REVIEW: HOME FARM GLAMPING
If you’re camping virgins like we are, ease yourself into the outdoor life by booking yourself into Home Farm Glamping, only 10 ten minutes outside London.
No sitting on the M4 for six hours while the kids slowly erode your will to live – Home Farm Glamping feels like it’s in London – it’s a short ten-minute taxi ride away from the end of the Jubilee line.
We came from South East London and it took us just under 90 minutes in the car – score!
We’d never slept outside before so were nervous about it but Home Farm Glamping has lovingly thought of what camping virgins (and fussy Londoners) want from their camping experience and attention has been paid to every detail so your stay is comfortable, clean and, as the name suggest, really is the glamorous side of camping.
Home Farm is owned by Jess, and the 100-acre site holds three yurts and nine bell tents, which is what we stayed in.
A (fully furnished) yurt can sleep five people and a bell tent four. You can check in to your tent/yurt at 4pm but you can arrive from 2pm and if the tent is ready, you're able to check in earlier.
We arrived at 4:45pm and after five minutes with Jess, we knew we were in good hands. She or a member of her team will personally settle you in and answer any questions you might have. Home Farm Glamping has a really family feel to it – the property has been in Jess’ family for years and you'll soon feel like you’re part of the gang too.
As we were new to camping/glamping we weren’t sure what to expect but Home Farm Glamping is as luxurious as you’d expect. All you need to bring is food (they can provide breakfast and dinner for an extra charge) and a towel – everything else is provided for you. There are numerous fridges and cooking equipment (electric cookers and stove tops) in the large barn, including a forever hot urn where you can help yourself to free tea bags, coffee and hot chocolate.
We kept it very simple in terms of toiletries and beauty products - baby wipes for clean hands after eating around the campfire, Boots cleansing wipes (only £1) for the face and our current favourite moisturiser (including one that has sunscreen) from Avéne. We wanted a shower gel that would work on adults while not being too harsh for children so brought along the Love Boo top-to-toe wash and followed with their new miracle oil.
Our main worry was the toilet and the showers but both are clean, stocked with delicious smelling French soap and there’s hot water from 7am until 11pm.
Home Farm Glamping will provide:
Beds, bedding and linen
Chairs and tables
Crockery, cutlery and glasses
Washing up kit
BBQ and equipment
Ice buckets and cool bags if required
Basket of wood and matches
Hot water bottles
A small torch
A few spare wellies if you forget yours
Hot water bottles
Dressing up equipment and a selection of toys and games for the kids
We love that you can do an online shop, have it delivered to Home Farm and they’ll put it away in the fridge and cool box before you arrive. There’s a selection of herbs growing on the farm and you’re free to use these in your cooking if you so desire. For an extra fee, they can make you breakfast each morning as shown on the left picture below. We brought our own Aqua Carpatica drinking water as we didn't know that Home Farm Glamping has its own tap with potable water.
In terms of things to do there’s Aldenham Country Park close by but we were happy to just hang out at Home Farm Glamping site and let the kids just be. There’s 100 acres to explore and it wasn’t long before they’d made friends and were playing hide and seek, riding bikes and just enjoying being outside. We’d previously told them this was a screen-free holiday but they didn’t ask for a phone or iPad once.
There’s also a beautiful lake, a croquet lawn and ping pong tables for everyone's use and plenty of space for football or softball. We took advantage of the good weather and being outdoors and made use of our brilliant Trunkaroo box. Trunkaroo design creative, STEAM (science, technology, enginerring and maths) inspried activity kits for children. You can choose a one-off box for £20 (we tried Bubble Science and the boy loved it) or you can subscribe for up to 12 months at £16.99 a box.
If you do want to book some activities while you're at Home Farm, there is a pontoon available curtesy of Tykes Water Angling Club (you'll need to bring your own equipment) as well as wine tasting sessions, yoga classes, dance classes, life drawing classes, mug decorating and flower garland making. The more adventurous can visit Elstree Aerodrome for flying lessons and flying experiences in helicopters, fixed wing planes and microlights. There’s also the option to charter a helicopter for trips over London and the surrounding area.
Home Farm Glamping isn’t so big that you’re queuing for the bathroom or space in the kitchen – it’s small and perfectly formed and it’s not long before you’ve left your phone in your tent (don’t worry, there are plenty of charge points in the barn) taken off your shoes and are relaxing; really relaxing. Be prepared though, doing nothing is actually really tiring!
The British weather is unpredictable so it’s wise to pack for all four seasons: we bought two coats each for the kids - a bright and light red cotton coat from Tommy Hilfiger and a wind and waterproof coat orange from Isbjorn. The Isbjorn coat is three-layer softshell jacket with an inner membrane that provides wind protection, is waterproof and has a four way stretch for freedom of movement and comfort. The jacket also features a brushed soft inner lining for warmth, a chest pocket and a thumb grip (which kids love).
We also brought jeans, shorts, hoodies and tracksuits bottoms as you never quite know how the British weather is going to behave. As your car is a two-minute walk away, excess clothing can be left in the boot.
As we stayed a weekend, we got the kids to take care of their own luggage – a Star Wars backpack from Samsonite was super roomy and the boy appreciated the padded back panel and shoulder straps which made it easier to carry.
We loved everything about Home Farm Glamping and the kids asked if we could stay forever. When asked ‘Are you prepared to give up TV and your own room?’ they replied yes!
We feel like Home Farm Glamping is something of a secret but it won’t be long before the jig is up and parents in particular start booking it up for camping without the horrible bits during the school holidays. Book midweek for a quieter and cheaper stay – if you’re looking for somewhere to go during the summer hols we can’t recommend it enough. As a bonus, all that outdoor-ness makes the kids knackered!
Prices start at £80 for 2 people to stay one night midweek.
Find out more at homefarmglamping.com.
*We stayed as guests of Home Farm Glamping*