Once upon a time, the camping pod was the wooden alternative to a tent – providing little more than a roof over campers’ heads. Not so any more. Glamping has taken the pod and sent it up market, with accommodation options today that include fully functioning kitchens, king-sized beds, en-suite bathrooms and plenty more besides. Camping pods have become glamping pods, often with a capital 'G'. And few places encapsulate the luxury available than this hand-picked collection of eight luxury glamping sites where the pods even have hot tubs too…
Catgill Farm, Yorkshire
The luxury pods at Catgill Farm are perfect for a spot of family glamping. These cute-looking cabins are cleverly constructed to sleep up to six with a double bed, bunks and a sofa bed too. There are three on site – each features a shower and toilet, kitchenette, Wi-Fi, central heating, a TV and, out front, that all-important hot tub. Camping, if you can call it that, doesn’t get much more comfortable. The family appeal goes further as this farm-based site usually offers plenty of playmates thanks to sharing the space with a pair of bell tents and 160 grass pitches for campers. The site has views of the beautiful Wharfe Valley and there are family-friendly attractions including a farm park and railway within walking distance.
Waenfechan Glamping, Conwy
A pair of little cabins with big views make up Waenfechan Glamping. With a spectacular vantage point looking west to Snowdonia, it’s no surprise that half of each cabin’s space is outside; a decked veranda with table, chairs and a hot tub. These compact cabins are just for two with a corner sofa that pulls out in to a double bed from where you can see straight out of the west-facing glass doors to the high peaks. The cabins are self contained and each has a kitchenette and bathroom. Set on a quiet, wildlife-friendly part of a family farm, this is a great place to relax. You can walk from site to the National Trust’s Bodnant Garden or drive 20 minutes to reach the coast at Conwy or Llandudno.
Humble Bee Farm, Yorkshire
The little pod glamping village at Humble Bee Farm will delight kids with its pint-sized proportions, duck pond, play area and free-range hens. Book in to one of what Humble Bee Farm calls its “Running Water Deluxe Wigwam Cabins” and you’ll be delighted too. The clue is in the name: these cabins have their own en suite bathrooms with flushing loos and showers and a hot tub outside too. They also have glass-fronted doors and a whole host of little extras that make them the most glam of the glamping options on site – though you will need to bring your own bedding. The site is in the lovely Yorkshire Wolds within reach of the county’s seaside resorts including Scarborough.
Tan-y-Capel Hideaway, Gwynedd
Secluded stays are pretty much guaranteed at Tan-y-Capel Hideaway on Wales’ Llŷn Peninsula. This pod with a hot tub stands alone in a three-acre garden in the hamlet of Ceidio. Sleeping up to three with a double bed and a single futon, it offers self-contained, self-catering stays with an en suite bathroom and kitchenette as well as a gas BBQ outside by the tub. From here, you can explore the stunning beaches of this north Welsh peninsula – making sure to call in at the legendary Ty Coch Inn on pretty Porthdinllaen beach – or head for the heights of Snowdonia’s biggest mountains.
Peaks and Pods, Yorkshire
The Gold Top pods at this Yorkshire glamping site are the cream of the crop. Categorised like the milk that used to be bottled on site at Boustagill dairy farm, the pods here fall in to three categories with the two Gold Tops providing the most luxurious stays thanks to the private hot tubs which sit outside. The pods are cedar-clad, insulated and self-contained with an en suite shower and toilet and a fully-equipped kitchen. Marshmallows and logs mean a glampfire is easily enjoyed at each pod’s private off-ground fire pit but there’s a communal space too; a covered area with games and a wood-fired pizza oven. Situated between the Forest of Bowland and the Yorkshire Dales, it’s a perfect spot for walkers and mountain bikers.
Brynllwyd Glamping, Ceredigion
As pod glamping goes, the one at Brynllwyd is pretty big. It’s large enough to accommodate five and, unlike many pods, has a separated main bedroom. The provided facilities and equipment (en suite bathroom with heated towel rail, fully-equipped kitchen with microwave, oven and hob) make this more like a teeny little self-catering cottage – but then you step outside. Like all good glamping, this place is as much about the outdoors as the indoors. It has a large decked area with a picnic table, sizeable hot tub and a big fire pit along with expansive views of the Cambrian Mountains. You’ll have the whole six-acre site, complete with its own woodland and lake, to yourselves (apart from owners Sue and Darren) as it’s currently the only glamping accommodation on site.
Wingbury Farm, Buckinghamshire
Leave the office at 5pm on a Friday and you could be sinking in to your own private hot tub at Wingbury Farm by the time Big Ben strikes six. Not that you’ll hear it from here. This site may be just half an hour outside London but the rural location makes it feel a million miles away. It’s the perfect bolthole for Londoners who want to escape the city for a weekend. Three glamping pods, each sleeping up to four, share a flat camping meadow on this Buckinghamshire farm site. Two of them have hot tubs. All have en suite bathrooms with power showers, fully-fitted kitchens with fridge, freezer, electric hob and ovens. Comfy sofas convert in to beds and brick-built barbecues and fire pits help make the most of the rural setting – along with those hot tubs, of course.
Castle Farm Holidays, Shropshire
Pack bedding and beach towels if you book a stay at Willow, the only one of four pods at Castle Farm Holidays with a hot tub. All are idyllically situated next to small wooded dell with a stream running through it on Castle Farm just a couple of miles from the Welsh border in Shropshire. It’s a great location for walkers with the Shropshire Hills, the Dee Valley and Offa’s Dyke Path all within reach and a network of footpaths starting almost on the pod step. The pods all have cushioned benches which convert in to beds (but not bedding) and a kitchenette with microwave, kettle and fridge. A modern shower block is a short stroll away.