London’s nearest glamping site offers something for everyone.
London’s sprawl doesn’t end abruptly at a point where townscape suddenly becomes landscape, it has fringes where city bleeds into country. And near one of those fringes lies Home Farm Glamping, London’s nearest glamping site. Although only a few minutes’ drive from the end of the Jubilee and Northern Lines, it’s set in classic English countryside.
Near Elstree, Home Farm is a townie’s vision of a farm – no smelly dung heaps, black plastic bales or rusty machinery, everything is clean, neat and tidy. The views are lovely – beyond fields of waving grass you look up a gentle, cow sprinkled hill to some houses and a church steeple peeking over the tree line.
And the Home Farm Glamping site is delightful, a large meadow of thigh-high grass spaciously dotted with nine bell tents and three yurts around the perimeter, each with its own cut grass path.
Forget that big scout tent-thing of old or the one on the Camp Coffee label, these tents are proper 21st century jobs, fully insulated and waterproof with the centre pole 2.5m high so even basketball players can stand upright inside. All the tents and yurts sit on their own wooden deck.
Each tent or yurt has a really comfy double bed, complete with snugly soft duvet, to accommodate a couple, or a group of up to four (tent) or five (yurt) using extra single beds. It’s the classy thoughtful little things though which make a homely difference. There’s too many to detail but the tent pole is prettily wrapped in little lights, more lights and bunting festoon the tent entrance and there’s some nice, retro suitcases, which act as storage and a table.
All tents and yurts come with their own barbecue, so you can cook for yourself if you want, and a fire pit for toasting marshmallows and watching the flames dance as night falls. The meadow has a cut area for croquet and a large, Wicker Man-style communal fire pit.
The large open barn has other areas where you can eat, play table tennis or relax with friends. It’s also where you can find fridges to store your vital supplies of barbie food and drinks, cooking equipment (including a pizza oven) and free tea. The shower blocks are attractive and well-appointed, smart enough for the fussiest glamper.
There’s plenty of charcoal for each tent, as well as cool boxes and enough cutlery, crockery and glasses plus some growing herbs you can use. You can of course bring food with you and while arranging an online shopping delivery to the farm is possible, you can also get a delivery from Turner & George, Home Farm Glamping’s top notch butchery partner, who only provide the finest naturally reared meat.
Fresh air is great for the appetite and cook-outs are a summer must-do for some but if you don’t want that that great British barbecue smell of firelighter and sour smoke drifting into your tent, there are other options more in keeping with the glamping life.
The Meadow is Home Farm Glamping’s pretty on-site cafe tent where you can pre-book an evening meal (£15 per head) from a short menu of classic dishes, a cooked breakfast (£10), or a delicious afternoon tea (£15).
The Thai Chicken curry is delicious and the breakfast awesome.
Starting in 2019 every week during the summer Home Farm Glamping hosts a ‘’weekend starts now’’ Thursday night Supper under the Oak event. Food is served under the great oak tree in the meadow or in the lovely Indian tent if the weather is poor.
There’s a set menu (that fab Thai chicken curry features but so does a vegetarian option) (£10 per head for glampers, £20 for evening guests) served at one long table. Bring your own drinks. London-based workers can get out of the city for night, enjoy some great food and glamping, and easily get back to town that night or the next morning (pre-order a morning bacon roll and a taxi to the tube or Thameslink).
Home Farm Glamping’s recommended caterers Sainlo Events can whip up anything from bespoke picnic hampers or hog roasts to a four course sit down meal for two or 50 hungry campers. There are also several pubs within walking distance which offer good food and beer.
Accommodation at Home Farm Glamping is very affordable (rates start at £80 and £100 for one mid-week night in a tent and yurt respectively; it’s less per night, if you stay longer, but more expensive at weekend). Mid-week and weekend breaks are for city workers, friends and families, as well as corporate groups, hen weekends and gourmet supper clubs.
You can stay for only a night or, as there’s plenty to do in the area, for a week or more. Aldenham Country Park is within easy walking distance while Harry Potter World is a 15 min (6mile) drive. There’s lots of lovely walks around the lake or through woodland and fishing is a possibility with prior notice. Popular group activities which you can arrange include wine tasting, yoga, dance and life drawing classes.
I’m sure that there are people out there who think that to camp properly entails some discomfort and privation, feeling you haven’t really been camping unless you’ve suffered for it. Or have been scarred by wet and miserable childhood holidays. Home Farm Glamping reminds us that camping doesn’t have to mean discomfort, it can be so much more fun if you just add the right ingredients – lovely places to stay and some great food options.
So forget Carry on Camping – and Carry On Glamping!
Home Farm Glamping
Herts WD6 3AZ
Tel: 0781 403 89 89
Meanwhile, if you are looking for a similar type of experience, we’ve also reviewed Dandelion Hideaway in Leicestershire. So, whether you are from London or the Midlands, there’s something for you!