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Camping & Glamping

Surrounded by the sights and sounds of the natural world, a camping holiday can be a great way to disconnect from our daily lives and reconnect with nature and loved ones, as Lisa de Silva explains

Whether you are glamping in Somerset, ice camping in the Antarctic, safari tenting in the Serengeti or staying at a UK campsite, little beats a night sleeping under canvas for igniting the senses. While in the past camping was considered a cheap and basic holiday option, with windswept tents, damp sleeping bags and burnt sausages, today it can be as upscale or affordable as desired. With an endless choice of destination and location, camping offers unlimited scope to create a holiday tailored to your personal requirements. From solo trips, couples, groups of friends and family holidays, all types and size of party can be accommodated.

What’s more, camping offers sustainability and for those wanting to travel responsibly, it is the ideal choice. Add to this, the growing body of evidence that the Great Outdoors is excellent for improving our physical and mental health, it’s easy to see why camping has soared in popularity over recent years.


Today’s modern tents are more protective, waterproof, and comfortable than in the past and offer a range of layouts to suit all. Family tents have
a living area with bedroom pods leading off and can include added comforts such as porches and carpets. By contrast, pop-up tents sleep one or two people and are great for festivals, while backpacker tents are compact, lightweight and offer enhanced weather protection.

Tent shapes also offer a myriad of choice and include dome, tunnel, bell, and tipi styles. If head height is important, opt for a tunnel tent. Other factors to consider are pitch size and fees (especially for larger tents). For large families and groups, adding a porch is an easy way to increase living space without paying for an enlarged pitch.

How easy the tent is to put up is another consideration. More recently, inflatable tents have increased in popularity, as they can be fast to assemble, with traditional fibreglass and steel tent poles replaced by air-filled beams. Before investing, it is definitely worth taking the advice of both seasoned campers and  specialist retailers.

For those who want to spend  evenings around the campfire without investing in a tent, many campsites offer pre-erected tent rental options, so you can try before you buy.


Having the right equipment is essential to get the most from a camping break. While the basics include a tent, sleeping bag and portable stove, taking a few luxuries will enhance the experience. An inflatable mattress, camping toilet, battery or solar powered lanterns and fairy lights, chairs and table, hammock, fire pit (where permissible), USB power bank, cafetiere, as well as a cool box with luxury food and drink, will all add to the level of comfort and vibe.


For those not prepared to trade comfort for a more back to nature experience, glamping is a great option. Synonymous with large bell tents, yurts and tipis, glamping combines the fun of the Great Outdoors with the comforts of a cottage holiday. With a focus on ‘glamourous camping,’ expect comfortable beds, ensuite bathroom, wood burning stoves, fridge, and outdoor cooking facilities.


While many will be drawn to the romance of wild camping, others will want the facilities of a campsite. These vary from a shower and toilet block, electricity, and drinking water tap, right through to shops, cafés, bars, restaurants, laundry facilities, swimming pools, fitness centres, evening entertainment, as well as children’s clubs and activities.

Clearly the choice is dependent upon each holidaymaker’s individual preferences. That also goes for location, with sites ranging from rural to coastal, remote wilderness, farms, small-scale sites, and large holiday-park sites.


The freedom to simply pack up and go is one of camping’s main attractions. Both Europe and the UK have many glorious opportunities for outdoor adventure under canvas with easy and straightforward travel options. While many of these trips will be memorable, the wider world offers some truly incredible once-in- a-lifetime camping experiences which are worth considering.

These include listening to creaking ice and chattering penguins while ice camping in the Antarctic, staying in a luxe safari tent in deepest Africa, sleeping in a Bedouin tent under the stars of an Arabian sky, listening to the call of the wild in the Amazon rainforest and spending time in a traditional Mongolian yurt amid the country’s epic scenery, Buddhist monasteries and nomadic tribes.

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