UK Travel

A weekend Glamping at Caalm Camp in Dorset

We have been on many a camping trip and really enjoyed our time on a campsite but never glamping and never in January. However this is just what we have been doing glamping the last weekend of January in rural Dorset. We had a very rare child free weekend and took my brother in law and his girlfriend away with us to start the beginning of his 30th birthday celebrations.

Caalm Camp Dorest

Caalm Camp is a few miles outside of Shaftesbury and they have 6 traditional Mongolian yurts for your glamping pleasure there is also Caalm cottage if glamping just isn’t your thing.

On arrival at Caalm Camp we were greeted by Mark who owns the farm with his wife Caryl, he explained that he had lived there all of his life. Caalm Camp was named after the family members – Caryl, Anna, Ashley, Lisa and Mark, I just love that the whole family are part of it. The family have had yurts on the farm for 7 years now and unlike most yurt sites they are open all year round. Offering long weekends, Monday to Friday and full weeks. 

Facilities at Caalm Camp

Mark took us down to see the facilities that have for guests to use during their stay. Each yurt has its own fridge and cupboard in the large kitchen with everything you could really need for your stay. Pots and pans, plates, bowls, cutlery, cookers, kettles, sinks, toasters all the basics to make you glamping experience as glamorous as possible.

Each yurt is also given it’s own wet room with toilet so you can lock all of your toiletries into the wet room and only you have access to it. Perfect, no need for carrying wash bags around with you. There is also no need to worry about taking towels with you as these are provided. The showers are on a push button that lasts a couple of minutes at a time, just make sure you let it run for a bit before you get it as at first its cold. But it soon warms up to a nice hot shower.

There is also a communal dining room and lounge area with plenty of tables, sofas and a TV. Some toys and games for the children and some DVD’s to watch. Also highchairs if you have little ones needing them.

Off the back of the communal space is the barn games area, with a pool table and a table tennis table, we did use them during our stay it was quite good fun. More fun than the pool table and table tennis was Ruby the goat and Sammy the sheep, they live in the barn. Although Sammy kept well out of the way Ruby was so friendly and more than happy for you to pat her. The children would have loved her.

Traditional Mongolian Yurts

After Mark had shown us around the communal area, he took us to meet Daisy our yurt for the weekend. Welcomed by a green wooden door hand painted in traditional Mongolian style. On entering the yurt we were surprised by the size but also how warm it was in there. Mark had put the log burner on about 30 minutes before we arrived and it was lovely and warm. The log burner was set in the middle of the yurt and has a metal cage around 3 sides to stop you being able to touch it or falling into it. There is a log store fully stocked up with wood that had been cut to the perfect size for your log burner which is free to help yourself too.

Should you want to use coal on the stove at night to keep it burning, then you can buy buckets of it within the communal area, at £3 a bucket. Each bucket is enough for a night. However we had taken some with us as I had read a review saying you needed to take your own. But at only £3 a bucket it is just as cheap and easy to buy it from there. Also if your fire does go out then you can buy fire lighters from the communal area as well at only 20p each.

In the yurt there was a double bed and two single beds, a couple of chairs, drawers for storage of clothing and under the single beds there was wooden storage boxes that slide under. There was also a mini kitchenette area, with a single induction hob for boiling the kettle for a hot drink. The kitchenette was equipped with the basic items needed for a BBQ.

The roof of the yurt was made up of beautiful hand painted wooden latticework leading to the centre and the source of light. A large domed open space, letting the log burners chimney out. The dome is covered to stop the rain getting in, but allowing the light in and allowing you to see the nights sky.

Outside the yurt there was a wooden picnic bench, bbq, fire pit and then a tap for fresh drinking water. Each of the yurts are set nicely apart so you have plenty of your own space. There is also a communal fire pit and seating area. Which would be perfect if you were going with a group of friends or for new friends you had met while there, great for sitting around and toasting marshmallows. Yummy!

No cars are allowed on to the yurt field, but you have the used a the cutest pink wheelbarrow to take your items down to your yurt from the car park.

After asking us if we had and questions and telling us to contact him should we have any questions or and issues, Mark left us to unpack and settle into our home for the weekend.

Our weekend at Caalm Camp clamping

Day 1 – arrival

We had taken with us our camping chairs as our booking confirmation email advised us to do so. Also I had taken a tea towel, washing up bowl, washing up liquid, bin bags, kitchen roll, toilet paper, wine glasses and a washing up sponge. I was unsure what items we would need so thought I would just take a few items for just encase we needed them. However the only thing we really needed was a tea towel, washing up sponge and kitchen roll. Everything else was there waiting for us to use.

