeted pod comes equipped with a flat-screen TV, heater, plus electric lights and sockets for those all-important camping items such as hair straighteners.

'It's a balance between a little bit more luxury than an average tent, but still the basic camping experience - somewhere between sleeping under canvas or in a fully-equipped lodge,' said Heather Attew, who owns the site with her husband David.

'Children love it,' she added. 'They think of it as camping in a giant Wendy house - quite cute.'

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The pods, which arrived in mid April, are fully booked every weekend until September with only a few mid-week vacant slots remaining.

Some of those who have already reserved their glamping weekend may well be among a growing national army of 'podders'; fans of the latest camping craze who follow the arrival of pods around the country.

Dereham couple Krista Stevenson and Christopher Cooper gave their first pod break the thumbs-up.

The pair, who often camp in a tent, had taken advantage of a couple of mid-week days off work to pack a bag and head for the coast. And they were especially pleased to have chosen the pod option when a violent thunderstorm, plus heavy rain, broke out during their first night.

'We could have been flooded out in a tent but instead we were cosy and dry!' said Ms Stevenson, 28. 'We like camping but we wanted somewhere we could go regardless of the weather. Also, it meant we didn't have to spend time putting up a tent and we won't have to take it down afterwards. It was all ready and waiting for us.'

All four pods are set in a private corner of the site, between Aylsham and Cromer, each within its own garden area, equipped with a water tap, barbecue, picnic table and chimnea.

Mrs Attew said they had definitely attracted people who would not otherwise have contemplated camping - particularly women.

'I think the hardened camper would say it wasn't camping, but for a person who's never been before, or someone from a city wanting the experience of getting close to nature, it's a good option,' she added.

The pods, which sleep up to four adults, cost �43 per night in high season, compared to �20.50 for a tent with electric hook-up facilities, or about �200 for a lodge.

The Attews estimate that they have invested about �45,000 to �50,000 in the project, including landscaping, but hope to have recouped their costs by the end of the 2012 season.