Glamping in England’s beautiful South West immerses you in all the rural charm of this region, from Devon’s moorlands to Cornwall’s gorgeous beaches. It’s a chance to go off-grid in comfort and luxury: think sophisticated pods rather than tents, and all mod-cons rather than no-frills. From glamorous huts to stylish chalets, all the way up to eye-catching treehouses, the West Country offers inventive takes on this tourism phenomenon.
Wake up to the sound of the sea in a cosy campervan or explore the rolling Devonshire countryside from a rustic retreat; introduce your kids to the art of campfire cooking or tuck into a hearty pub meal made from local produce. Read on for two of our top picks to inspire your getaway.
Tree house glamping in Devon with luxury trappings
If you want to take your glamping experience to new heights – quite literally – then the Fox and Hounds Country hotel is just the ticket. Hidden at the back of this former carriage house turned hotel is a one-of-a-kind glamping treehouse with a bird’s eye view of the region’s pastoral landscape. Start a serene day by stepping out onto the treehouse terrace – the fresh North Devon air and the scent of flowers from the main house garden let you know you’re on holiday. Look down to see the moss-covered trunk of the old oak tree that holds you in place or the sun winking on the rippling fish pond.
Tree house interiors:
Furnished with authentic details that retain the rustic country vibe of the environment, the treehouse surroundings are designed to make you feel immediately at home. A wood-burning fire adds a warm, inviting feel to the living room, which is decorated to reflect the leafy nature of your stay. Sink into the cosy comfort of the cow-hide beanbag or stretch out on the plush leather sofa. Outside on the patio, the table and chairs are cleverly crafted from tree stumps, and the location offers a clear vantage point from which to enjoy the sun setting slowly across the horizon. The master suite sleeps two – for a supplementary fee, two more guests can use the second bedroom, which features carved bunk beds. A copper bath and shower in the bathroom add retro detail which complements the warm, earthy tones of the walls and furnishings. Tasteful wall paintings in the living area add an additional flourish to the décor.
Where to eat:
The treehouse is self-catering, with a kitchen fully equipped with modern conveniences: an oven with a stovetop, a kettle, a microwave and a toaster to name a few. Prepare yourself a picnic or whip up a tasty supper to be savoured al-fresco; the local area has a rich agricultural history, so farm-fresh produce is available and presents an authentic taste of North Devon. Alternatively, the main hotel has a gastropub-style restaurant, so treat yourself to a cream tea, evening dinner or a sharing platter of Devonshire game. Ingredients are sourced from local producers and meals are cooked from scratch. Sink into a chair by the log fire or bask in the sunshine on the garden terrace and try treats such as pork, chicken and duck from nearby Lane End Farm and ales from the neighbouring counties, such as Hanlons Yellow Hammer.
The Fox and Hounds Country hotel serves as an ideal base from which to explore the rich natural heritage of this part of the UK. Pheasants, owls and roe deer can be spotted on the grounds, while a stroll along the River Taw reveals some of the colourful flora that dot the county. The hotel owns the fishing rights for over 9km of the river, so spend a day angling amid the swaying trees and dappled waters; who knows, you might just be serving up your very own catch of the day as the evening draws in. A fly-fishing school is just around the corner, so budding fishers might end up bringing a new hobby home from their holiday.
Don your hiking boots or strap on your cycle helmet for an excursion among the foliage of the Tarka Trail. The local stables offer the chance to explore the route on horseback, with well-trained steeds suitable for novices and experienced riders alike.
Quaint villages and woodland walks surround the hotel. Drive 25 minutes from the hotel grounds to find RHS Rosemoor: a steep wooded valley carefully cultivated into a garden. Wander the mix of formal and informal beds before sitting down to tea and cake in the café. Or, take a day trip to Exeter, which lies 50 minutes’ drive away. The city is compact enough that you can visit the main sights on foot, including the medieval Cathedral and underground passageways, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and the self-guided walk of the woollen trail.Compare prices
Family-friendly beach glamping in Cornwall
Newquai View | Newquay, Cornwall
Newquai View Resort sits at the edge of the Atlantic coastline, close to the tumbling cliffs and blue waters of the Cornish seaside. Drive your family down in your own caravan and use one of the halting bays, or make use of the site’s stationary camping vans and eye-catching glamping pods – all within convenient walking distance of the rocks and gentle sands of the seaside. The verdant hills of the Porth Valley are also a stone’s throw from your tent, ideal for family rambles or games of hide and seek amid the trees.
The cabin amenities:
The simple, elegantly furnished pods each come with an en suite that would suit a stately hotel, featuring a walk-in shower and heated towel rail. Your private kitchen is equipped with microwaves and kettles as standard. Some also have ovens and stovetops, so the whole family can get involved in creating a home-cooked dinner from the local specialities: Cornish cheddar and Yarg cheeses, freshly caught fish and clotted cream, to name but a few. Take your culinary creations out to eat in the al-fresco dining space – there’s also a communal spot for family get-togethers or meeting your fellow guests.
For a night off from cooking, head to the Porth Venue Restaurant, which serves up a delectable array of hearty and affordable dishes. The emphasis is on family favourites, so sample savoury burgers, delicious salads and fresh-caught fish from the local waters. In fact, the restaurant endeavours to source most of its ingredients in the surrounding hinterland, so each bite is an authentic taste of South West England: from St Ives seafood to ice cream by Kelly’s of Cornwall. While away the hours in the shaded beer garden admiring the green views around you or watching the kids compete on the ping pong tables.
Locals and visitors alike come to Newquai View for its leisure centre. In summer, breathe in the fresh sea air as you dip in the soothing waters of the outdoor pool, or, let the little ones run free in the nearby playground while you bask in the sun. When the winter rolls in, swim a few lengths in the heated indoor pool or sink into the invigorating warmth of the sauna and steam room. An indoor arcade houses games for kids and adults, so embrace your competitive spirit and spend some family time with a classic driving game.
A 3km drive from the resort brings you to Newquay town centre. Here you can have an outing to Newquay Zoo or learn about local marine life and exotic sea creatures at Newquay Blue Reef Aquarium. This town is also full of historic highlights such as Lanhydrock, a late-Victorian country house with colourful gardens and well-preserved antiques. To explore even earlier times, the Iron Age settlement of Chysauster Ancient Village is a fascinating detour, with the remains of courtyard houses from almost 2,000 years ago still clearly visible as you wander the rugged terrain. You’ll also have the opportunity to see Cornwall’s famous coastline.
Make time for a day trip to Kynance Cove, an hour and half away by car, where dramatic rock formations protrude skywards and sheltered rock pools teem with life. Within a 25 minute walking distance, you’ll find Whipsiderry Beach, and Watergate Bay (an hour’s walk along the South West coastal path). Both beaches feature the trademark craggy cliffs and glittering sands that Cornwall is known for, not to mention cafés selling crab sandwiches and cups of tea.
Learn to surf:
Treat your kids to a day at the Blue Surf School, based on site, where they’ll learn to ride the waves in some of the country’s most hallowed surfing grounds. Transport is provided to and from Watergate Bay, one of the most consistent beaches in Cornwall for surfing conditions. There you can try out a new water-sport known as hand planing, which uses hand-held floats to allow you to smoothly glide across the crest of waves. Back at the resort, you’ll find Yellow Bike Hire. Pack a picnic of Cornish pasties and take the whole family out to wind their way through the curving slopes of the Porth Valley or along the coastal path.