I’ve shied away from any sort of camping holiday and to some degree, even glamping. The idea of a luxury tent is all good and well but if it means I still have to put on my wellies and trudge through a field to go for a pee – or use communal showers – then in my eyes it’s pretty much the same thing.
Lantern & Larks glamping
Then I discovered Lantern & Larks glamping who provide luxury glamping holidays across four locations in the UK including Suffolk and Lancashire. Their tents come fully equipped and comfortably sleep up to six people but the best thing? They also provide hot water, a flushing toilet and a shower. Seriously… So there was no stopping us trying out our first glamping trip.
Glamping in Somerset
We decided to go glamping in Somerset and spend the weekend at Lantern & Larks in a small rural village – and after a long, tedious drive we finally arrived at Kittisford Barton. The first thing that delighted us was the dozens of rabbits that were hopping across the road as we made our way slowly into the site.
Farmer John was there to greet us with his two lively dogs. He was both welcoming and friendly and we felt at ease with him straight away, even when Monkey got out of the car and exclaimed at the top of his voice: ‘Eurgh it stinks here!’ Typical city boy…
John gave us a quick overview of the farm and told us how we could go and see the chickens, pigs, goats and cows – and collect our own eggs (which we did on two occasions). And then showed us around the honesty shop – a tiny little hut which has a lot in store from coal and matches, frozen food, cleaning products to games and recharged batteries for the in-tent lanterns. It’s as simple as noting down the things you’ve taken throughout and then paying for it at the end of your stay.
We were then led down the path, wheeling our luggage in colourful wheelbarrows, past the log storage and recycling bins to our tent – or as I like to call it, a canvassed bungalow. And, after a short tour, John left us to it, and informed us that we would be the only guests staying that weekend, and left us with a brimming breakfast hamper full of fresh eggs, coffee, cereal, organic meats and marshmallows for the fire pit outside. He also gave us his mobile and assured us if there were any problems we should just call him.
We were seriously impressed. Not only with the size – there are three good-proportioned bedrooms, a great living space with sofas, a dining table and wood burner, and also a fully equipped kitchen with two gas rings plus plenty of storage space.
I also liked the fact that we had fresh fluffy white towels on beds covered in plush duvets and pillows, soft furnishings around the tent, as well as small touches such as tea light holders and candle lanterns throughout, and colourful rugs covering the bare wooden floors. More hotel chic rather than camping – making it ever so comfortable when the dark nights set in.
Outside the main tent, is a small hallway leading towards the front door, and it’s here you will find the loo and the shower. All sparkling clean and kitted out with lots of toilet paper!
Meanwhile, the kitchen may not have a fridge but there a cool boxes and frozen water bottles to keep fresh produce chilled for up to 24 hours, as well as battery operated lanterns and a never-ending supply of logs for the wood burner – very welcome when it turned quite chilly in the evenings.
Stepping out onto the verandah you get a real sense of being in a secluded, rural spot, there are four other tents nearby, but they’re not close enough to encroach on your space. The surrounding countryside was idyllic and being able to use the fire pit for a twilight BBQ meant it was a great start to our glamping weekend. The kids (our friends came along too) just adored it – being able to stay up late, exploring with their torch lights and getting ready for bed together in the dark.
Amazingly, I slept soundly even though it took me some time to get used to the night-time noises of the neighbouring wildlife. And I wasn’t the only one – our friends and little ones also had a good night’s sleep, too. Fresh air really did do us the world of good! The first thing we did in the morning was to restart the fire and get breakfast going – a fully-cooked feast prepared on the woodburner stove.
Exploring Kittisford Barton was next on our list. We delighted in going to see the animals in their enclosures and explore our surroundings with Lantern & Larks wildlife kit – farmer John had set us the challenge of finding a four-leaf clover in a huge field of clovers… after some time, we gave up. It wasn’t to be this time.
But no matter, the children loved discovering the pond and finding the biggest sticks possible to build dens. Before going off by themselves (yes really, by themselves) to explore the nearby bug house and fields. We may have been in the middle of nowhere, but it meant that it was safe for the children to roam about – it wasn’t as if we couldn’t hear them from inside our canvas walls!
Location-wise Kittisford Barton on the Somerset/Devon border is well-placed to visit several attractions in the vicinity including Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole as well as the stunning coastlines of Lyme Regis, Minehead or the saltmarshes of Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve. There are also plenty of pretty villages nearby and we also got to sample some of the nearby pubs.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side the whole weekend, but we all agreed that there would be nothing better than spending a week enjoying the glamping experience at Kittisford Barton, especially when the fine English weather decides to make an appearance.
It really did feel like a home away from home – and having no electricity wasn’t a problem. Sure there were a few creepy crawlies in the tent, but it was romantic and cosy spending our evenings watching the flames dancing and the wood crackling in the burner; actually having a conversation instead of watching the TV or checking our devices; and a real sense of adventure for the children, too. They really loved it.
Camping isn’t for me, but Lantern & Larks certainly strike the right balance of getting back to nature and staying in relaxing, comfortable accommodation. Being first-time glampers, we definitely rate it – and have already started discussing when we can go back. I would definitely go glamping in Somerset again.
Need to know about glamping in Somerset with Lantern & Larks
• Lantern & Larks have four locations across the UK – check their website for more details
• This price includes all bed linen (pillow covers, duvet covers and bed sheets), bath towels, hand and tea towels and beds made up on arrival. Also included is a fire pit which doubles up as a BBQ, plus unlimited wood for the duration of your stay.
• Optional extras can be purchased such as breakfast and BBQ kits full of locally sourced organic produce.
• Dogs are welcome but there is a £20 cleaning charge.
• Prices start from as little as £18 per night based on six guests in low season
• Remember there is no electricity – so you can’t plug anything in!
* We were invited as guests of Lantern & Larks for the purposes of this review, but as always my opinions are my own