Anyone that knows me knows I’m not a camper. The idea of going without a proper shower or a flushing toilet for days on end is my idea of hell. But glamping, on the other hand, is an entirely different proposition I can definitely get on board with. I recently discovered Glampingly, a travel booking website dedicated to this very pursuit, which features a wide range of unique glamping properties in the UK and Europe, from canvas yurts to bell tents to vintage Airstream trailers to cute cottages and quirky tree houses.
In my quest for glamping bliss, I initially had my heart set on a treehouse but with our 1-year-old baby in tow, I decided that something based firmly on the ground was probably a safer option!
After perusing a wealth of properties, we selected Wingbury Farm based on its close proximity to London (1.5 hrs by car), its gorgeous rural location and the fact it had a relaxing wood-fired hot tub. Located just outside the small Buckinghamshire village of Wingrave (just north of the Chiltern Hills), it's ideally situated for those wanting to get away from it all.
Wingbury Farm consists of three self-contained glamping pods all set within spectacular English countryside in all its splendour, delivering city dwellers a chance to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city in exchange for a slice of countryside bliss.
Immediately in front of the pods, sheep graze happily in the fields, making guests feel at one with nature. And indeed, you are; during our weekend visit we saw partridges and geese and were informed by our host, owner Will Henderson, that a badger also roams the grounds, however, he didn’t grace us with a visit!
The pods are akin to being in a country-chic wood cabin; the curved natural wood panelled ceiling makes the pod feel more spacious and is pleasantly cocooning, while whitewashed tongue-in-groove panelling creates a homely atmosphere.
Small but well designed, the pods manage to pack in a lot, including a fully equipped bathroom with an electric power shower, a sink and a toilet - no outdoor long drops in the middle of the night here - a full kitchen with a sink, fridge/freezer, a 2- ring stove with oven, a flat screen tv, a dining table which transforms into a double bed and two seating areas, which can convert into small single beds, although we reckon it’s best suited for those with small children as it would be a bit cramped otherwise.
To ensure guests have everything they need to be self-sufficient during their stay, pots and pans, dishes and cutlery and all linens and towels are provided.
Our stay at Willow Pod
After a warm welcome from owner Will, we were shown our pod and all the fab little touches they provide such as freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, massive marshmallows for roasting, and all the essentials you need to start your morning right including 1-day-old farm fresh eggs, milk, orange juice and tea, coffee and sugar.
We quickly settled into our pod for the evening and were surprised by how incredibly cosy it was. Thanks to terrible circulation, I’m always cold, so I brought along extra blankets to ensure I’d be warm, but I needn’t have bothered as we were plenty toasty without as we watched tv while tucked snugly in bed.
We loved how in true camping style, the dining table converted into a double bed by using the seat cushions as a mattress, and we found it a real novelty to hide our bed away each morning to set the table for breakfast but I imagine one might tire of this delight after a few nights’ stay!
Ready for bed. Ready for breakfast!
While we adored the inside of the pod, the outside is where it really comes into its own. Each pod has a large deck with glass side panels affording uninterrupted views of the countryside and a picnic table where guess can enjoy an alfresco meal during the warmer months. As you can see, the view is still just as gorgeous in the cold autumn months, even with the early morning frost on the panels!
In addition to the deck, each pod has a unique Scandinavian wood-fired hot tub (complete with a backdrop of sparkling coloured fairy lights), to add a bit of magic as you soak away the stresses and strains of your day while you gaze at the endless fields without a care in the world. There aren’t any bubbles, though, so don’t waste your time looking for the bubble button like we did!
The hot tub by day ...
And by night...
Of course, no camping trip is complete without a fire and after a lovely dip in the hot tub, we enjoyed ending each evening sitting round the campfire, chatting in the dark of the night, while watching the stars twinkle as we roasted our marshmallows to perfection.
Rustic fireside benches
For those who like to BBQ, each pod also has its own BBQ grill complete with cracking countryside views to while away the time while you wait for your burgers to cook.
To ensure that everyone gets a good night’s sleep during their stay, there’s a no noise policy after 10:30, however, given how family friendly the property is, it seems highly unlikely that it would ever get too rowdy - apart from perhaps the odd over-excited child who's thrilled to be given the opportunity to run amok in the great outdoors. Ever the opportunist, Evan was desperate to go exploring and made it as far as the deck before I caught him sneaking out of the pod! Cheeky boy.
Exploring further afield
There is an abundance of things to see and do in the local area, so you won’t be bored, so long as you have a car to get around. Or you can just stay put and look at the views.
The views are gorgeous all day long from sunset to sunrise
Over the course of the weekend, we visited the stunning Waddeson Manor (which features in Downton Abbey and The Crown), the Natural History Museum at Tring (which has a wide assortment of unique animals forever preserved in all their glory thanks to the joys of taxidermy) and luxury shopping oasis Bicester Village. The renowned Whipsnade Zoo ZSL, which boasts an incredible array of animals, is also a short jaunt away.
After a two-day stay, as we drove along the motorway to return to London with a tinge of sadness at having to leave our little ‘home away from home,’ we found ourselves dreaming about what life would be like if we lived in the countryside fulltime – proving that sometimes a short break is more than enough to escape the doldrums of everyday life.
The Willow Pod at Wingbury Farm Glamping in Buckinghamshire is available from £150 per night, based on up to four sharing on a self-catering basis. There is a two-night minimum stay. To book, visit https://glampingly.co.uk
Upper Wingbury Farm
A summary of our stay at Wingbury Farm, Buckinghamshire
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