One of the most intriguing slices of summer escapism will see art, music and an iconic piece of 1960s architecture land beside a lake at the Marston Estate in Somerset. Marston Park’s organisers, who include a member of the family that owns the grounds, hope to use the funds from glamping to restore a listed Victorian boathouse and keeper’s cottage.
“The beauty of pop-up sites,” said Dan Yates, founder of the booking website Pitchup, “is that they tend to be in more rural areas away from honeypot destinations, so it’s an opportunity for people to explore lesser-known parts of the country and put money into rural economies.”
For Jess Allen-Back, of the Gibbs family, who look after Aldenham Estate in Hertfordshire, arable farming wasn’t working any more as a revenue stream. “A glamping site sounded like the best use of space,” she said. This summer, for the first time since founding Home Farm, she will stage a series of musical and gastronomic events at the site.
Other farmers have come to the realisation that allowing greater access to their land is good for both them and rural businesses. Paul Phillips manages Cheriton Manor Farm, in Somerset, in an environmentally conscious way. This summer, he has invited a glamping site on to his land, albeit with strict rules about waste. “Covid has made people realise that what they need is fresh air out in the countryside,” he said. “It is good for local businesses too.
The pubs and the farm shops are going to have a tough time reopening; they need it.”
Here are 15 glamping sites that will either be popping up temporarily or will be staging a new season of events and activities on country estates and farms this summer.
Marston Park, Marston Estate, Somerset
Creativity will blossom in the Somerset countryside this summer, even in the absence of a certain festival. With a broad cultural programme planned for the lakeside setting of the Marston Estate, this is one of the summer’s most artistic glamping experiences. Guests can expect beer and nature pairing trails, haiku masterclasses, lakefront yoga and sophisticated-looking bell tents even equipped with an easel and an acoustic guitar, for when a flash of inspiration strikes. Spicy street food, rowing boats and glamorous picnics are also promised.
Bell tents from £120 a night; marstonpark.co.uk