Packing away the tent for winter doesn’t have to mean the end of outdoor adventures. Editor of Glamping Getaways, James Warner Smith selects ten snug glamping sites ideal for winter wanderers…
1. Eco Camp Glenshee, Cairngorms
At the bottom of a glen on the southern fringe of the Cairngorms National Park, this eclectic site offers everything from modern, insulated pods to refurbished railway wagons with log-burners inside. Popular with mountain bikers, they have secure storage and a good drying area, while local company Outdoor Explore can take you on guided trails if needed. Llama trekking, beaver tracking and cross-country skiing are all possible too, though a more sedate day touring the nearest gin distillery is also a must.
2. The Quiet Site, Lake District
Bedded into the hillside at the top of this popular campsite, ten unique Hobbit Holes offer all-important insulation during the winter months, whilst also boasting excellent views down the valley to Ullswater below. The merits of the Lake District location need no introduction – hiking, canoeing and cycling are all in order – while the campsite itself is home to undoubtedly the UK’s best on-site pub, complete with open fires, low beams, ancient stone walls and its very own house ale.
3. The Shepherd’s Hide, Essex
Part shepherd’s hut, part bird-hide and part luxury cottage, this couples’ retreat may be three miles from the coast but tidal waters stretch right up to the neighbouring marshes at peak times. Among trees overlooking a pond, the hut is furnished to impeccable detail – think biodegradable toiletries, foodie welcome hampers, binoculars and wildlife books – with a king-sized bed, wood-burner and en-suite bathroom. Outside, 55-acre Mill Farm feels more like a nature reserve than a fruit farm. Footpaths weave to Arlesford Creek, while the wooden tidal mill that gives the farm its name (built in 1831) is occasionally open to the public.
4. Crai Valley Glamping, Brecon Beacons
Opened this year, Crai Valley Glamping occupies the ideal location for winter walkers in the Brecon Beacons, with Pen y Fan and the highest waterfall in South Wales, Henrhyd Falls both nearby – the latter reached via an exhilarating hike that takes you past an old landslide and a disused watermill (the wetter the day the better). If hiking keeps you warm by day, Crai Valley’s shepherd’s hut will keep you snug at night. Features include a small-fitted kitchen, dining table, wood-burner and under-floor heating, while the location within an International Dark Sky Reserve has your evening’s entertainment covered.
5. Peak Pods, Peak District
In the White Peak area, a five-minute drive south from Bakewell, these three, wool-insulated pods offer a central base for winter in the Peak District. From their setting above the tiny village of Alport, the footpaths via Lathkill Dale to Monyash offer some of the finest views in the national park, while the pleasant walk to neighbouring Youlgreave rewards you with three excellent winter pubs. The pods themselves sleep four each, with en-suite showers and an excellently equipped compact kitchen. Campfires add to the ambience, with logs available from the farm.
6. Marthrown of Mabie, Dumfries and Galloway
Directly beside Mabie Forest’s renowned 7stanes mountain biking routes, Marthrown of Mabie offers ski-in-ski-out style access as you tear your way around the award-winning trails. Glamping options include a yurt, a tipi and an Iron Age-style roundhouse, each with a wood burner inside for the winter months, while a large communal building boasts a kitchen and dining room. Found via steep, forestry commission tracks, this is a wonderfully remote, woodland glamping site, though break back out of the forest and Dumfries is still only a 25-minute drive away.
7. The Shepherd’s Hut at Mill Granary, County Durham
Looking out across miles of arable land in south Durham’s Tees Valley, this traditionally shaped shepherd’s hut has a strikingly modern interior, with porthole windows, a plush en-suite shower room and granite counter tops. Along with the wood-burner, the hut has central heating for winter and a television for rainy days. It’s a 15-minute drive to the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Park in Newbiggin and walk the two-mile riverside route to spectacular High Force Waterfall or simply stay on the farm and follow local footpaths to The Raby Hunt, the region’s only two Michelin–starred restaurant.
8. Little Seed Field, Yorkshire
Opened this year, the three snug, octagonal cabins at Little Seed Field offer outdoor overnighting on a Yorkshire dairy farm. Nestled amongst boulders, rushes and trees, they’re extremely environmentally friendly but can be quite exposed to the elements – bring warm clothes, wellies and a torch (don’t expect mobile phone signal either). For access to the Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale AONB, however, it’s a terrific spot. Walk the Nidderdale Way, passing the gritstone outcrops of Brimham Rocks high above the dale before dropping down to the River Nidd, or bring bikes to make the most of the quiet local lanes.
9. North Lees Pods, Peak District
Within easy strolling distance of Stanage Edge, home to some of the best gritstone climbing in England, North Lees Campsite has long been the go-to spot for rock climbers in the Peak District. The addition of four insulated pods has only extended the place’s year-round appeal, with bouldering mats, mountain bikes and walking poles accompanying almost with every camper. Though Stanage throngs with climber on weekends, there’s ample space for all and it’s south-facing aspect lends it to winter climbing. Walk a mile down the valley to Hathersage for hearty pub dinners.
10. Country Bumpkin Yurts, Leicestershire
Despite the farm setting, Country Bumpkin Yurts has an obvious air of luxury. Guests sleep in king-sized beds and there’s a wood-fired hot tub for use. Throw in the award–winning farm shop and a pub 100 metres down the road and you quickly see the appeal. There are three furnished yurts in total, while pigs, sheep and cattle dot the surrounding meadows. Bring a bike to pedal the 14-mile-long Brampton Valley Way or follow the Grand Union Canal towpath to Foxton Locks, where canal boats stagger down the impressive staircase that gives the village its name.