The first thing we did after unpacking the car was get the kettle on. I love a good cup of tea. I had taken a few bits with us, tea, coffee, sweeteners for me, milk, hot chocolate, marshmallows, ooh I also took our BBQ skewers for toasting the marshmallows …… this was a brilliant idea. I mean who doesn’t want to toast marshmallows over a fire. Just a few basic bits that I knew we would use. Not forgetting the very important cannot live without gin and various different tonics.

On the journey down we decided that we would try and eat out and about to save cooking but cook bacon sandwiches in the mornings.

After settling in and unpacking a few bits, enjoying our cups of tea we decided to head out and find a super market and somewhere nice for dinner. We headed into Shaftesbury to the Asda store to pick up a few bits before having a drive around to find a pub for dinner. We ended up finding a pub called the Ye Olde Two Brewers that was located near the bottom of Gold Hill. It was fish and chip night and that is was all had and it was yummy. The staff were really friendly and welcoming, the food was good and men were happy with the selection of beer on offer. I would recommended a visit to Ye Olde Two Brewers pub if you are in Shaftesbury.

Heading back to our yurt, we re-stoked the log burner, set the fire pit going outside and made up some gin and tonics. We enjoyed a couple of hours around the fire pit, drinking, chatting and toasting marshmallows.

Day 2 – Tanks, Indian and Gin

After a fabulous night sleep we woke up to rain. Lots of rain. Getting up to shower and cook breakfast before heading out for the day. We had planned to go back into Shaftesbury to walk Gold Hill, or better known as Hovis Hill, however with the rain we decided to venture to The Tank Museum at Bovington which was actually well worth the visit. I found the first world war and second world war area really interesting but after that both the ladies were feeling just a bit tanked out, although the men loved it all and while us ladies went and had a hot chocolate they continued to look around the tanks in awe.

After we had finished with the tanks, we made our way back to Shaftesbury and got an Indian take away from a restaurant called Chutney in the town and took it back to our yurt. It was yummy and soon eaten by us all. We spent the evening playing card games and drinking gin and tonics sat around the log burner keeping us all cosy and warm.

Day 3 – Gold Hill, Farm Shop, Sunday Lunch, Cheese and Gin

On the Sunday morning we made our way back into Shaftesbury to walk Gold Hill, I was expecting a long very steep walk. Yes it was very steep but it wasn’t very long, the one nearer our home in Lincoln is a lot longer. We wondered around the town although just about everything was closed because it was a Sunday. However we did find a little café for a Devonshire cream tea. Yummy! The town of Shaftesbury is beautiful and very old, full of little shops that I could spend all day wondering around.

As recommended by Mark we went to the Kings Arms Inn for Sunday lunch, it was great. The pub offered a carvery style meal, with the choice of 5 different meat and then lots of vegetables. It was only £11.95 each and we all ate the lot, I honestly couldn’t fault the meal. It was really busy, we struggled to get parked when we first arrived, which is always a good sign. Before getting there we popped to The Udder Farm shop, it’s well worth a visit if you are down there. A great place for picking up a few nice bits to eat, we grabbed some cheeses, fresh olives and stuffed peppers for our cheese night.

After dinner we decided to head back to the yurt for a lazy afternoon, in fact we all wanted a sleep after a big lunch. However the girls decided it was be nice to take a walk, it was cold, wet and very muddy. We walked a good couple of miles around the fields and back down the road before arriving back on the farm. It was really nice just to have a good walk after the big meal. The boys were reading their books when we arrived back, after a nice cup of tea we headed into the games room to play pool and table tennis. I’m not going to lie it was cold in there, but then it is a barn so to be expected.

The evening consisted of cards, reading, lots of gin and then cheese. We baked some brie and camembert in the kitchen and enjoyed it was some freshly baked rolls and chutney. Not forgetting the olives and stuffed peppers we bought at the farm shop.

Day 4 – Home time

We got up fairly early on the Monday morning to pack up, we needed to be out of our yurt by 10. So after showering I made breakfast, in the communal kitchen while everyone else was getting ready, packing up their bits.

We spoke with MarK about our stay and he checked that everything went well, we had no reason to contact him while we were there, as we had no problems with anything. Although he would have been on hand should we have needed him.

After loading the car and doing a final check, we started our 4 hour journey home to be back in time to collect the children from school.

Glamping is fabulous

We had the most amazing weekend away at Caalm Camp. The facilities were great, we had everything we could possibly need while there. We thought about going back in the summer, however my Hubby thought we would loose some of the fun of the cold weather and enjoying the log burner. So we are planning to return next winter with the children. They will love it. Not only the glamping and everything on the farm but it is also it is so very positioned for some fabulous attractions, Longleat, Monkey World, the Jurassic Coast line and so much more. All places we want to take the children.

Everyone should try glamping even if it’s just once.

