Katie Gregory from There We Go went glamping with her family at New Barn Farm – a Feather Down campsite in Carlton, Bedfordshire. Here’s what they thought of their stay…
We’ve just got back from a weekend glamping at New Barn Farm, a luxury Feather Down campsite that’s an hour’s drive out of London. It’s only a 20-minute journey from our house in Bedford, but I had no idea it was there – the entrance in the sleepy village of Carlton is really well-hidden, and the farm itself is tucked away at the end of a mile-long track. Once you get there, you’re greeted with miles of unspoiled countryside and complete and utter peace and quiet – apart from a fair bit of bleating and clucking from the animals, of course.
We chose New Barn Farm because it was so close to home – we arrived straight after school on Friday and went home on Sunday with plenty of time to get ready for another crazy week. We’d received a welcome pack via email before our stay, which included a list of what we needed to bring. I’ve never been glamping, so I wasn’t sure if we’d need all the usual camping gear – bedding, plates, cool box etc – and fired off a load of questions to Hannah, who owns the farm, the night before. She was very helpful and explained we didn’t need any of it, which was a relief considering how much other stuff we’d already squeezed into the car.
Real beds and a proper loo – our Canvas Lodge
It all made sense once we arrived. Hannah helped us load all our bags onto a 4×4 buggy and drove us down to where we’d be staying – a huge safari tent kitted out with pretty much everything you can think of. We stayed in a Canvas Lodge, which has a proper toilet (no midnight wee trips!) and cold running water in the kitchen sink, but no shower (there’s a communal shower block). There’s also the option of upgrading to a Canvas Frills lodge, which has an en-suite bathroom and warm running water, plus a wooden terrace and extended canopy out the front.
Inside the tent, there are three individual bedroom areas – one with bunk beds, which the kids slept in, plus a cute cupboard bed for an adult or two kids, and another double bedroom. All beds have proper mattresses and duvets, and there was bedding provided. I had noticed a ‘reddy beddy service’ to have all the beds pre-made on arrival at £5 per person, but decided against the extra expense. I can honestly say I’d have been happy to pay double that once I was faffing around in the heat, trying to work out which sheets fitted which beds, and attempting to get them onto the bunks. I’d recommend splashing out if you’re not staying for long and would rather spend those 30 minutes flopped in a deck chair.
The kitchen and living area at New Barn Farm
The main living area was huge – plenty big enough to spread out in if you get bad weather and end up staying inside. The floors are wooden and there’s a proper dining table, cooking area, kitchen sink and a wood-fired stove with hot plates that we used to boil a kettle on and cook a fry-up on Saturday morning. Things like washing up liquid, tea towels and all crockery and cutlery are provided – including a cafetiere for a proper coffee.
A couple of crates of wood are provided for the stove and the fire pit outside, and we bought charcoal from the honesty shop to use with the Weber BBQ out the front. We pre-ordered a barbecue box with a selection of meats for £25, and picked it up from the fridge in the honesty shop when we arrived (more on the brilliant honesty shop in my post 15 reasons to visit New Barn Farm, over on my blog). There’s a huge cool chest in the tent, and you can borrow iced hot-water bottles to keep things cool inside it. There are oil lanterns and candles, but it’s worth bringing torches.
Extras at New Barn Farm – from hot meals to fresh pizzas
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