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Full Circle

UK England North West England Cumbria Ambleside

  • Dogs welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
Unique living in the round

Let’s face it, Mongolia is a long way to go camping. And if the 20,000-mile round trip out to the desolate steppes sounds a tad too far for that night in a yurt camping experience, then look no further. Full Circle is camping with a round twist. For the uninitiated, a yurt is a traditional home of the nomadic tribes that eke out their eon-old existence in the steppes of East and Central Asia, from Iran to Mongolia. Essentially it is a wooden-lattice framed circular tent that supports a conical roof. Historically they’d be covered in animal hide and traditional folk designs, able to withstand the –50°C temperatures the nomads have to contend with. Thankfully, you’ll not have to endure such harsh extremes. 

Full Circle’s yurts sport their own wood-burning stove and with the massive log pile provided it’ll be like a Scandinavian sweat lodge come nightfall. These yurts are the real deal. Shipped in from the steppes, they’re crafted by a yurt maker in Ulaan Baatar, each one intricately and ornately decorated with traditional designs. Inside, it’s not as spartan as those that Genghis and his hordes would have decamped to after a hard day’s pillaging. Each yurt has a rug-covered wooden floor, and comfy double and single beds; they can sleep a tribe up to six comfortably with its reserve of blow-up mattresses. A large supply of candles, tea-lights, a small stove and armoury of cooking equipment, board games and books mean that once you’re in, you’ll never actually have to leave until your stay comes to an end. And that’s part of the ethos behind the camping here at Full Circle. Whilst at home we live our separate lives in our own quarter of our home, here whole families and friends enjoy communal living. 

Where the wooden slats of the yurt come together a small, jigsaw-like circular window stares skywards. Come night-time, you can lie back, watch the fire dance on the walls from your toasty bed and stare out at the starry lights above, or just listen out for the bark of deer in the woods. Each yurt is set idyllically amongst the woodlands surrounding nearby Rydall Beck, looking down the hillside with the faint sliver of Windermere sometimes visible on the horizon. Within earshot, Rydal Beck rumbles its way through the woods; a pathway at the back of the site follows the river up into the hills, past its endless falls, torrents, plunge pools and weirs, all the way to Rydal Water. But you needn’t go so far to escape into the surrounding green. There’s always Rydal Hall’s 30-acre woodland to explore, enough to keep you occupied for a week, with its sculptures and its 600-year-old sweet chestnut tree, as well as the international additions of towering redwoods and Japanese maples. Whilst this may not be Mongolia, come day’s end when you’re staring up at the night sky as the wood crackles in the hearth, it’ll at least feel like you’re a million miles from home.

Details

Facilities

Shared with Rydal Hall’s campsite, there are hot showers, a washing-up area, running water and an adventure playground for the kids.

Nearby

Get all J. R. Hartley and head to Esthwaite Water Trout Fishery (01539 436541), in Hawkshead, for a spot of fly-fishing. You can just buy a permit or get instruction, whichever suits.

Food & Drink

Check out the UK’s first wholly organic wine shop, Organico (01539 431122) in Ambleside. This traditional family business sources and stocks local and international vine produce.

Set in the 17th century coaching house of Glen Rothay Hotel, Badgers Bar (01539 434500) offers locally sourced food, washed down with local ales around the open fire. There’s often local bands playing, too.

Open

All year round.

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Location

Contact Full Circle, Rydal Hall, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9LX

Show Map

Getting There

Follow the A591 into Rydal and then follow signs for Rydal Hall. In the grounds stay on the track to the right, over the bridge and through the gate. Go up the steep track to the parking area.

Catch the 599 bus from Windermere train station, getting off at Rydal Church. Then, walk up the hill to the Hall. Follow the track through the gate and up the hill.

