Cabins, treehouses and a rather stylish camping pod… there are options galore these days for anyone looking to book a wild weekend away in the British countryside, whether it’s in a Hampshire meadow or the Welsh mountains. For those seeking sanctuary from the modern world and an escape from the tech tyranny of email and social media, these luxe glamping experiences are for you.
Nr Petersfield, Hampshire
Best for… stylish glamping
In a glade overlooking a valley where rabbits, deer and pheasants pass by, is one of the prettiest retreats in southern England. There are three cabins in all. We stayed in Cedars Kabin, a handmade wooden bolthole for two, with a double bed (with superior linens) right next to a huge window, and an elegant deck outdoors, to make the most of that view over the private Bereleigh Estate. Interiors are impeccably stylish, all recycled wood and black fittings, with a small kitchen and a swish shower room (there’s also an outdoor shower). The owners thoughtfully provide all the kit you need, from toiletries and robes to spare ash logs for the wood-burner and ambient light controls. Outside is a fire pit, perfectly positioned for marshmallow-toasting, and a barbecue for more serious cookery. Best of all, thanks to clever positioning, privacy and isolation is almost guaranteed.
Stella loves: The chic outdoor bath is built into the wooden deck. Who needs a Jacuzzi?
Out and about: Walk directly off the estate around the Meon Valley on guided routes, or drive to nearby excellent village pubs, including The Thomas Lord (thethomaslord.co.uk) and riverside spot, The Shoe Inn (theshoeexton.co.uk). There’s also the market town of Petersfield, golfing at Goodwood’s two courses, and Portsmouth Harbour (which runs ferries to the Isle of Wight) is just 12 miles away.
Cabins from £150 a night (sleeps two); cedarvalley.co.uk
Nr Helston, Cornwall
Best for… nature lovers
High up on a hill in the Cornish countryside, these striking treehouses, hidden between trees and accessible by elevated walkways (not for the faint-hearted), are beautifully tranquil, with nothing but the bleat of sheep and hum of bees. The business is a family affair and the newly-built treehouses were six years in the making by a couple, assisted by their families. It was worth the wait. Autumn evenings are best spent cosying up by the outdoor firepit. Or if it’s nippy, back inside there’s a record player and dimmer lights to really set the mood. But there are also facilities to hand – stop off at the nearby Boatyard for your coffee fix. Best of all, it’s pet-friendly – dogs will love the long rambling nature walks.
Stella loves: The eco-friendly washing-up products to natural shampoo/soap, handmade in Cornwall.
Out and about: The treehouses are near the village of Gweek, three miles from Helston. Spend a day at Potager Garden, an abandoned plant nursery which has been converted and now hosts workshops and is home to a beautiful community cafe with a changing menu according to what’s in season (potagergarden.co.uk). There are also plenty of local pubs including the Black Swan, a cosy inn in Gweek (theblackswangweek.co.uk). Swimmers will love Grebe Beach, a secluded spot where there’s rarely a crowd.
Treehouses from £225 a night (sleeps two); canopyandstars.co.uk
Best for… beating the crowds
The owners of this working farm in the Vale of Pewsey (part of the North Wessex Downs) recently added five adult-only camping pods, two of which are dog-friendly. It’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, worth visiting for the views alone. The pods themselves, all shingle-clad, are a cross between upturned wooden boats and Hobbit houses. They all face northwest across the Vale towards Martinsell Hill, one of the highest points in the county. Inside, they’re simple but surprisingly spacious, pine-lined, with kitchenettes and underfloor heating to keep them toasty. The shared toilet and shower block is situated nearby. Outside, meanwhile, is a picnic table in a secluded garden area, next to a fire pit, which is perfect for roasting marshmallows. Stock up on fresh eggs, English wines and honey, which are all on sale at the farm.
Stella loves: Being so close to the animals – a resident flock of guinea fowl visit in the morning, horses graze in the field below, and rabbits scamper along the paths.
Out and about: The farm sits on the Great West Way (greatwestway.co.uk), the route from London to Bristol, along which you can find iconic sites including Stonehenge (english-heritage.org.uk) and the Roman Baths (romanbaths.co.uk). Plenty of local walks too, including The White Horse Trail. Further afield, the market town of Marlborough is a 15-minute drive north; while Heale Gardens are 40 minutes south (healegarden.co.uk).
Pods from £70 a night (sleeps two); totteridge-farm.website
Ty’r Onnen Treehouse
Ceredigion, West Wales
Best for… a digital detox
Leave the gadgets and emails behind – this wooden treehouse comes with everything you need to switch off including, crucially, no Wi-Fi. And the positioning, high up among the treetops in the Cambrian mountains, is just the place for a digital detox. From the top of the winding staircase is a stupendous view of rolling meadows – it’s the place to take breakfast. Evenings are best spent over the fire pit or indoors by the wood-burning stove. There are floor-to-ceiling windows, and a wood-burning stove to keep you feeling cosy all year round.
Stella loves: The welcome hamper, filled with everything from tea bags to towels to local produce.
Out and about: The pretty village of Talybont (not to be confused with Talybont-on-Usk in Brecon) is only three miles away via a winding single-track road. It’s home to two pubs: The White Lion (great for Sunday lunch) and The Black Lion Hotel (with a bistro restaurant). Though if you’ve booked a weekend stay, reserving a table is advisable for a traditional Sunday lunch at the latter ahead of time – the trimmings are just that good.
Treehouse from £150 a night (minimum two nights, sleeps two); wildwelshtreehouses.com
Edited by Laura Powell. Reviews by: Susie Rushton, Rebecca Harrison, Philip Wilson and Emilie Hill