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Choosing your Glamping
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Glamping at Woodcock Farm

Glamping – the secret to choosing a quality glamping holiday – written by Gary Swarbrooke, Director of Policy and Quality at Quality in Tourism, the assessment service for VisitEngland especially for Cotswolds.Info.

There is a common factor that unites us all whenever we spend our hard earned money and book accommodation. Whether we book a five star hotel or whether we seek something a bit different.

The common factor is Quality!

There’s been a real surge over the last few years in the popularity of glamping holidays. To support this, VisitEngland and Quality in Tourism (England’s official assessment body) have cultivated an alternative accommodation scheme containing a lengthy and diverse list of quality-assessed accommodation providers.

High Quality Glamping at The Timberdoodle Dome at Woodcock Farm near Badminton and Chipping Sodbury - more details...

For decades there has been a huge divide between people who like to get back to nature in a tent and holidaymakers who would rather stay in a luxury cottage with all the mod cons, but now there is a very happy middle ground. Glamping is the city dweller’s best friend - sometimes all you want is to get out of the rat race and the smog, back to a simpler life with fresh air and open, green space. But to those who are accustomed to a life of comfort, ease and extravagance, the idea of sleeping under canvas with no bed and no hot water can be horrifying. And this is why the concept of glamping has become so popular - because it offers all the joys of camping (the freedom, the simplicity, the chance to get back to nature) without depriving you of any of your home comforts.

Glamping nowadays comes in many forms. At one end of the scale you have tents, tipis, wig-wams, and yurts – all the fun of camping. At the other end you have the weird and wonderful glamping concepts – such as a traditional caravan. Or even a tree house. Glamping is likely to be cheaper too – and in today’s economic climate, an inexpensive holiday where you cut costs without cutting quality is like gold dust.

With this in mind, and with the glamping sector becoming increasingly more popular. Gary Swarbrooke, Director of Policy and Quality at Quality in Tourism, the official assessment service for VisitEngland, provides us with his top tips to help you choose a quality glamping holiday.

  1. Are the basics being done right!?! – Just because you’re booking a glamping holiday, which perhaps is in a slightly different setting than the usual hotels you visit, you should still expect cleanliness, comfortable beds etc.

  2. You are going glamping because it is unique, and fascinating. Make sure where you’re staying provides plenty of information on the history of the place, how it came about, what it used to be before etc. This should be all on their website. If it isn’t then perhaps there isn’t much to say, or they simply don’t care about telling you – Either way, it already suggests that this might not be a quality experience

  3. This could be the first time you’re going on a glamping holiday, and staying in a wigwam or tipi. Are there clear instructions and guidelines on the website or when you phone and book to what you should expect. Glamping can mean different things to different people. So don’t assume its going to be a luxury tent or wigwam that you’ll be staying in.

  4. When booking your glamping holiday, ask the owners about the layout of the site, mainly how the accommodation is spaced.  Sometimes glamping operators put tents close together (particularly in the summer) to maximise profits. Make sure you’ve got plenty of privacy! You hear a lot more when glamping than you would if staying in a hotel! There’s no proper solid doors or wall remember!

  5. Walking and cycling are two of the most popular activities undertaken by holidaymakers in the UK. Does the glamping accommodation you’re looking to book have a separate space for drying outdoor clothing and footwear? Is there boot scrapes and lockable undercover areas for safe overnight storage of bicycles. If you’re unsure, again check the website or simply phone.

  6. Health and safety is more important than ever. Especially if you are going to be sleeping in a room which perhaps wasn’t originally built to be used as a bedroom! Make sure the holiday owners have all the right procedures in place.

  7. One in four (27.2%) of the UK population has a long-standing health problem or disability. Is the establishment you’re looking to book catered for those with mobility problems? Do they cater for those with hearing difficulties and the visually impaired too? This might not be relevant to you, but might be very important to one of your group members or partner.

  8. Are there on-site facilities? – Such as a shop, leisure area, tourist information and laundry facilities.

  9. What activities are on offer? Will you just simply be sat around a fire, or is there lots to do? – e.g. clay shooting, horse riding etc. Also, what’s nearby? Any nice pubs/restaurants etc? Or will you be in the middle of nowhere? It’s what’s on-site and off-site that will help bring that extra bit of quality to your holiday.

  10. Finally, is the establishment accredited!?! This is just as important for glamping accommodation as it is with 4 and 5 star hotels, if not more. It gives that seal of approval, and ensures that it is a quality establishment.

At Quality in Tourism (QiT) we are the official assessment body for VisitEngland and provide ratings and accreditations to hundreds of alternative accommodation outlets throughout England. The grades we provide are based on industry research, meaning that consumers can book in confidence that a property will meet their needs. The assessments we undertake include NAS (the only scheme that rates the accessibility of visitor accommodation throughout England) a number of Welcome schemes (including Cyclists, Walkers and Families Welcome) and a number of awards given in recognition of exceptional quality.

So when booking a glamping holiday or an alternative accommodation establishment, look for the VisitEngland accredited quality rose. It will make all the difference.

Quality in Tourism (QiT) is the official assessment service provided for VisitEngland. With a field force of more than 60 experienced assessors and a highly dedicated in-house team, the organisation carries out assessments and handles the administration of the national quality assessment schemes on behalf of VisitEngland. For more information either email pat.rigby@uk.g4s.com phone 01684 864083 or visit http://www.qualityintourism.com

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