Luxury bell tent glamping in the idyllic grounds of one of Norfolk's loveliest country house gardens
Mannington Hall is perhaps the quintessential English country house. A little outside the village of Itteringham, this stately Norfolk pile is straight from the pages of Country Life. This 15th-century moated manor is all medieval turrets and arched casement windows, but the real draw are Mannington's spectacular gardens. With a dizzying array of plants and trees (over 1,000 varieties of roses alone), the various contemporary and heritage gardens are a feast for the senses. There's a walled garden, willow tunnel and even a secluded classical temple. Landscaped lakes in the sprawling grounds boast a water meadow who's vibrant flowers are a magnet for dragonflies, kingfishers and even the occasional otter. Oh, to call this English country garden home. Well...
Fringed by an oak dell, Amber's Bell Tents occupies a three-acre field that overlooks the water meadows beyond Mannington's gardens. The realisation of a long held dream, camping fan Amber and family had the inspired idea of hooking up with Mannington's committed conservationist owners, Lord and Lady Walpole, to present a luxurious, low-impact bell tent site. They actually began in the gardens themselves but, like a prized horse, were turned out into the larger field to enjoy more luscious, greener grasses. They've now been up and running for a few years and it's fair to say Amber's is a place that is immensely popular. It's not hard to see why.
Airy and spacious, Amber's 5m, bunting-adorned tents are made of breathable natural cotton – the perfect antidote to stuffy polyester tents. There are between three and seven, as the season changes, and all are kitted out with cute vintage touches – the applecart tables-cum-storage boxes, a nice little nod to Norfolk's famous cider orchards. It's a proper glamper's scene, with double beds, wood burners, rugs, fairy lights, lanterns and a cool box and cook kit. Yet for all the comforts it's still about being outdoors. The tents even have an awning so you can spend the evening losing yourself to the light-pollution-free night sky.
To make your stay that extra little bit fuss-free, there is an onsite tea room for your afternoon snacks and bespoke catering options can be taken in advance – all celebrating the best of local produce. Amber's onsite honesty shop is also stocked with the essentials you'll need for a good campfire, plenty of wood and fuel so you can toast those marshmallows into the last of the wee hours.
With so much to do in Mannington itself from badminton and boules, to woodland walks, to childrens' nature courses ('The Minnows'), you may need reminding of the fact that the Broads and North Norfolk Coast (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) beckon just down the road.
Norwich, England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Amber W.Joined in March 2015
2 Ratings · 14 reviews
June 15, 2022
Amber's Bell Tents at Mannington
Our first glamping trip!
Mannington was a wonderful place to stay, the grounds are great to explore, and the kids loved the pond dipping. The tents were well equipped and we enjoyed doing some camp fire cooking. The beds were comfy. Amber was in touch through the weekend checking all was ok. We had a lovely time.
September 6, 2021
Amber's Bell Tents at Mannington
Perfect 3 night break in the depths of Norfolk. The site has everything on hand to keep the fires burning. Tents where cosy clean and comfortable.The only down side was the drizzle.
July 17, 2021
Nicely set out site and wonderful to be able to use the gardens of the Hall (young one loved the enchanted wood). Great set up for the tent and supplying all the things you need on site. Completely off grid and free roam for kids - fab few days! Would thoroughly recommend
June 14, 2021
Arrived home yesterday after a long weekend at Ambers Bell Tents. We had a wonderful time, Ginny was very helpful and the accommodation was perfect. Very clean, roomy and had everything we needed.
We loved the little touches; outdoor games boxes, herbs for pizzas in the pizza oven and wheelbarrows to help with your luggage. Location was great with beaches a nice country drive (40mins), nearby villages and pubs (try the Pig, very nice).
Would recommend and would be happy for another visit.
August 23, 2020
We also had a great time at Mannington with its charming touches and lovely surroundings; cooking his pizza in a wood-burning stove was a delight for my 14 year old. Helpful detailed guidance was provided. Early mornings at the wildflower meadow were a special "slow Norfolk" time.
A few points worth attention:
- the shared use wheelbarrows for lugging kit to tents seemed an obvious COVID risk with different households touching the handles within minutes at busy arrivals/departures periods; might be safer to allocate one to each tent for the duration. I raised this with a person in a Mannington uniform near the rack but she just said the camping was an entirely separate business
- while the main bed was large and very comfortable, the child's bed was short and its construction provided little support; the 14 year old hankered after the larger and more robust campbed at a more utilitarian site in the New Forest
- even for someone used to remoter Cumbria, the narrowness of roads is a challenge, especially as SatNavs just route to a post-code by shortest distance; we had some exciting passing moments. After a few days, we got to learn the wider routes (e.g go to Matlask for E-W journeys); but a guide in advance would be helpful, especially for those not arriving from London.
But overall a lovely stay.
August 11, 2020
We chose ambers bell tents at Mannington Hall for our first family experience of camping with a five and three year old. A real highlight was that so much was already provided for us, the beds were really comfortable and bedding and blankets very cosy! We stayed during a heatwave so didn’t need to use the internal log burner but it’s looks like it would do a good job of keeping you warm in colder weather. Whilst some good kitchen equipment was provided we were glad that we took our own cool box (though we did use the campsite ice blocks) and gas stove/gas for easy cooking. All other things needed to use the pizza oven (amazing) and to create your own campfires were available in the honesty shop. A small jar of marshmallows were also provided which were immediately spotted by the children and didn’t last long.
Our children LOVED the location and the whole camping experience. They made good use of the frisbees provided in the communal area and loved running around and talking to the sheep and other wildlife. Using the wind up torches at night and staying up to star gaze were also highlights for them. Lovely walks were available in the Mannington Hall grounds and a nice little playground too.
We have visited the area a few times before but followed the suggestion of a visit to West Runton beach on a very sunny day which was a fantastic recommendation. We also visited Holkham Beach which was wonderful for kite flying. On our last day we went on the Sheringham to Holt steam train which was a hit with the kids and gives you wonderful coast views.
The campsite was very peaceful, you could easily have your privacy but also interact with others staying should you wish too.
Overall a really fantastic stay and our children are already asking when we can stay in Bumblebee again.
From the host
We are a family run, bell tent campsite, set in the grounds of a beautiful hall. We provide fully equipped bell tents, alongside a wood fired sauna, pizza oven and acres of stunning grounds and nature.
With Norwich, the Broads and the North Norfolk Coast practically on your doorstep, there's no shortage of great days out. The CanoeMan (0845 4969177) gives guided tours of these iconic waterways, while Holkham Bay is one of the latter's finest beaches. Nearby Holt is surprisingly bohemian, with a good selection of fashionable independent shops and restaurants. For the litt'luns, Bewilderwood (01692 633033) is an award-winning woodland adventure park with rope bridges, zip-lines and treehouses. In case you haven't had your fill of stately piles, Holkham Hall (01328 710806), Felbrigg Hall ( 01263 837444), and Walsingham Abbey and Gardens (01328 820510) are all within easy reach. You can also cycle the picturesque lanes surrounding Mannington (you won't lose your way thanks to the complimentary cycle maps).
Food and drink
Mannington Hall has its own tea shop and campers can contact Helen from the tea room before they stay to pre-order hampers, cakes, campfire stews, and other treats. Aylsham and Holt boast a couple of award-winning butchers – G F White (01263 732264) and P S Butchers (01263 713227), respectively. As for decent locals, The Walpole Arms (01263 587258) takes some beating. Just a mile from the site, this 18th century pub's traditional charms belie it's modern menu. The Walpole has won the coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand Prize ten years in a row. Be sure to explore their stunning garden too.