Pitch perfect: best glamping sites in the UK & Ireland

By Emma Power,

Fancy experiencing the great outdoors without the hassle of a leaky tent and deflating airbed?

Forget about what you may remember from your childhood camping days. Instead, check out the best glamping hotspots in the UK and Ireland – more fairylights and afternoon tea than portaloos and bug spray.

Camp Katur

North Yorkshire, England

Set within 250 acres of beautiful manor estate land, Camp Katur can be found right between Ripon and Bedale in North Yorkshire.

The glamping village of Camp Katur is “off grid”– basically, there’s no electricity! Where possible, the site is powered by solar energy, the main source of lighting is by torch and candlelight, and the primary source of heating is log burning stoves and gas heaters.

Accommodation includes everything from bell tents and unidomes to teepees and safari tents. Bell tents feature fairy lights, candles, log burners, and an outside BBQ and fire pit. For something a bit more snug, hobbit pods give glampers hot water bottles, bunk beds and gas heaters.

Fancy a bit more space? Unidomes have room for an inside seating area as well as outdoor dining section. We say go for the woodland hide, which is a 360 degree clear panoramic dome. For those novice glampers, the safari tent includes solar lighting, hot running water, a kitchen area and dining area.

Around the estate there are a whole host of facilities that are thankfully “on grid”, such as toilets and a shower block, communal hut kitchen, a licensed cafe bar and beer garden and the Orangery Cafe. Chill out in the outdoor Eco Spa and Sauna with wood-fired hot tub, or cook up a storm in the BBQ Grill Cabin.

Lie back and relax in one of the estate’s many hammocks with a book from the mini-library. The younger guests can explore the Children’s Woodland Adventure play area with Shelter Building & Picnic Playhouses, or go on an adventure with Woodland Walks and Activity Trails.

Giltraps Townhouse & Glamping

Co. Offaly, Ireland

Situated at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains is Giltraps Townhouse & Glamping, right in the village centre near Kinnitty Castle.

This novel, purpose-built guest accommodation marries the traditional with the natural in the form of six log cabins and a Mongolian yurt, set amongst the magnificently manicured landscaped gardens.

The log cabins are spacious and can accommodate up to six people so it is the perfect place to take the family. The log cabins are fitted out using local materials, are insulated and have electricity. Each cabin has its own decking with outdoor seating, and includes complimentary toiletries (arguably the best part of any hotel stay).

The Mongolian yurt is a truly unique sleeping experience. It has electricity with memory foam mattress beds and a relaxation chair which make all your worries seem a distant memory!

The glamping site also includes a dedicated farm area, consisting of pigs, chickens and ducks, providing an important contribution to breakfast for guests each morning – tasty breakfast hampers are available to order and be delivered to your door.

Keep busy during your stay with fun activities like archery, clay shooting, pony trekking, barbecues and pamper sessions.

Knight’s Glamping

Kent, England

Surrounded by vineyards on the 900-year-old Leeds Castle estate in Kent, these quirky tents form a glamping ‘village’ in the gorgeous one-acre gardens.

The eight Medieval-style, wool-lined striped pavilions come furnished with rich oak four-poster beds, wood-burning stoves, snug furry throws and cotton bedding. Each tent has Wi-Fi, electric lights and a seating area in front – perfect for evening drinks or relaxing in the morning.

For those wishing to channel the knights of yesteryear, why not use the cast-iron griddle over the open fire pit and whip up a Medieval meal?

If that’s a historical step too far, then you can order a delicious breakfast hamper, continental or cooked. The Fairfax Restaurant is also open to glampers for a full English breakfast.

A short stroll from the campsite and up the picturesque garden path is Knight’s Cottage, where guests have full use of modern shower and washing facilities.

To keep you and the family entertained, why not go for a hands-on falconry experience, explore an underground grotto or try the Go Ape! high wire forest adventure?

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Foxfield Glamping

Bradford-on-Avon, England

Set deep in the heart of the Saxon village of Bradford-on-Avon, only seven miles from the city of Bath, is a beautifully intimate glamping site called Foxfield Glamping.

Home to just two state-of-the art glamping pods, Clover and Honesuckle, Foxfield Glamping sees each pod set in their own little private garden. The exclusive pods feature every comfort imaginable, including an en-suite shower room, kitchenette, underfloor heating and iPod docks.

The folks at Foxfield make sure you are greeted with a thoughtful welcome basket with all the essentials like duvets, pillows, bed linen, toiletries, hot drinks and biscuits, as well as wool blankets and hot water bottles in the chilly seasons. The breakfast menu features tasty bites like bagels and fry-ups, all conveniently brought to your door in the morning.

Don’t forget about the great outdoors, though – you’re in the gorgeous Wiltshire countryside after all! BBQs and fire-pits are available to use during your stay, and in your garden you’ll find boxes full of logs and coal.

Remember the marshmallows are in your pod’s welcome basket, all ready to toast on the fire-pit! You’re also welcome to bring your own personal camping stove for cooking up a storm in your private garden.

