A tent you don’t have to pitch, a bed you don’t have to make, firewood you don’t have to collect and some of the poshest composting toilets we’ve come across. Camping has gone all Cotswolds on us. This is Big Skies Cotswolds Glamping. The clue is in the name; it’s not really camping at all. But while it’s rather more glamorous than pitching your own, this bijou bell tent site has kept the heart and soul of everything we love about camping. You sleep under canvas, toast marshmallows on the fire and generally enjoy the outdoors.
Situated five miles south of Cheltenham and just off the Cotswolds Way National Trail, Big Skies is a great base for a summer holiday in this area of outstanding natural beauty. The site’s five bell tents are pitched in a big meadow on a sizeable family farm. They are surrounded by fields and horses grazing and, thanks to the rolling landscape of this part of the world, have a pretty good view of big skies too. This comes into its own at sunset and gets better as the stars come out.
Tents are kitted out with everything needed for a couple to stay but have room for a family four (you just need to bring a couple of sleeping bags for the kids). The location works well for either and there’s enough space between tents for everyone to enjoy this quiet location. While tents are off grid, lit by fairy lights and candles, there’s electricity on hand too. There’s a communal fridge with a shelf allocated per tent, a kettle, gas stove and a place to charge mobile phones too. While the facilities block is in a rustic converted stable, you’ll find showers are hot and composting toilets are modern.
There’s a good-value chain pub within walking distance but for a real Cotswolds country inn, go further. Hike three miles to the Kilkenny Inn or drive to The Frog Mill for a place with a garden and stream for the kids to splash about in. The Cotswolds Water Park, farm park and zoo are all within visiting distance but it’s the simpler pleasures of country life that are most tempting; a walk to the pub, a snoop round honey-stone villages and a campfire under the stars.