Travel Tips

The secret to choosing a quality glamping holiday – ten top tips

glampingThis week we have a guest post from Gary Swarbrooke, Director of Policy and Quality at Quality in Tourism, who offers his ten top tips on choosing a quality glamping holiday…

There is a common factor that unites us all whenever we spend our hard earned money and book accommodation. Whether we book a five star hotel or whether we seek something a bit different. This common factor is quality!

There’s been a real surge over the last few years in the popularity of glamping holidays. To support this, VisitEngland and its official assessment body Quality in Tourism have cultivated an alternative accommodation scheme containing a lengthy and diverse list of quality-assessed accommodation providers.

Glamping: the city dweller’s best friend

For decades there has been a huge divide between people who like to get back to nature in a tent and holidaymakers who would rather stay in a luxury cottage with all the mod cons, but now there is a very happy middle ground.

Glamping is the city dweller’s best friend – sometimes all you want is to get out of the rat race and the smog, back to a simpler life with fresh air and open, green space. But to those who are accustomed to a life of comfort, ease and extravagance, the idea of sleeping under canvas with no bed and no hot water can be horrifying. And this is why the concept of glamping has become so popular – because it offers all the joys of camping (the freedom, the simplicity, the chance to get back to nature) without depriving you of any of your home comforts.

The different types of glamping on offer

Glamping nowadays comes in many forms. At one end of the scale you have tents, tipis and yurts – all the fun of camping. At the other end you have weird and wonderful glamping concepts – such as a traditional caravan. Or even a tree house. Glamping is likely to be cheaper too – and in today’s economic climate, an inexpensive holiday where you cut costs without cutting quality is like gold dust.

Image by Ivan Lian.

Top ten tips to choosing a quality glamping holiday

With this in mind, and with the glamping sector becoming increasingly more popular, here are my top tips to help you choose a quality glamping holiday…

1. Are the basics being done right!?! – Just because you’re booking a glamping holiday, which perhaps is in a slightly different setting than the usual hotels you visit, you should still expect cleanliness, comfortable beds etc.

2. You are going glamping because it is unique, and fascinating. Make sure where you’re staying provides plenty of information on the history of the place, how it came about, what it used to be before etc. This should be all on their website. If it isn’t then perhaps there isn’t much to say, or they simply don’t care about telling you – Either way, it already suggests that this might not be a quality experience.

3. This could be the first time you’re going on a glamping holiday, and staying in a wigwam or tipi. Are there clear instructions and guidelines on the website or when you phone and book to what you should expect? Glamping can mean different things to different people so don’t assume its going to be a luxury tent or wigwam that you’ll be staying in.

4. When booking your glamping holiday, ask the owners about the layout of the site, mainly how the accommodation is spaced. Sometimes glamping operators put tents close together (particularly in the summer) to maximise profits. Make sure you’ve got plenty of privacy! You hear a lot more when glamping than you would if staying in a hotel – remember there’s no proper solid doors or wall!

5. Walking and cycling are two of the most popular activities undertaken by holidaymakers in the UK. Does the glamping accommodation you’re looking to book have a separate space for drying outdoor clothing and footwear? Are there boot scrapes and lockable undercover areas for safe overnight storage of bicycles. If you’re unsure, again check the website or simply phone.

6. Health and safety is more important than ever, especially if you are going to be sleeping in a room which perhaps wasn’t originally built to be used as a bedroom! Make sure the holiday owners have all the right procedures in place.

7. One in four of the UK population has a long-standing health problem or disability. Is the establishment you’re looking to book catered for those with mobility problems? Do they cater for those with hearing difficulties and the visually impaired too? This might not be relevant to you, but might be very important to one of your group members or your partner.

8. Â Are there on-site facilities such as a shop, leisure area, tourist information and laundry facilities? Make sure to ask!

9.  What activities are on offer? Will you just simply be sat around a fire, or is there lots to do e.g. clay shooting, horse riding etc? Also, what’s nearby? Any nice pubs/restaurants etc? Or will you be in the middle of nowhere? It’s what’s on-site and off-site that will help bring that extra bit of quality to your holiday.

10. Finally, is the establishment accredited? This is just as important for glamping accommodation as it is with four and five star hotels, if not more. It gives that seal of approval, and ensures that it is a quality establishment.


wagon glamping
Wagon glamping, image by Samuel Etienne.

At Quality in Tourism (QiT) we are the official assessment body for VisitEngland and provide ratings and accreditations to hundreds of alternative accommodation outlets throughout England. The grades we provide are based on industry research, meaning that consumers can book in confidence that a property will meet their needs. The assessments we undertake include NAS (the only scheme that rates the accessibility of visitor accommodation throughout England) a number of Welcome schemes (including Cyclists, Walkers and Families Welcome) and a number of awards given in recognition of exceptional quality.

So when booking a glamping holiday or an alternative accommodation establishment, look for the VisitEngland accredited quality rose. It will make all the difference.

Featured  image by ellekirshner, Flikr.


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