Dream Glamping… it sounds a bit like a festival doesn’t it? It looks a bit like one too with a few key elements missing; there’s no stage; no pumping music and definitely no crowds. “I suppose it’s a bit like the VIP chill-out area at Glastonbury,” says Lucy, one of the expert event organisers behind this pop-up glamping site. That sums it up nicely. This is a bell tent camping site with stunning sea views, a stylish tented bar for the adults and an outdoor cinema for the kids.
This is what happens when you let a bunch of experienced event organisers loose in a field. There’s festoon lighting, communal campfires, on-site catering and staff who keep everything running smoothly. These are not your average campsite wardens who’ve chosen an outdoor lifestyle but work-hungry execs from a high-end events company. When all their events were cancelled in 2020, they decided to put their skills and their kit to good use by running a pop-up glamping site. The CEO and the managing director helped pitch tents, the senior operations team welcomed guests and everyone had a good time. So good, in fact, that Dream Glamping is returning for 2021 in a new and idyllic location.
This year, they are setting up their 31 bell tents on an organic farm high on a Devonshire clifftop. The location and the layout affords each tent a safe sea view. You’re a couple of fields, a footpath and a number of fences away from the cliff edge but that can’t detract from the scene that awaits every morning when you unzip the tent to receive your campsite breakfast. This is glamping for glampers; beds are made, electricity provided and breakfast is served. Over at the bar; campfires are lit, films are screened and drinks are poured.
It’s not just the hospitality that makes this place dreamy, it’s also its south coast location. Aside from the view, the space, sights and sounds of the surrounding farm; there’s the beach. The closest is a mere ten-minute walk away on the South West Coast Path (which, by the way, runs close by the site) but, for a nicer spot, we’d suggest you go further. Three miles east is elegant Sidmouth and the same distance west is charming Budleigh Salterton; both a lovely walk if your legs are long enough and a very short drive if they’re not. Hire paddleboards, eat Devonshire ice cream and then make your way back to Dream Glamping for a G&T at sunset. Campfires are lit, films are screened, drinks are poured and memories are made.
There are a choice of beaches within a few miles of site. The closest is Ladram Bay Beach, just a mile and a walk of about 15 minutes on the coast path away. It’s great for swimming and rockpooling and there are boats for hire too – but it can be busy as there’s a caravan park in prime position behind it. A little further, a four-mile drive or a three-mile walk, is another beach at Sidmouth, an elegant Victorian town with plenty of facilities including watersports, shops and places to eat and drink. In the other direction (south west) it’s about three miles to Budleigh Salterton, a charming town with a two-mile pebble beach where the River Otter meets the sea and a further five miles to Exmouth.
A locally sourced breakfast is served to your bell tent each morning and there’s a fully-stocked bar in the communal area. There’s a regular pizza night and alternative catered options throughout the week. If you fancy eating out, the village of Otterton is a ten-minute walk from site. There’s a pub, The Kings Arms (01395 568416) and a cafe/restaurant at Otterton Mill (01395 567041) which is recommended. There’s also a farm shop within the mill where you can stock up on local goodies. If you’re in Budleigh Salterton, try the fresh crab at The Longboat Cafe (01395 445619) on the seafront (three miles from site) and don’t miss the Devon ice cream from The Creamery (01395 442064) which comes topped with clotted cream. For a highly-recommended lunch or dinner in Sidmouth try the relaxed seaside dining on offer at The Pea Green Boat (01395 514152) or the Pynes Bar and Restaurant at the Bedford Hotel (01395 513047). For something completely different, head for the River Exe Cafe which is on a floating pontoon offshore in the Exe Estuary. You’ll need to get to Exmouth Marina (eight miles from site) and then, excitingly, take a river taxi to reach the restaurant. If you prefer to dine on dry land you might like to try Rockfish Exmouth (01385 272100) instead.