We have been lucky enough to have so many special experiences, but one which we hadn’t done together is camping. However, when we were offered the chance to try glamping at the Dandelion Hideaway in Leicestershire, it really appealed. After all, who could turn down a luxury type of camping, with little canvas houses instead of tents and running water and your own bathroom?
I’m glad we tried it and would absolutely recommend it for families. It was amazing to feel so far removed from the city, I loved seeing rabbits running around and eating freshly picked eggs (so much nicer than normal) and it really made me think about history – especially how people lived without electricity and how night was really so different from day back then. I really felt as if we got away from it all (despite knowing that sounds clichéd) and was delighted that we all had a great time. Each cottage is really beautifully done, with so much space around it, and with a gorgeous veranda to sit outside on and rest. And I even saw a badger’s set!
Watch Robert’s video, above, for more!
Now, over to the kids:
Robert aged 11 says: When we arrived at the farm, we were met by Farmer John who talked to us briefly about the farm then drove us to our tent on a tractor (this was such fun, especially when we bumped down a hill!). When we got there he showed us our rooms and how to use the facilities (including lighting a fire, which we have never done before) before leaving us to settle in.
There were two bedrooms in the tent. Mum and Dad’s one had a double bed whilst ours had two singles. They both connected to the bathroom which had a toilet plus a bath and shower (with hot water). There was also a smaller room which was taken up entirely by a bed. It had two sets of little doors on either side, one that led to the dining area and the other brought you into our parents’ room. Jess and I both slept there at night as it was like a secret room!
The living room and kitchen were merged into one with a big black fire in the middle. Every half an hour we had to add more wood to the flames to keep our tent warm. There was no electricity so our heat and light came from oil lamps and candles. It did get very dark later on and it was strange not to be able to turn on a light.
The Dandelion Hideaway had provided us with all the cutlery and utensils you could need for cooking plus they gave us a complimentary cake and I always say that a complimentary cake equals a great glamping experience. Next to the table was a selection of chairs and sofas where you could sit down near the fire and read a book. At the front of the house there was also an outside porch with a table and chairs.
I am terrible with the cold so I was freezing when trying to get to sleep although I was wearing the warmest pyjamas I had, a vest and a dressing gown. In the morning we fried some eggs in a saucepan which we placed over the fire before getting dressed and meeting Farmer John near the entrance.
He then took us on a tour of the farm. Farmer John showed us the massive heaps of food that he kept to feed to the animals and explained to us how he ran the farm before taking us to see some cute baby goats which we were allowed to stroke. We were then taken to where the older of the animals were kept and I was amazed by how many there were. The farm was taking care of over a thousand of the creatures.
After the tour we groomed some ponies. We were each allowed to pick one before getting to brush and comb its hair. I was paired up with a pony called Bluebell and I when I was done grooming her she looked like a cross between Justin Bieber and Donald “Because I don’t want to, Greta” Trump! We then got to lead our pony onto a field and feed some of the bigger animals.
At the farm there is a games room where you can play table-tennis and table football plus loads of space to run around. At any time you are allowed to walk into the chicken pen and take some eggs. After the initial feeling that the chickens were going to kill me (well, I am from London) I learnt that they were totally safe and enjoyed my fried eggs for breakfast.
Later that day we were shown some of the goats getting milked and I even had a go at using the suckers to extract some liquid. The farmer then took us to a small room where were tried some fresh goat milk, it was delicious. The farm sends off all their milk to a company which sells goat’s cheese and goats’ milk – they are one of the business’s nine providers.
The shop near the entrance is very well done. There is no shop keeper so it is done all on honesty. You take what you want then write down what you “bought” before paying independently at the end of your stay. There is also a space to charge your mobile devices.
Overall I loved the experience, but I am not sure if I would go back due to the lack of electricity and warmth.It was great to be so close to nature instead of the busy crowds of London, everyone was very friendly and of course they gave complimentary cake.
Jess aged 14 says: I had a great time at the Dandelion Hideaway. With lots of exams coming up, this gave me the opportunity to disconnect, breathe fresh air, read a book (which I probably should do more often), and run around the field with my diablo.
I quite liked having no electricity, although it was annoying at night as you couldn’t see where you were going! Luckily we had torches with us to solve this problem, but it still felt strange. I really loved reading by the fire and eating toasted marshmallows and pizza, as well as delicious fruit from the local village.
The farm was amazing, and I loved our tour. Farmer John talked a lot about how politics affects farming, which was extremely interesting and also very funny at parts. I learnt a lot about how farms work, and also had a really good time grooming ponies and leading them into a field.
Coupled with our visit to the local town of Market Bosworth, our weekend away truly was a great one. Despite my impending exams I was surprisingly relaxed, and I loved seeing the animals. I would definitely return.
The Dandelion Hideaway, which has five secluded canvas cottages, costs from £500 for a 4 night break (Mon-Friday), from £575 for a 3 night weekend break (Fri-Mon) and from £725 for a week. All prices are per canvas cottage so for up to six people sharing including all wood for camp fire and stove. Farm activities and Woodland Explorers Club (which includes hands on activities for kids) are complimentary.
There is also one very romantic, secluded canvas cottage just for two, which comes with its own tree house and wood burning hot tub. Contact 01455 292888 or the website.
We were very lucky to be offered our stay on a complimentary basis. However, the Dandelion had no input into this piece and all our views and opinions are our own.
The Dandelion is situated very near Bosworth – site of the famous battle, where Richard III died. Read our post about our visit there.
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We’ve teamed up with Country Kids – read about more lovely outdoor adventures and trips there!