Amber's Bell Tent Camping at Hopton Court Estate Amber's Bell Tent Camping

UK England West Midlands Shropshire

Family-friendly bell tent glamping in the trees, set on a 1,800-acre Shropshire Hills estate

Not many people in Shropshire can claim to have had their home designed by the same architect as Buckingham Palace. Yet, while it’s not as large or famous as the royal home, the beautiful stone country house of Hopton Court Estate is one of the rare exceptions. On the south eastern edge of the Shropshire Hills, discreetly tucked away among ribbons of trees, Hopton Court Estate was reputedly dreamt up by John Nash himself, with grounds by the last great landscape designer of the 18th century, Humphry Repton. While the house may be less palatial than Buckingham, the space certainly makes up for it. There’s some 1,800 acres in total.

Beyond the house and across open meadows The Riddings is found; a six-acre stretch of light pine and deciduous woodland, with gargantuan trees that have stood for generations. It is here, spread among the open spaces that Amber’s Bell Tents are located, a collection of six, fully furnished abodes, each decked out with real beds, a wood-burner and all the kit and clobber you need for cooking on a glampsite.

The glamping concept itself has been tried, tested and reviewed to much praise – Amber Wykes has set up her bell tents at several other country estates across the UK too – with a family-friendly feel and plenty of space. Rope swings hang from the lower branches of tall oaks and pine cones scatter the floor. Children love to scurry around looking for the largest or making friends through games of hide and seek. There’s a real sense of seclusion among the trees, aided, of course, by no WiFi or televisions and a positive approach to allowing campfires.

Walkers are particularly in their element. It’s just over a mile to the official boundary of the Shropshire Hills, while the estate itself is crossed by a number of footpaths (one leading to the local pub, less than a mile away). A hike west up Titterstone Clee Hill (the third highest top in the Shropshire Hills) is the quickest way to gain some altitude and enjoy views over Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, with the Brecon Beacons in Wales sometimes visible on a clear day. If you can’t cajole the kids into walking, it’s 10 miles to Bewdley where you can ride steam trains along the enchanting Severn Valley line. Or travel the same distance west to the foodie town of Ludlow, with independent shops aplenty and a magnificent ruined castle to explore.

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