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Do NOT book a glamping site until you've read these tips!

Holidays with kids are… let’s be honest… not relaxing.

Before we had Lula and Raffi, we used to go to Spain at least once a year, but the thought of coping with the heat with a highly energetic three year old and a cranky five month old baby does not sound appealing.

Last year however, we decided we needed to go somewhere and glamping in the UK felt like a good happy medium:

  • Something with an element of adventure that the kids would love

  • Not too far to travel and not too much stuff to pack

  • We could team up with other parents to help spread the load

So we booked into a couple of different glamping sites - one in Wales and Savage Glamping in Suffolk (which is where the photos in this article are from).

(If you like the look of Savage Glamping, use my code MYKINDAMUM15 to get 15% off!)

Both holidays were good fun but what I discovered is that there are certain elements that really make AAALLL the difference when you’re glamping with children.

So here are my top ten “must haves” for a family glamping holiday…

1. As Much Equipment As Possible

The site should always provide bed linen as a bare minimum (I’ve found some that don’t!) Bringing your own bedding for a whole family takes up valuable space in the car, which you're gonna need for snacks.

Beyond that, things like blankets, torches, lamps, tea towels, toilet roll etc. are really helpful. The more they provide, the less you have to bring.

The best sites (like Savage Glamping) will also have an honesty bar, where they sell all those little bits and pieces you might forget, such as toothpaste, suncream and washing powder.

2. Play Equipment

Getting back to nature is fun but if your kids are anything like mine, they need constant entertainment.

An on-site playground is a great addition but some sites will also provide things like sports equipment, garden games, board games and stationary for arts and crafts. Some even host crafting activity days on site!

Make sure there’s plenty to keep them busy or you’ll end up herding them away from the fire every 5 minutes.

3. Safe Space

Out of the two glamping sites we visited last year - one was surrounded by dense woodland on steep slopes and the other was in a flat, open, fenced off field.

Have a guess which was more relaxing when the kids were running wild...

4. Safe, Comfortable Sleeping Arrangements

Make sure the sleeping set up is suitable for your family’s safety and comfort. This sounds obvious, but one site I enquired with had sheds that slept 2 people per shed. They recommended we put the kids in their own shed and lock it from the outside “for safety”.

Errrm…. that’s a hard no Pedro.

Pods look fun but they tend to be very small inside, with kids having to sleep on sofas or pull down beds. When you’re all in there it’s going to be very crowded and uncomfortable.

We found the best set up is a large bell tent with floor beds for the kids, or space for a travel cot. This provides plenty of space for everyone to sleep and move around plus you’re in with them so everyone is safe.

5. Modern Bathroom Facilities

If you’ve got little kids or babies, you do NOT want to be squatting over wood chips by candlelight, believe me! I'm all for green camping, but this doesn't have to mean compost toilets anymore - there are eco-friendly ways to set up proper flushing toilets too.

The bathroom facilities also need to be spacious enough to get into with your kids. The one we went to in Wales had teeny tiny shower cubicles that were a nightmare to use with a toddler. Towels and clothes ending up in puddles, stepping in and out of flip flops, tripping over your kid. Nightmare!

It was a different story altogether with these hotel-style bathrooms at Savage Glamping. Plenty of space to move about and get dry and dressed afterterwards. There was even a flat box, where you could lay your changing mat for nappy changes.

You also don't want the bathrooms to be too far away or shared by too many other tents. I saw some that were a good 300m walk and used by a whole campsite, as well as the glamping tents. When your kid’s desperate for the loo, you do not want a 10 minute walk followed by a 20 minute wait in a queue!

6. A Well-Equipped Indoor Kitchen

BBQs and campfires are great but if the weather turns or you need something quick for the kids, a proper kitchen is a life saver.

Savage Glamping has a big kitchen shed with an oven/stove and a microwave plus all the prep space and equipment you could possibly need, which was so much easier than trying to make sandwiches on your lap or a picnic table.

It sounds silly but even washing up can be a chore at some glamping sites. At the one we went to in Wales, you had a little outdoor kitchen by your tent, but no running water, so you had to carry all your dirty dishes 200m down a steep hill to a communal sink and back again several times a day, with kids trailing behind. It was such a hassle compared to having two indoor kitchen sinks and cupboards/drawers right next to them!

Amazingly, Savage Glamping also had a washing machine and drying rack on site, which was a godsend with kids who constantly spill! We used it two or thee times on our week-long stay, which also meant I didn’t have 3 tonnes of dirty washing to sort when I got home.

7. Fridge Space

A lot of the sites I looked at only had one small under counter fridge for everyone to share, which is hopeless. The site we went to in Wales provided a cool box, but this got annoying and unsanitary very quickly. You have to keep changing the cool packs, everything gets soggy and you end up with your raw burgers rubbing up against your beer bottles. Plus you can't have anything frozen.

Savage Glamping had two full size fridge/freezers, which was just about right. Each tent/family had 1-2 shelves to themselves plus space in the veg drawer, door shelves and freezer. Perfect for keeping your food and drinks separate and tidy plus the kids could have lollies and I got ice in my G&T! Happy Mummy :)

8. Communal Area

Most glamping sites provide a fire pit, BBQ and some seating by your tent but it can get a bit boring being stuck in front of your tent the whole time, plus you're constantly trying to keep the kids away from the fire.

We found that having a communal seating area, separate from your tent, made a huge difference. It was somewhere to gather together for evening drinks or morning coffees and we actually met some really lovely other families there too.

9. Child-Friendly Local Activities

You won’t be staying on the campsite all day, so make sure there’s plenty to do in the local area. Beach trips are ideal or messing about on a river.

I’d recommend checking out what’s on before you go, planning out your itinerary and booking in anything that needs booking.

10. Advertised As Family Friendly

When you’re browsing websites, make sure they promote themselves as "family friendly" (e.g. pictures of kids on the site, games and activities for children).

Some sites are designed more for relaxing adult/couple getaways and there’s nothing worse than having to spend the whole trip shushing your kids cos they’re disturbing the neighbours! If there are other families with kids there too, your little ones might make holiday friends which is lovely.

Having spent a great deal of time researching all this, I can honestly say Savage Glamping in Suffolk has it all and we’re very much looking forward to retuning again this summer!

If you’d like to book a stay at Savage Glamping use my code MYKINDAMUM15 to get 15% off.

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