Reviews

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Rated ★★★★★ over 2 reviews

★★★★★

Full Circle

We have just returned from spending Christmas in a yurt at Rydal. We are a family of 4 with a 3 year old and a 5 year old and were hoping for a magical Christmas away from the hustle and bustle and a chance to spend some real time together as a family. We weren’t disappointed. We arrived and found Ben onsite to greet us and help us get our luggage up to the yurt. We had the lowest yurt in the field which was closest in proximity to the shower block which was great for the kids. The yurt in the top corner of the field looked wonderfully isolated and romantic for couples. My husband was first in the yurt and came running back down the field to get the rest of the bags saying ‘It’s amazing!’ And it was. We are seasoned campers and have an extensive set up with tent, etc and we also stayed in tipis this year which we loved. But these yurts are in a whole different league. I would not call it camping at all. We found the interior of the yurt more reminiscent of a canal boat than a tent (though circular, obviously!) In December with driving rain every day this level of facilities was necessary for us but to come back when the weather is better in spring then I am sure that the yurts would seem really luxurious The wood burning stove made the yurt really cozy, in fact the only issue we had was being too warm - we often had to keep the doors open. The yurt is lit with tea lights, and there are solar powered fairy lights but ours did not work. Luckily we had brought our own LED spotlights which we hung up around the yurt. These were fine and made it very cozy, although we did wish that we had brought a big camping lantern. Head torches were invaluable for reading at night and also for finding our way across the field to the toilet at night to avoid bumping into sheep! The beds were cozy and comfortable and the ‘kitchenette’ was well equipped. We used the oven on top of the wood burning stove to heat up meals that we had brought from home and it worked a treat. I imagine the heat in the yurt would be pretty overwhelming if you were using the oven to cook in the summer months, but there is a lovely campfire/BBQ area outside the yurts that it was to wet for us to use on this occasion. The shower block was fantastic - spotlessly clean and warm thanks to the underfloor heating. The showers were hot and there were power points to enable us to dry our hair (and some people recharged phones, etc.) Despite the awful weather we found plenty to do and it was lovely to snuggle up in the evening playing board games and listening to the rain on the roof of the yurt. The local pub, the Badger Bar is only a 5 minute stroll and serves good real ale and nice food. Ambleside was within walking distance even for our 3 year year old and there are a variety of things to do there. We went to the cinema and enjoyed a meal at ‘Lucy’s on a plate’. There are some stunning walks that you can access straight form the site and there is an adventure playground that would be great fun in drier weather. We had a fantastic week and enjoyed every moment. If the weather had been dry, or even snowy it would have been incredible. We hope to be back soon.
Jan 5, 2012 by alisonl
★★★★★

Full Circle

We had a really good week staying in our yurt although were lucky with the weather. There were 5 of us and there was plenty of space in the yurt, we brought a blow-up mattress for the 5th bed. The yurt stocks pretty much everything you need, but do bring your own gas lamp if you want to read in the evenings, candles are provided though.

It is worth mentioning that the yurts are up a steep hill, so don't bring suitcases as they will be very hard to take up to your yurt. We found that a small backpack for each person was far easier. You have to leave your car down the hill in the car park.

The toilets are also down near the car park, so there is a bit of a trek to and from the yurts, however the toilets and shower blocks are new and very good.

There are streams right near the yurts so the kids had a great time playing, there are lots of interesting walks, the vegetable garden to look at and you can even help yourself to veggies as long as you leave a donation! Also ask about the walk to the caves. The kids loved the fact we had our own BBQ area to have a fire and toast marshmellows!

There is a coffee shop on site - well worth a visit! The nearest town, Ambleside, has a very small Co-op and Spar - parking after 6pm is free. Do take lots of £1 coins with you, both for car parks (you have to pay for parking everywhere- other than at the campsite!) and can be used in the laundrette if needed.

The only other thing I would mention is that this is a campsite for tents as well, so although you do feel you have your own privacy in a yurt, there will be campers nearby and sharing the toilet blocks as well.

I give this a 5 out of 5 as it was really beautiful, lovely for kids, comfy and cosy inside and the cost of the yurts was far more realistic than some other places charge. But do be warned they book up early: we booked 18 months ago for this summer!

Aug 29, 2011 by Nicks

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