With a reputation as the Garden of England, Kent is home to some of the most fabled countryside in the South East and, with sheep dotting the chalky hillsides, it seems only appropriate that one of the most popular glamping holidays in Kent is to stay in a shepherd's hut. From traditional shepherd's boltholes, with a bed and a wood-burning stove, to more modern-day abodes, with kitchens and en suites, there are plenty of places to find your inner shepherd or shepherdess in the Kentish countryside. Here are just five of our favourites...
Free Range Glamping
There are two off-grid shepherd huts to choose from at Free Range Glamping; timber-clad Daisy, which sleeps two, and tin-clad Barbara, which is big enough for a family of four. They share a hilltop wildflower meadow at Bore Place Farm in Chiddingstone, which is part organic dairy farm, part historic venue, part eco-learning centre and, of course, part glamping site. Come in winter and it’s only the two shepherd’s huts sharing the views over the Edenbridge Valley, come in summer and there are two yurts in the meadow too. Either way, there’s plenty of space for going free-range, as the name suggests. The huts are suitably eco friendly with an en-suite composting loo, solar power for lighting and a wood-burning stove for heat. Each has made-up beds and a little equipped kitchenette with a gas stove. The site is on the edge of Chiddingstone, a well-preserved Tudor village, near Sevenoaks, just an hour outside London.
It’s not just green hills but also white cliffs that you get with a stay at Greenhill Glamping, as this site is just five miles from Dover Castle and two miles from the chalky south coast. But you don’t even have to go that far to immerse yourself in Kentish history as you’ll be staying amid it. The two shepherd’s huts at this glamping site in the Alkham Valley are not modern reconstructions but lovingly-restored originals. Step inside and you feel the history in many of the details that sit comfortably among the well-thought-out mod cons. Both huts are warmed by a wood-burner, have an electricity supply, mains water and en-suite bathrooms – not to mention a fully equipped kitchenette and made-up double bed. These adult-only huts are set up for two and each has a private location making them ideal for a romantic weekend away.
Ellenden Farm Glamping
In the hills overlooking Whitstable, Ellenden Farm Glamping is a large field with just a few grown-up glampers at a time. There are three adults-only shepherd’s huts, two bell tents, ten acres and incredible views across fields to the seaside town of Whitstable and the sea beyond. The shepherd’s huts here are deliberately basic – designed as a place to get away from it all. Inside there are made-up beds and a log-burning stove to keep you cosy but it’s off grid and cooking is done in the great outdoors – a gas barbecue is provided for that. There’s a composting loo in the field and an old army tent with washing-up facilities and a couple of sofas. Beyond all the basics, there’s a 200-acre woodland for you to explore and a two-mile walk into Whitstable or a five-mile one to historic Canterbury.
The Nut Plat Retreat
If you’re looking for a real taste of Kent, book a stay at the The Nut Plat retreat. The two huts here, Ransoms and Bomford, are antique living vans parked up beside the River Bourne on the edge of a Kentish cobnut orchard. Come between August and October and you’ll be able to pluck these Kentish hazelnuts straight from the tree. For a heartier meal, you can cook in the well-equipped camp kitchen or walk a short distance to the local pub. The vans, once hauled by steam engines in the 1800s, each sleep two and are kitted out with everything you need for cosy nights: a log burner and logs inside, a fire pit and seating outside – along with a few marshmallows to toast. There’s a compost loo and hot-water shower for each hut and if you book Ransoms you can add use of the wood-fired hot tub too.
For family-friendly shepherd’s hut glamping in Kent, look no further than Nethergong. This lovely site, combining camping and glamping, near Canterbury is perfect for kids. The campsite actively encourages wildlife and has a couple of ponds in which kids are encouraged to enjoy pond-dipping and frog spotting. There are now four shepherd’s huts and a Romany wagon alongside regular camping pitches. Each of the shepherd’s huts is big enough to sleep a family (of four or five) and comes kitted out with everything you need for your stay. There’s a wood-burning stove inside and a fire pit outside so you can toast marshmallows and tell stories around the campfire. The Romany Wagon is a cosier and more romantic space which is perfect for a couple on their own or with a young child. It is warmed by a little log burner and has an outdoor kitchen hut.