The Glamping Orchard
Longney, Gloucester, Gloucestershire GL2, UK
Set within a three-mile wide meander in the River Severn, the countryside around Longney could well be considered a hidden treasure. After all, when you’re just two crow-flown miles from the M5, you surely wouldn’t expect to find such perfectly peaceful pastures as these. In summer swathes of golden wheat fields shimmer in a breeze that funnels up the Bristol Channel, while green, squares of land sit like oddly shaped patches sewn into an old pair of khaki kecks. These, of course, are the orchard; relics of an era when apples were the main trade of the county. Today they make the perfect setting for a campsite.
Nestled among trees still bristling with beautifully ripe Russets during summer, The Glamping Orchard offers a peaceful retreat in the form of two luxury abodes. A charming bell tent (sleeping up to five), includes a wood-burning stove and plush double bed with foldout options for an additional three guests and comes accompanied by a beautiful bathroom building on wheels and a private kitchen hut. Rustic yet well equipped, bunting festoons the bell tent’s central pole and the hand painted coffee table has an almost Moroccan feel. Small touches like the wicker basket of extra blankets, meanwhile, reflect that ‘go the extra mile’ attention that's been put in.
The second and newest addition to The Glamping Orchard is the spectacular fully restored 1950s Warwick Knight caravan. Believed to be one of only three left in the world, this ‘Rolls Royce of caravans’ was no knight in shining armour when owners Ali and Rich first clapped eyes on it. Dilapidated, debris-filled and covered in a fine layer of green algae, the Warwick’s seven month renovation from relic of the road to staggering luxury caravan was even televised by George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.
Finished to the highest standard throughout, this unique caravan now offers glampers a luxury stay with more than ample room for a family of four. Inside there’s a large, cosy seating area, complete with a crackling log-burner, while the kitchen offers plenty of cooking space. The sleeping area is separated by sliding doors so that you can enjoy a drink by the fire when the kids are slumbering. It includes snug bunk pods for the kids and a comfy double bed for two adults with fantastic orchard views. A charmingly rustic shower-on-wheels is adjacent, as is the compost loo. It’s stand out feature though is undoubtedly the elaborate roof garden that once adorned the Warwick Knight at an exclusive Earls Court exhibition in 1952. Here guests can stretch their legs, or sink into a beanbag, while enjoying views of the River Severn or the starry skies above.
The Glamping Orchard positively exudes a sense of relaxation and has precisely the laid-back attitude required for a campsite whilst still being wonderfully resourceful. If you’re hungry, you’re welcome to pick apples from the trees, while those that fall to the ground are still not wasted, instead collected up and fed to Margot, the smallholding’s pet pig! Chickens populate the site – you can collect their fresh eggs for breakfast – and the horses and ponies welcome trap rides. Is there a more quintessentially countryfied experience than a horse and cart ride down to the local pub for a pint of Gloucestershire cider? After all, when you’re glamping in an orchard it would be rude not to, right?