I’d never been glamping before this summer, i guess i’d always overlooked it in previous pre-child having summers; but boy has that changed!
One Friday afternoon, exactly 30 minutes before picking Millie up from nursery i decided (as you do) that i wanted to take her camping for the weekend. I pondered getting our kit out of the shed and loading up the car for i think all of five minutes before the idea of glamping suddenly became very appealing; all the fun of the outdoors with minimal equipment required. A quick post on facebook requesting suggestions and voila; we were booked in for a weekend in The Pod Father at www.hicklingcampsite.co.uk …i picked Millie up and away we went…
The whole thing about this place is just bloody perfect, i don’t know quite how they've managed to be so family friendly yet so appealing to adults looking for a secluded getaway at the same time but they have.
We were welcomed on arrival by the super fun and energetic owner, pointed in the direction of our gorgeous wooden abode and left to settle in. As a parent doing this alone i really do recommend going for The Pod Father as it’s layout and additional facilities (such as an electric hook up) really did prove priceless when keeping things simple, easy and still fun for everyone concerned, if you’re without children, or maybe they are a little older than two, the shepherds huts are just beautiful.
The small shop/cabin on site was stocked with fresh meat from a local butchers, basic supplies and all we needed for our stay. Firewood and lighting materials were also readily available and easily accessible at whatever time of day or night via a honesty box system.
We played about on the grassy area around our cabin (all accommodation is set a really lovely distance apart so you maintain a sense of own space) until it was time to light our fire, bbq and toast marshmallows to our hearts content. A really beautiful memory for me is of being able to lay in bed with Millie as she fell asleep while watching the embers glow in the fire pit and the sun set behind the tree filled landscape around us, made possible by the design of the front of The Pod Father and it’s wooden doors.
A question i always get asked whenever i mention camping is, “but what about the showers?'“, people, have no fear, the shower block here is one of the best i’ve ever encountered on a semi-outdoorsy adventure. A wooden custom built hub holds several private shower cubicles; each one extremely clean and well maintained, powerful, plenty of hot water and really well sized (nothing worse than trying to shower with a toddler in a tiny space) AND, beside each shower cubicle, is a very generous private changing room complete with coat hooks and a bench big enough to safely stand previously mentioned toddler on to undress/dress/stow away…
As someone who simply loves a cup of good black coffee in the mornings i was very happy to discover that The Cabin serves fresh, brewed right in front of your eyes, www.strangerscoffee.com and a wide range of some of the most fabulous pastries i’ve ever encountered; did i feel a smidge guilty for not lighting the fire pit, brewing the whistling kettle (as provided in The Pod Father) and cooking up a breakfast feast?…no…bollocks did i…i was too chilled out to even remember that people would be expecting something far more Bear Grylls of me…OMG!! I’m a glamper and i like it!!
A very short trip down the road brings you to www.canalcamping.co.uk (the sister site of Hickling Campsite) where you can hire out canoes and paddle off for about an hour and a half, stop off at the local pub, lunch and paddle back (longer routes are available but this met our needs for the day).
At this point we were supposed to be off home again but, as the place wasn’t booked, we decided to stay on another night, invite my dad and step mum over to join us and walk over to Hickling Broad itself; a stunning setting for a spot of sailing, stand up paddle boarding or sipping in the beer garden of the local pub. Another night of fire pitting, star gazing and smore making occurred and we were very sad to leave the next day.
Now i’m not putting all my outdoor adventurousness to one side, it’s definitely not time for me to hang up my hammock just yet, but we will definitely be coming back to stay here and be keeping our eyes peeled for other glamping opportunities; when camping with little ones it makes the whole experience so much less stressful if you have just a few creature comforts around and don’t have to kick things off with a battle of putting a tent up whilst your toddler takes it down or, even worse, takes someone else down; please tell me that you also have that fear?!?