Glamorous Glamping at Bluebells, Dandelion Hideaway:
When I said to my friends that I was heading off for the weekend to go glamping, the looks of amazement on their faces were swiftly followed by peals of laughter. I have to admit to being a little hesitant myself about the request to review a glamping site. My only previous experience under canvas had been at a music festival; where the only concessions to comfort were blow up mattresses and new sleeping bags, and where the washing and toilet facilities were decidedly dodgy.
I can state categorically that there is nothing dodgy about the welcome from Sharon and John, or any of the facilities at the Dandelion Hideaway; a quiet and beautiful spot on a working goat farm in the East Midlands near to Market Bosworth.
We were welcome by John, who showed us where to park and then took us and our luggage via a mini tractor to Bluebells, our home for the weekend. This is probably the most romantic of the glamping ‘houses’ on the site, having not only the main ‘house’ but also a treehouse, and its own wood fired hot tub.
John showed us the ropes; how to keep the already warm water in the hot tub at the correct temperature, how to light the wood burning stove that served as both heater and aga-type oven, and what to do if the hot water went off. I have to admit to really liking the idea of sitting in the completely secluded hot tub as the sun set with a glass of wine in my hand, watching the rabbits eating the newly drilled crops in the neighbouring field! They are shown in the photo below first thing in the morning, too well fed and fat to move! I didn’t manage to get a shot of it, but we were treated to the very special sight of a barn owl hunting for prey as dusk fell. John told us that a pair of barn owls had recently returned to the farm after many years absence.
Inside the tent is, well, nothing like the inside of a tent! It has wooden floors, and is divided into 3 rooms, the sitting room and kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom with wooden floors and rugs throughout. The sitting room comes complete with a comfortable settee and chairs, a kitchen table and chairs, a day bed, and a well-equipped kitchen with the afore-mentioned aga-type stove. The furnishings are shabby chic style, comfortable, and very pretty. There is a huge amount of attention to detail with some quirky touches.
It takes about 30 minutes for the wood fired oven to reach enough heat to boil a kettle, for a faster cup of tea, there’s a camping gas stove secreted away! We felt very spoilt, Sharon had baked us a delicious Victoria sponge and made us a casserole, so all we had to do was warm it through and open the wine! We were also left half a dozen freshly laid free-range eggs for our breakfast, and were told to help ourselves to eggs from the hen-house if we fancied any more.
The antique furniture continues into the bedroom, which came with an ultra comfortable and huge sleigh bed. The slow burning tea lights gave it the most romantic and cosy feel that can be imagined.
The bathroom came equipped with scented candles, goat’s milk soap, shampoo, conditioner, cotton wool balls, shower caps; in fact just about anything you could possibly need. I couldn’t resist it, and with the rain lashing against the canvas I got into a hot candle-lit bath!
The tree house next door was again incredibly pretty, with the most stunning views across the farm. It had twin beds, a sink, and a toilet; and would perhaps be ideal if you had children, they could feel grown up but be right next door.
In the morning we wandered up to the farm shop, which operates on an honesty basis, and bought milk, bacon, goats cheeses and butter. The shop sells lots of other dried goods such as good quality dried pastas and sauces, biscuits, cake, marshmallows to toast on the communal camp fire, charcoal for your barbecue, and a whole range of candles, crockery and wooden boards. There is also the facility in the shop to charge phones/kindles etc.
This is a working goat farm, and John took great pride in telling us about his flock which is made up of 3 breeds of goats. He showed us the feed for the goats, told us all about their welfare, why they are kept in barns rather than in the fields (they get foot rot), and how the kids are cared for. We were told that we could pet the kids anytime we wanted as they love affection, and this was an offer far too good to pass by. The kids were utterly adorable, a little nervous at first, but as they got bolder and bolder they were happy to see if we were tasty!
John invited us to see the milking in the afternoon, and we made sure that we were back in time for this. It’s highly mechanised and very scientific, each goat wears a tag which is electronically monitored and the milk yield of each goat is measured and recorded. The milk is collected to be pasteurised and is then turned into hard and soft cheeses as well as the milk. We were very amused that some of the goats had eaten so much during the day that they had to be given a helping hand to exit the milking stalls as they got stuck!
For city dwellers like us, just being in the country with a chance to walk and blow away the cobwebs is usually enough. But if you are in this part of the country, there are plenty of things to see and do outside of the farm. We had trips out to the National Space Centre in Leicester, the Battle of Bosworth Exhibition, and on the drive home we stopped off at the farmers market in Market Bosworth and then at Kenilworth Castle and Gardens.
I really can’t praise this highly enough, at the end of the weekend I felt really relaxed and refreshed and ready to face the rigours of city living again.
The Dandelion HideawayOsbaston House Farm Osbaston Leicestershire CV13 0HR
We were guests of the Dandelion Hideaway.