Bloomsbury’s in Biddenden, Kent, is a fairly unique glamping site. On the accommodation front, there's a choice of Large Sioux teepees, Soul Pad teepees and yurts - all fairly standard glamping fare, in other words. But in addition to the digs, there's also a hot tub, a luxury shower block and access to a team of beauty therapists working on site. When you’re hungry, if you’re feeling too much in 'holiday mode' to cook, there’s a café and restaurant serving delicious, healthy local food, where group meals can also be arranged.
The biggest (and best) surprise about Bloomsbury’s, though, is that proprietor, Russell Pay, is a keen musician who puts on regular gig nights (think the kind of acts that have previously played on Jools Holland). Guaranteed to get just a little bit raucous, they cost just £5 for glamping guests. If you’re more musician than groupie, you can come to Bloomsbury’s specifically to record your work in the designated recording studio.
In terms of accommodation, Bloomsbury’s offer various options. The Large Sioux Tepee (which sleeps up to six people) has a wooden floor, electric lighting, heating, rugs and lovely, simple décor. If you’re staying in this you get access to the caravan where there are cooking hobs and a DVD player. There are also three yurts and seven Soul Pad teepees. The latter of these can be moved around to accommodate larger groups, so in essence there are four main pitches with water, power, fire pits and large covered areas that allow people to sit outside even in bad weather. If you really want to go back in time, the newest of Bloomsbury’s accommodation options is a 1967 Airstream Caravan which has air conditioning, sofas and running water. Very cool indeed.
- The beauty salon on site
- The heated, luxury shower and toilet facilities
- The home-made, delicious food available in the café
- The recording studio
- The live lounge where occasional music gigs are held (which is also available for hire)
- The caravan - it could do with a bit of a spring-clean
- There’s no doubt that, however well-made the teepees are, if it’s wet outside, it can be damp inside
Need to Know: Bloomsbury’s
Number of rooms: The Large Sioux teepee (sleeps max. 6 people) 3 yurts (sleeping max. 4, 6 and 8) and 7 Soul Pad teepees (sleep max. 5 each).
Check-in/check-out times: Negotiable
Room service: Not officially. Although all sorts of things have been arranged on request (including a stripper for a hen party)
Swimming pool: No. But there is a hot tub
Spa: Yes. There’s a beauty salon on site
Dogs welcome: Yes
Eating and drinking: You’ll be provided with barbecue facilities and you can make a camp fire to toast marshmallows on, but if you really want to eat well, it's well worth booking a table in the restaurant.
Near to? Bloomsbury’s is about 5 minutes’ drive from the village of Biddenden, or from Sissinghurts Castle. It’s around 25 minutes from Rye and 45 minutes’ drive from the popular wind/kite surfing beach at Camber Sands.
Getting there: Biddenden is about 25 minutes' drive from Ashford, 30 minutes from Tunbridge Wells, 45 minutes from Hastings and 1.5 to 2 hours' drive from central London. The nearest train station is Headcorn; trains go directly from Charing Cross.