Thank you Mark and Caryl so much for having us to stay for the weekend. We had a truly wonderful time and we cannot wait to share the experience with the children.

 

*We are given the weekend in the yurt in exchange for a review. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

Nothing beats Christmas in London

You spent last Christmas in Paris and the one before that in Berlin. You don’t know where you would like to go to spend the cold but buzzing Christmas season this year, but you would still like to get away.

Christmas In London

If you like to experience a shopping spree like no other, followed by some mulled wine in a cosy pub, then look no further: London is your next destination. Cobbled and picturesque streets, gorgeous Christmas lights and seasonal weather will make you want to pack the beautiful coat you have just purchased and head to the capital of the United Kingdom and the cultural capital of the world!

Here’s how to travel in style:

The Hotel

Finding accommodation in one of the busiest cities in Europe is sometimes challenging, with many hotels being extremely overpriced and others far from the city centre. Moxy London Stratford offers you a unique experience at a great price. This modern hotel in the East of the city is perfectly located with the beautiful Olympic Park just a few minutes walk away and great transport connections to the town centre.

The Restaurant

Fancy trying some great food but don’t want to splash the cash? Head to the centre of town and venture into Chinatown, London’s Chinese quarter. With plenty of restaurants to choose from, this area will become one of your favourite spots in the city if you are a lover of Chinese and Asian food. Try Jen Cafe for a cosy restaurant with homemade food that includes dumplings and BBQ pork. The cafe will enamour you with its great cuisine and nice staff.

The Pub

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” said Samuel Johnson, and he is right! With the thousands of pubs this historic city boasts, there is one to suit every taste. Rustic, modern, minimalist…choose your pick! The Spaniards Inn in Hampstead is known for being one of the city’s oldest pubs. Established in 1585, the likes of Byron and Dickens were once its clientele. Head there for some great ales and lager!

The Shop

London is known for the exquisite shopping you can do whilst visiting the city. Oxford Street, the town’s main commercial hub, tends to be quite crowded in the run up to Christmas, but you might just beat the crowds if you are up early and head there before everyone else does. Selfridges, close to Bond Street Station, sells everything from perfume and makeup to clothes and accessories. The price tag ain’t cheap, but if you fancy treating yourself, this is definitely the place to go.

If you are planning an escapade this Christmas, make London your destination. Its wonderful architecture will captivate you and its narrow streets will make you want to get lost in the city’s buzzing and electrifying fabric. If you would like to shop for bits ‘n bobs and have a chin wag with a local, book that trip…now!

How to visit London on a budget

Heading off to the big city with just a bit of pocket money doesn’t immediately seem like something we’d want to do. With such an amazing nightlife, it would almost be rude not to enjoy it, right? It is, in fact, possible to explore the city without spending a full months pay on it – as long as you know where to look.

Here is a neat guide to help you enjoy London even though you’re on a strict budget so that you get to enjoy travelling a bit more often.

Face the tube

Let’s start with the easiest first. London has a fabulous public transport system, and it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. While the city is big, it also has a lot of people and many of them happen to be on the tube as well, making it a crowded and warm experience.

By coming to terms with the crowd and familiarising yourself with the tube system, it all becomes a bit more manageable, though, so try not to wimp out and order a cab every time. I first time I used the tube I had to double and triple check the maps to make sure I was going on the right line and in the right direction.

Besides, when you use the public transport system and get yourself an Oyster card, you get to explore the city like a local. They wouldn’t spend their hard-earned money on those overpriced cabs, so why should you?

If you’d like to sit down somewhere more relaxed and be served for once, it’s a good idea to check out a shisha lounge or two – they have great food and a relaxed atmosphere, making it a perfect place to spend a few hours with your friends.

Use the freebies

It’s really easy for tourists to save money as long as they take advantage of all the free things to do in the city. The British Museums, Tate Modern, and the National Gallery are just a few examples of great things to enjoy for absolutely nothing. It’s cultural too – and even a bit educational if you pay attention.

Walking around in the parks, admiring the Thames, and experiencing the Changing of the guards are also fun alternatives that will cost you nothing except for the energy you spend on getting there – or a tiny amount of your oyster fare.

Since you’re probably in the city to do a bit of shopping, why not check out some of the charity and secondhand shops too? Blitz is a well-known option, and they have a vast selection of cool preloved clothes that would just love to join you back home.

The wonderful markets

Booking a table at Duck and Waffle with a magnificent view of the Shard is a great time to spend your afternoon, but not the best alternative when you’re on a budget. Steer clear of the overpriced restaurants and eat at the local markets instead – buy your groceries there as well, by the way, if you’re money-wise enough to stay somewhere with a kitchen.

Borough Market is a great alternative, but you’ll also find excellent street food options at Camden Market. The portions they serve are usually gigantic too, so it should keep you full for a while.