Foxfield is full to the brim of character and life – everything you need for an out-of-the-ordinary holiday. Kids will love playing with the three greedy Shetlands, energetic dogs, chickens that provide your lovely fresh eggs in the morning and of course the resident rabbit “Mrs Bunnie”.

Portsalon Luxury Camping

Co. Donegal, Ireland

Portsalon Luxury Camping is located in a stunning coastal setting in the North of Donegal. Nestled on a hillside, the 18-acre site on the Fanad Peninsula enjoys spectacular views of Lough Swilly, Mulroy Bay, Knockalla mountain and the Inishowen Peninsula to the east.

Enjoy a peaceful night in one of the five luxurious yurts with king size beds, double sofa-beds and wood-burning stoves. Each yurt is spaced for maximum privacy and each has its own fire-pit and barbecue area, plus picnic tables and benches.

The open-plan kitchen and lodge is a cosy base where you can chill out in front of a roaring fire and enjoy reading a book from the mini library while you securely charge your phone or tablet.

There’s also 24-hour complimentary Wi-Fi if you can’t resist Instagramming your beautiful views. The fully-equipped communal kitchen has two separate food preparation areas and dining area, so you can enjoy more sustenance than a trail mix or toasted marshmallows.

The bathroom facilities are in a separate building, and include a comfortable changing area with hairdryers/ shaving points and mirrors. These facilities are clean and well-maintained and are available to guests 24 hours per day.

If you’ve been stung by the horrors of festival Portaloos before, then never fear – these facilities would put a hotel to shame.

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Glamping at the Grove

Co. Kerry, Ireland

Boasting breathtaking views of Killarney’s Mountains and the banks of the River Flesk, Killarney Glamping is ideally situated less than a mile from the town centre.

It’s also the perfect base for exploring the vast Killarney National Park, situated on some of Ireland’s most famous touring routes – The Ring of Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way.

Adventure by day and a little luxury by night make a glamping family holiday truly unforgettable. Tell stories under a starlit sky toasting marshmallows, cook up a storm in your very own private outdoor kitchen or spend some quality time playing everything from Scrabble to cards.

For something a little more romantic, picture yourself sitting al fresco under a million stars, chatting until the early hours, before curling up under your double duvet beside the glow of your gas stove. Stroll hand in hand to the riverbank and you may even get a glimpse of a deer, otter, pheasant or heron.

Each bell tent includes a double bed with luxury bedding, shabby chic furniture and a gas stove to keep warm when needed. A cool box and picnic blanket are supplied, along with an iPod dock, lamps and candle lanterns. Each unit has a covered outdoor kitchen with a gas barbecue, gas hob and grill.

There are gas-powered separate showers and toilets close to all tents. Make some friends at the communal fire pit area, with complimentary firewood and marshmallows. Putting the glam into glamping, guests can also make use of a spa and leisure centre just a two minute drive away, at discounted rates.

Ballyvolane House

Co. Cork, Ireland

Ballyvolane Glamping is a gorgeous full-service glamping experience near Fermoy, Co. Cork.

Glampers are given a ‘glamping box’ on arrival containing all the essentials like matches, drinks, a jar of homemade chocolate cookies, maps of the estate, a torch and head-lamps. Meanwhile all meals, drinks and even a spot of afternoon tea are served in the beautiful main house, a classic Georgian home dating back to 1728.

The bell-tents located in the country house garden are fully kitted-out with everything you need for a comfortable stay.

Think raised timber beds, comfy mattresses stuffed with organic lamb’s wool, tea-light chandeliers and furniture such as bed-side tables, chairs, coir carpets and ample lighting. Best of all, hot water bottles are put in the beds during evening turn-down service, so you’re guaranteed to be nice and cosy.

It’s not all about the tents, though. Glampers can enjoy a full Irish breakfast up until noon in the main house and enjoy some more conventional luxury.

Meanwhile, a fully-heated wash house containing loos and showers are located adjacent to the camping area. The wash house is furnished with mirrors, good lighting, clothes-hooks and hair-dryers.

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East Coast Adventure Glamping

Co. Down, Northern Ireland

East Coast Glamping is situated three miles into the Knockbarragh Valley behind the picturesque village of Rostrevor in County Down, Northern Ireland.

Set in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains, the site boasts views down the valley to the spectacularly beautiful Carlingford Lough and is an ideal walking, hiking or mountain bike base for your glamping holiday.

There are a total of six glamping pods that sleep up to four people, and each one is waterproof, cosy and available all year-round. The pods are fitted with electricity and heaters, single beds and a fold-away table that converts into a double bed.

East Coast Glamping features superior site facilities such as a large communal pod, a shared barbecue hut, shower/toilet pod as well as free on-site parking and secure bike lock-up.

Fancy an active glamping break? East Coast Adventure offers a range of fun activities for people of all ages. Outdoor excursions include mountain biking, abseiling, ziplining, orienteering and archery. If you’re a water baby, why not try yachting, banana boating, wet bouldering, canoeing or paddle boarding?

The glamping spot has something to offer everyone, whether it’s families, youth groups or hen/stag parties.