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Antique living wagons on the banks of the River Bourne, with a charming orchard setting, a pub down the lane and a sense of history unlike anywhere else.

Some glamping sites build high-tech treehouses, others pluck for super-shiny Airstream caravans. But visit The Nut Plat Retreat in rural Kent and you'll be in no doubt of how best to go glamping in England. If you could bottle up the history of the British countryside and turn it into a quaint-as-they-come glamping site, The Nut Plat Retreat would be it. The glorious riverside setting – where horses chomp through grass on the opposite bank – combined with authentic, vintage accommodation avoids the 'quaint' becoming 'twee', while a handy location just 45 minutes outside of London make this a glamping site accessible for the quickest of quick breaks. If you want Kent with character, The Nut Plat Retreat is spot on.

On the northwest edge of the Kent Downs, this charming glamping getaway is full of history and intrigue. Glampers arrive to an 18th-century farmhouse, home of owners Duncan and Rachel, and are led along a shady, woodland path to the riverside clearing where the two antique living vans reveal themselves. Towed behind steam rollers during the 1800s, the vans are the real deal, complete with original wrought iron wheels and the old, heavy crank handle for applying the break. Inside, however, while a sense of history remains, interiors have been spruced up to provide a comfortable living space. There's a double bed, fold-out table, oak chairs, a wood burner and beautiful stained-glass windows from Rye Cinque Port in Sussex. Outside, meanwhile, each of the two wagons has it's own private kitchen space, shower room and toilet, along with a firepit and barbecue for late nights around an open fire (marshmallows provided!). Ransoms, the hut with the traditional green and yellow exterior, even comes with its own wood-fired hot tub – not something the 19th-century work force would have enjoyed!

While the living vans are things of beauty in their own right, the hidden setting is all part of the glampsite's appeal. On the edge of a nut orchard, glampers can pluck cobnuts straight from the trees or help out with the harvest, before wandering through the wild gardens of the farm. You needn't wander too far, either. The nearest pub – a proper local bolthole – is just a few hundred metres down the lane, while footpaths from the campsite lead you along cow-parsley-crowded field sides to other fine establishments. There's English Heritage-owned Old Soar Manor – a beautiful stone home built in the 13th century – a 20 minute walk away, or the National Trust's moated manor house, Ightham Mote (40 minutes). Or, of course, you could pick another good pub – The Swan on the Green – which has its own micro-brewery and a sunny beer garden. The choices are endless, the choices are charming and the choices are all excellent. You might just want to stay for longer.

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The Owner Says

Come to the Nut Plat Retreat for peace and quiet just 45 minutes from the middle of London.

Kick back on the river bank in the Garden of England and watch the natural world go by

Breathe

The two vintage living vans have been carefully restored to a comfortable standard with out compromising their heritage

Each has its own facilities - a well stocked camp kitchen, safari style shower and comfortable compost loo.

You can help yourselves to as many logs as you need

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