Friday, 7 June 2013

Glamping Fun

I interrupt this spate of posts about Australia, to bring you one about something a little closer to home! This weekend, I went on a dear old friend's hen party, which was a glamping trip in the Kent countryside, not far from our hometown, at Bloomsburys Biddenden.

Bloomsburys used to be a garden centre, but has recently had a revamp and transformed itself into a lovely relaxing tearoom/restaurant, arts centre, complete with farm shop and glamping site. Being so closed to home, I got the train to Ashford International straight from work and got my mum to drive me to the site and pick me up again on Sunday which was uber-handy, but other girls who took the train went to nearby Headcorn and got a taxi, or drove, it's easily reachable from Tunbridge Wells, Ashford or Maidstone.

We had a lovely teepee decked out with mattresses for five of us, a large tent with a terrace (with actual real beds) and a caravan, which was a little musty but had a kitchenette with a fridge which was promptly filled with prosecco for the do as well as a 2 bedrooms, one was empty but for a mirror so that was used as the hairstyling room by us 16-odd girls. We had electricity and thus heaters in both tents, and loads of benches and space outside to spread ourselves out. 

There seemed to be another two groups on site, but we all had plenty of space to ourselves, one group was another much quieter hen do and another a mixed group who seemed to be having a blast, but nobody got in each others way and there was no cause for complaint between any of us about noise.

The bathrooms on site were fab, four cubicles with a toilet, sink and decent shower, which were in the main hot enough. One of my concerns usually when camping is the bathrooms so when I heard this place had luxury bathrooms I thought, "do they, do they really?" but I was pleasantly surprised by the facilities available.

On Friday night, we had ourselves a barbeque with food the bridesmaids had ordered beforehand before lighting outselves a campfire and toasting marshmallows, and then popping away from a dip in the hot tub. Nb: first proper summer Friday evening + hot tub + prosecco = good times.

On Saturday morning, the bridesmaids had arranged for a local beautician, Sophie to come and do mini treatments for everyone that wanted them for a very reasonable price per person. I was weighing up massage versus manicure but after seeing one of the other girls coming back from her massage absolutely blissed out, I knew I had to go for that, and it was 20 minutes of heaven.

We had afternoon tea at the venue, which was a little later than planned. The people that run it are very laidback, and despite being told several times we wanted the tea at 2pm, they prepared it for 3pm.  This was the only real gripe though, because they are so laidback, we were left to our own devices for the duration.

The staff were helpful and clearly described to us the sandwich fillings and cake flavours I personally found the afternoon tea a little sparse, but then I like to eat a lot of food., I could have done with someone else's portion!

We took a mini bus to Tunbridge Wells where we had a refined cocktail in Hotel Du Vin, doled out the dare cards and tottered off to Pitcher and Piano, for more, far less refined drinks and dancing. Luckily, everyone abandoned the dare cards pretty quickly, mine was to go to the bar with my skirt tucked into my knickers so you can imagine my relief! The minibus driver from Clarkes arrived to collect us at 02:30 and we headed back to baseglamp, where we had a hilarious time trying to find the footpath leading to the side gate, as the main gate had been locked. The "footpath" was an unlit mudbath so this took about 20 minutes, with 16 girls shrieking as mud oozed into their peeptoes!

If you're planning a hen do or just a holiday in this area I thoroughly recommend this. Here is what the weekend cost me, which is obviously based on our own itinerary and approx 16 glampers (a couple of the girls could only stay one fo the two nights)

£40 glamping
£13.50 high tea
£8 treatment (based on a deal offered by Sophie)
£5 hot tub
£25 Food and drink (the bridesmaids did an online food shop at Tesco and had it delivered to one of their houses before arriving)
£13.50 Minibus
£21.20 Train to Ashford from London (with Network railcard)
The rest is up to you...

The contact details for Bloomsburys are:

If you want to speak to Sophie about potential beauty treatments at the site or elsewhere locally, you'll find her website here.