My holidays come in varying types. Sometimes I will camp. This will involve a tent, a camp stove (or maybe just a pub), a communal ablutions block, and being outdoors for pretty much 24 hours a day. Sometimes I will stay in a (good value) hotel. This gives me a comfortable room with door and a lock, a bed ready made-up with linen, an en-suite bathroom including towels, in room tea making facilities (vital), somewhere to sit, and a television. I’m really very happy either sleeping on the floor in the great outdoors, or spending my cash on something a bit more luxurious.
Glamping, sits somewhere in the middle. It’s the outdoors-life and communal side of camping, with the comfort and effort level of a hotel. Both camping and hotelling and neither at the same time. Sounds good, don’t you think, the best of both worlds? I was invited to try it for myself over at Hidden Valley Yurts in South Wales, and you won’t be surprised to know that I thought this was an excellent opportunity to try something a bit different.
Hidden Valley Yurts, Wye Valley, South Wales.
Hidden Valley Yurts
Hidden Valley Yurts is a glamping site on Lower Glyn Farm in the Wye Valley, South Wales. Set in 80 acres of meadow and woodland, the site has five Mongolian yurts spread out along a field next to a stream. This isn’t a campsite with a couple of Yurts added, this is a dedicated glamping site good for up to five families looking for something a bit more luxurious than camping while remaining connected to the outdoors. My visit was as part of a press trip organised by the owners to showcase the site to a group of bloggers from all kinds of writing niches; we spread ourselves out over four of the yurts and were encouraged to get to grips with the site as a family coming here on holiday would.
The walk to the Yurts is steep and can be slippery. But the owner will happily deliver you and your luggage in his buggy at the start and end of your holiday.
The traditional Mongolian Yurts, which were imported direct from Mongolia and so can carry the title with pride, are large, cosy and comfortable. The first thing I noticed were the cute brightly coloured doors through which you enter; they seemed to both stand out from the surrounding hills but also looked like they completely belonged here.
Yurt 2. My home for the trip.
Inside I was anticipating something that felt small and dark – I’d brought my head torch and a camping lamp with me – but was pleasantly surprised by how light they were. Yurt 2 could easily sleep seven; there was a double bed and single day bed, and four single futons set up as chairs but that were super easy to turn into comfortable beds for adults or kids. The décor was what made the single-roomed Yurt – wall-hangings, lights, cushions, rugs all put there to keep guests cosy and comfortable.
A traditional Mongolian daybed. Certainly better than a camping mat!
The wood-burning stove in the centre is such a treat; we camped in March and definitely needed it for warmth – it was genuinely so lovely to have a roaring fire going while we relaxed and drifted off to sleep.
Inside one of the Yurts.
Each Yurt comes set on its own private decking area complete with brick built barbecue, but thanks to the March weather we didn’t really get to make the most of that – well, except the welly pegs strategically placed outside the door!
Yurt 1 has its own private kitchen for occupants who’d like to do their own thing, while the other four Yurts share a large communal kitchen set on a huge partly-covered veranda where you can cook, eat, chat with other “glampers” or spend your evening playing a (provided) board game or two. The kitchen is large and well equipped with way more than you’d normally find in a camp kitchen; ovens, microwaves, fridges (one per Yurt), a freezer, dishwashers, crockery and cutlery, pots and pans, and storage cupboards for each Yurt. Some of my fellow glampers used the facilities to cook up all kinds of wonderful things, having had a supermarket delivery direct to the site the afternoon of their arrival; I personally didn’t do much more than make (plenty of) cups of tea, but should I be here on a family break I would certainly make the most of the flexibility that is having a kitchen when away from home.
Communal kitchen and decking area.
You might be a big step up from bog standard camping here at Hidden Valley Yurts, but you must still share the toilets with other guests. The ablutions block is as you’d expect to find on any decent campsite; a couple of flushing toilets and two showers (one over a bath) might seem like too few, but there are also a couple of composting loos close to Yurt 1, and even with a site full of bloggers who took part in all kinds of outdoorsy activities over the week, I didn’t have to queue for the shower at all – so it’s probably okay the rest of the time too!
View of the Yurts.
In view of the decking you’ll find a boules pitch, badminton net, large campfire area with enough space to cook a feast or two, a wood-burning pizza oven, safari-style dining tent, and even a chicken run where you may collect fresh eggs each day. The owners have thought carefully about what people need when they stay somewhere like this, and have done a great job of getting the balance between providing a getaway from modern life and ensuring that guests are kept comfortable.
Exploring the Farm
The best thing by far about Hidden Valley Yurts, in my opinion, is the farm setting itself. Yes the Yurts are beautiful and cosy and a lovely alternative to a tent. But the absolute highlight for this outdoors-loving lady is the advertised 80-acres there to be explored.
Soay sheep triplets. Too cute.
There are miles of footpath in and around the farm, taking you up hills, through farmland, into ancient woodland (complete with old silver birch trees, wild cherry trees, and bluebells) and across established meadow. There are rope swings, streams and rivers to cross via little bridges or by paddling, styles and gates, wildflowers galore (I can still smell that wild garlic), and of course I can’t fail to mention the sheep and cows that graze here.
These Soay sheep eat bracken… very useful in this type of woodland!
Exploring the hidden places within Hidden Valley Yurts.
The owners have marked out several routes on a map for those wanting a bit of direction, but as guests of the farm you are able to meander your way through the land and enjoy being in amongst the relative wilderness of South Wales for a few moments.
You can’t beat a woodland track in this light.
Would I Return?
I guess when reporting back on something like this that I’ve been gifted as part of a press trip, the question I need to answer for you is would I return as a paying guest? And in the case of Hidden Valley Yurts, yes I think I would. I could absolutely imagine myself being here for a weekend – Friday evening to Sunday evening – and having a thoroughly wonderful time enjoying the outdoors life with the added comfort of the glamping set-up. I don’t think I’d leave the site; I’d book into the more private Yurt 1 which is a little bit apart from the others, bring all my food supplies with me, and make the most of those 80 acres in combination with the loungers and day beds.
Looking down into the valley.
If you are tempted by the glamping lifestyle at Hidden Valley Yurts, take a look at their website for full details and pricing.
Thank you to Hidden Valley Yurts for having me and to the other bloggers for making my glamping experience such fun. This is not a sponsored post but I did not have to pay for my accommodation during this trip.