Categories: Camping

What is Glamping?

Synonyms, definitions and answers to that important question: What is glamping?

From bell tents to luxury treehouses, we explain what glamping really is and why a glamping getaway might be the perfect holiday for you.

Derived from the words “glamorous” and “camping,” glamping is an outdoor escape that combines the closeness to nature associated with camping with the luxury and convenience of proper self-catered accommodation. It is a form of outdoor holidaying that means you don’t need to bring your own tent, sleeping bags and paraphernalia—instead, you can turn up to ready-pitched accommodation that is already kitted out with all the essentials that you need.

Though associated with luxury, glamping varies greatly. Some locations may offer every item you could ever need, along with special features like hot tubs, saunas, power showers, massage parlours, activities and more, while other glamping options will be limited to far more rudimentary accommodation, perhaps with beds, bedding and some basic cooking facilities. As a consequence, glamping is also sometimes called luxury camping or luxe camping. However you choose to describe it, though, the important thing to remember is that it’s fun, convenient and can be the perfect way to ease yourself into the world of camping if you’re a bit nervous about roughing it in the great outdoors.

Glamping Definition

Although we first began writing about glamping back in 2011 (that was the year we published the world’s first glamping guidebook) it was not until 2016 that the term officially entered the Oxford English Dictionary. And, if it’s good enough for the clever folks in Oxford, then it’s good enough for us. Here is how they define it:

Noun: A form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping.

Glamping Accommodation

Glamping is an extremely broad term and while many forms of glamping accommodation, such as bell tents and safari tents, have a clear connection with traditional camping under canvas, many other glamping destinations are drastically different from staying in a tent. No matter the accommodation type, to be considered glamping, the site should have a genuine connection to the outdoors and offer the chance not only to enjoy comforts but also to run wild, climb trees, splash in rivers, stargaze and have the sorts of experiences that we associate with camping.

Many forms of glamping accommodation aim to offer weatherproof places to stay year-round, often aided by electricity, insulation and heating or the use of a wood-burning stove. Glamping pods, domes, and yurts, for example are often rented out during the winter months, while cabins are always popular.

There is also a trend toward to re-purposing older forms of shelter and transforming them into a modern glamping offering. Mongolian yurts, traditionally used by nomads on the Mongolian Steppe and across Asia, have become a go-to form of glamping accommodation, designed for both hot and cooler weather, while shepherd’s huts, used in England and Wales during the 18th and 19th centuries, have also become an up-market form of accommodation.

Not every form of glamping follows popular designs, however. Hundreds of glamping sites offer utterly unique, bespoke forms of glamping that can’t be found elsewhere. We’ve discovered wooden spheres suspended from trees, converted double-decker buses, upcycled shipping containers, old helicopters, and fairytale treehouses, along with many more options besides. Whatever you’re after, the chances are there’ll be someone out there who has built it. All you need to do is search Hipcamp to find your perfect spot.

Why Go Glamping?

There’s a reason glamping has gone from a tiny niche to something everybody knows about: it’s a lot of fun, plus convenient, comfortable, and the perfect break from hectic lives. Glamping has massive appeal, giving campers the chance to really immerse themselves in nature and step directly from your comfy abode into your natural surroundings. Here are just a few reasons why we love glamping.

There’s less packing to be done

You don’t need to own a tent, there’s no need to pack the camping chairs, and you can often forget the sleeping bags. Most glamping sites provide almost everything that you need, so you can turn up with just a change of clothes and a toothbrush. Job done.

You can sleep in a proper bed

Don’t worry about crawling around in a tent and getting a rough night’s sleep on a lumpy floor. Glamping means space to stand up, proper beds, real duvets, and the chance for a thoroughly deep night’s sleep.

You’ll have more time to explore

Less time spent pitching your tent means more time to go exploring. For a short weekend break, glamping means you don’t need to worry about losing time setting up camp—it’s already done for you.

It’s warmer than camping

Whether it’s underfloor heating, electrical radiators or a good old-fashioned wood-burning stove, most forms of glamping are adapted to keep you warm whatever the weather.

You’re never short of space

Unlike at a hotel or B&B, glamping often offers kids the chance to run wild and make the most of the outdoor space. With fewer rules and a general laidback atmosphere, going glamping beats staying in a hotel every day of the week when it comes to family trips.

In addition to serving as a Hipcamp editor in the UK, James Warner Smith is the author and editor of the UK's best selling camping guidebooks, the Cool Camping series. As well as appearances on television and radio, James has had articles published across the national press, in magazines, and online.

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