At one time, camping was seen as the preserve of those who loved the outdoors and were most at home wandering through the woods or hiking up the side of a mountain. But today, camping has widened its appeal and can now offer something to a huge range of people. Added to that is the information from a new study from Plymouth University that shows kids who go camping or one of its variants actually do better at school than those who don’t.
So what is glamping? It is a term that means glamorous camping and has become synonymous with luxury camping – no more leaky tents or sites where you wake up with no tent because the wind is so high! Glamping is all about having a unique experience that allows people to see things they would otherwise miss but no sacrificing comfort and amenities to do this.
Many people want a holiday that involves going somewhere different and experiencing something that they don’t normal encounter. So for people living in the city or in built up areas, the chance to sleep outdoors and be close to nature can be extreme important. And for those who live in rural areas, the chance to visit nature that is different to what they see every day is a great opportunity.
Glamping is also an eco-friendly option because many of the venues offering this type of break are made with environmentally friendly concerns foremost to the mind. It takes a lot of resources to build and run even a small hotel but nowhere near as much to build a luxury treehouse or to convert and upgrade a caravan.
Glamping is a worldwide trend that allows people to stay somewhere unique. Here in the UK we already have a wide range of exciting glamping spots. One such example is the yurt at Springhill Farm campsite in East Sussex. Complete with a double bed and inflatable furniture, the yurt is built in the style once used by Genghis Khan with a few modern touches and cooking is done in a fire pit outside. The site is near Ashdown Forest, so perfect for a walk the next morning.
If you loved treehouses as a kid, then staying in one will be a perfect escape as an adult. There are a number of treehouse glamping providers spread around the country and these are treehouses in the lap of luxury. Enjoy a session in the hot tub before turning in for the night or take the whole family along in a treehouse that can house up to eight people.
Champing is perhaps the newest addition to the camping idea and involved staying in a historic church and using it as a base for a range of activities and sightseeing in the area. The Churches Conservation Trust say there are currently 347 churches spread around the UK that are no longer places of worship and so are being made available for people to spend the night.
At the moment, three have been converted for this purpose – Swaffham Prior in Cambridgeshire; All Saints Church at Aldwincle, Northamptonshire and the Church of St Mary the Virgin at Fordwich, Kent. Each have their own features to explore including the 18th century box pews found in St Marys where beds are set up for guests.
Each church offers a number of different activities in the immediate area. For instance, Swaffham Prior is in walking distance of Newmarket Racecourse and its National Horseracing Museum or a bus ride away from the historic city of Cambridge. All Saints stands near the Titchmarsh nature reserve and the 17th century King’s Head Inn with its thatched roof with the National Trust property of Lyvesden New Bield being just a few miles away. Finally, St Marys is on the River Stour with its range of water sports including the Canoe Wild centre while the World Heritage Site of Canterbury is also within a short distance.
Why is it good?
Camping, glamping and champing all offer different facilities and styles for holidaymakers but there is a hidden benefit to it all. In a study conducted by the Institute of Education at Plymouth University, in collaboration with the Camping and Caravanning Club, it was shown that kids who spend at least one holiday each year camping outdoors do better in school than those that don’t.
The study involved asking parents across the country a series of question studying the educational, social and psychological benefits of camping to children of all ages. The study discovered that four out of five parents thought that camping had a positive effect on school education of their children.
It also showed that 98% of parents believed their kids were more connected with nature due to their camping experience and appreciated the outdoors more while 95% thought the kids were happier. 93% thought that children learned skills that would be beneficial later in life because of their camping holidays.
As well as the benefits of camping, the benefits of not being around technology were also noted by parents. 15% said that escaping laptops, mobiles and tablets was a benefit for their kids while around 20% said that camping instilled a sense of freedom and independence. 68% of those quizzed even thought that their children enjoyed their lessons more because they could share what they had learned while on these trips as well as from the places they visited while away.
So the evidence is clear from the study – camping is good for you and your children. But with the range of options such as glamping in a treehouse or champing in a historic church, camping no longer needs to be something only done in the very best weather. For people who aren’t so keen on putting up the tent in the middle of a field, there are now plenty of other options that allow all the benefits of camping with a little luxury included as well. And after the holiday is over, the children will go back to school invigorated and filled with exciting stories to tell their teachers and friends that will continue to benefit them for some time afterwards.