10 of the best rural glamping hideaways in Britain
Standing in a 100-year-old apple orchard close to the Malvern Hills and on the edge of Knapp and Papermill nature reserve, this house is the work of two generations of a family with Scandinavian heritage. There’s a strong Swedish vibe: from the structure of the “little cottage” to the pine-lined interior and the red-and-blue colour scheme. In among the trees is a huge firepit.
It’s a beautiful spot, with the orchard carpeted with meadow grasses in summer and its boughs heavy with fruit in autumn, and a gate leading straight on to the nature reserve.
Sleeps four from GBP120 a night
Tranquillity pervades this woodsy cabin, particularly in summer, when guests can slide open the doors to let the countryside in. One of three hideaways on Hookhill Plantation, Big Sky Lookout is built from wooden boards: the exterior is a dark blue and the interior is composed of natural wood, with royal blue frames around the windows. Two swings hang from the nearest tree and, just beyond the deck, there’s a tripod firepit for cooking.
Step straight on to the Two Moors Way, the long-distance trail that connects Exmoor and Dartmoor, or head to Dartmoor, for hiking and climbing. The retreat offers wildflower meadows in summer and come autumn, blackberries, sloes, greengages and elderberries can be foraged in the woodland. It’s a haven for butterflies, birds, badgers, foxes, deer, and owls, too.
Sleeps two from GBP100 a night
This holiday home for two occupies a woodland spot overlooking the Vyrnwy valley in mid-Wales.
Hand-crafted by owner Mike – a tree surgeon – and his team, everything from the shingle on the roof to the curvaceous crucks were made from locally sourced wood. Coupled with an outdoor kitchen, the place has an open feel to it, immersing guests in the woodland surroundings. It’s a peaceful spot from which to observe the local wildlife, including ravens, jays, and woodpeckers, or to go wild swimming, hiking, and picnicking in the valley.
Ask Mike for tips – he’s also a mountain guide.
Sleeps two from GBP110 a night
The Lake, Bodmin, Cornwall
Skirting the edge of a flooded former quarry in a little pocket of Bodmin Moor, a converted industrial container provides a base for exploring 486 hectares (1,200 acres) of open moorland, and beyond. Accessed via a half mile or so of rough track, the simply kitted-out container is off-grid, with solar panels powering the lighting and a woodburner keeping things cosy. Water for cleaning is pumped directly from the lake, and there’s a hot supply in the showers behind the main space.
For those who do venture further, on offer are miles of walking trails to nearby tors and day trips to the Cornish coast. At night, guests can await the spectacular show of stars above the moor.
Sleeps two from GBP120 a night
On a ridge at one end of a large wildflower meadow, Stargazer’s Wagon is off-grid and remote enough for guests to feel at one with nature. Raised on a wooden platform, the wagon faces south, with panoramic views across five counties. By day, there’s plenty to explore in the surrounding countryside: walk to Shobdon church and arches, and at night light up the fire bowl and loll in a deck-side hot tub, watching dusk descend across the landscape.
The spacious wagon is kitted out with a double bed, a leather sofa, a woodburner and fine fabrics in neutral colours. Guests can draw on a well-stocked kitchen, or tuck into a home-cooked welcome supper courtesy of owners Victoria and Chris (ask for prices when booking).
Sleeps two from GBP98 a night
Gwennol near Capel-y-ffin, Brecon Beacons
This hand-crafted shepherd’s wagon, created by woodsman James Noble, is beside a stream in a glade in the Black mountains; the clearing is accessible only on foot or horseback, or by bike. A clay tagine for slow-cooking hangs over the firepit.
Nearby are numerous hiking trails through the Brecon Beacons and a host of other outdoor activities, including pony trekking at Grange Trekking in the nearby village of Capel-y-ffin, and canoeing on the River Wye.
Sleeps four from GBP82 a night
This small cabin overlooks the open Essex countryside on Rockells Farm, just outside Saffron Walden. The quiet, secluded hut, kitted out in a back-to-basics style, has a ban on digital devices: guests have to lock away their smartphones on arrival. To help city-dwellers cope with withdrawal symptoms, there’s a box of pre-digital goodies that includes a Polaroid camera, a cassette player and postcards to send to the device-dependent friends and relatives guests have left behind.
Visitors are free to roam the rural surroundings, stroll to the Axe & Compasses in Arkesden for a slow pint, or simply sit on the bench outside the cabin and do nothing.
Sleeps 2 from GBP130 a night
A 15-minute walk from the north edge of Dartmoor national park , the Humble Bee is a beehive-shaped three-tier cabin. It sits in owner Yvette’s landscaped gardens in a quiet corner of Okehampton. At the top of the “hive”, a king-size bed is above the main space, while the landings below feature a kitchen area and a fireside corner for lounging.
Dark wood panelling, a honeycomb feature wall, and thick furs provide a cosy vibe, but guests can also open the large doors and windows to let the woodland scenery in. A stone bath is carved into the rock outside.
Sleeps two from GBP150 a night
The Beermoth, near Aviemore, Highlands
Not many people return from the Highlands having slept in a 1950’s fire truck. Fewer still get to sweat it out in a horse-box sauna.
But that’s the charm of the Beermoth on the Micklethwaits’ Inshriach Estate just outside Aviemore. The truck has oak parquet flooring salvaged from a Tudor mansion, a woodburner at one end and an elegant Victorian bed at the other. It makes for a rough-and-ready base from which to enjoy the estate – a haven for wildlife – as well as activities further afield, including white-water rafting at Rothiemurchus Estate and pony-trekking across the Spey valley from the Alvie Estate in Kincraig.
Sleeps two from GBP74 a night
Standing side by side with uninterrupted views of Balquhidder Glen, a bothy and a redundant waiting room make for an incongruous pair.
Each was once consigned to the scrapheap, before landing here as one half of this Highlands hideout, for which the interiors have undergone renovations to suit the personality of the exteriors. The waiting room is a bedroom for four and has whitewashed walls, sophisticated textiles and modern furnishings. The more rustic bothy, with its mishmash of plywood and tongue-and-groove walls, serves as a small kitchen and sitting room.
In the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park, the hideout is a wildlife haven, with red squirrels, sparrowhawks, and red deer on the doorstep.
When out and about, guests can climb Ben More or fish in nearby Lochs Voil or Doine – complimentary fishing permits are provided for guests.
Sleeps four from GBP145 a night
All places are featured in the Canopy & Stars book Stay Wild: Cabins, Rural Getaways and Sublime Solitude (Gestalten, GBP35), available from 29 April, and can be booked at canopyandstars.co.uk
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