A sunny weekend in July saw Nathan and I take a trip to Croyde in North Devon for a stay in Freshwell Camping’s ‘The Getaway’. Read on to find out more about this unique place to stay and for campsite views of the beach that will instantly make you want to visit!
A Pure Slice of Glamping Heaven
We arrived at Freshwell Camping quite late on the Friday evening, just as the heavens opened and it started to rain. Given this hot summer we have been having it felt like we hadn’t seen rain for ages – we all know that the grass needs it – most of England currently looks like a dry desert! We received a warm welcome from staff, who gave us our key and directed us to the getaway.
As we unpacked, and the rain continued to poor I was pleased I wasn’t staying in a tent and would have a proper roof over our heads! I did, however, hope the rain would clear by the morning as I wanted to explore the beautiful beaches of Croyde after hearing so much about them and seeing so many gorgeous pictures on Instagram!
The Getaway and Night Garden
The Getaway was awesome – a really rustic, cosy, home from home. I was glad to see the proper double mattress and clean duvets and pillows – a real treat when glamping! The wooden hut had such lovely interiors – simple but lovely artwork adorned the walls and a gorgeous wooden bench provided a table with stools to sit on. The curtains and blinds were totally my style, and all matched the seaside blue theme! I loved all the little touches and the pile of books left for guests to read.
As if all this wasn’t gorgeous enough, the best bit about the glamping hut was undoubtedly the views! Huge front and side windows provide The Getaway with stunning, panoramic views over the rest of the campsite and beyond to Croyde Beach. I loved sitting at the window and watching people milling about and seeing the beach fill up as the day went on.
The hut also boasts apex skylight windows in the ceiling which enable you to lie in bed at watch the stars – very romantic and perfect for stargazers. The accompanying stargazing book provided helped us out when hunting for various constellations! More information and some neat pictures can be seen on Freshwell Camping Facebook page – be sure to give them a follow!
Outside the hut, there is a pretty night garden – a landscaped area which guests can relax and absorb the gorgeous views from. A table and chairs ware provided and there was plenty of space for a BBQ. A chimenea, fairy lights and flowers provided a very nice place to sit and chill, both throughout the day and later in the evenings. We took a portable BBQ with us and enjoyed BBQ food both evenings – one in the rain on our first night and the second which was much better as the sun was shining and we could sit out into the late evening watching the sunset.
The Getaway is situated at the top of the field, next to the three bell tents the site offers. It’s a great location and offers brilliant views. I enjoyed being able to look out over the rest of the campsite and watch the children playing and families setting up their various camping accommodation. The site has a really relaxed and friendly feel – campers are invited to pitch their tents in the location they want and there are no restricted tent pitches or places to park. The owners choose to not fill the field entirely and this makes sure people have plenty of space and aren’t crammed I like sardines. I think this helps give the site a laid-back, respectful and welcoming feel. More awesome pictures of The Getaway and rest of the site can be found on the Freshwell Camping Instagram page.
The facilities are basic but more than adequate and clean. There are separate toilets and showers which have plenty of soap and hot water. There’s a couple of washing up sinks and staff are on-site 24 hours should you need them. You can pay to charge your mobile phones or gadgets for a very small fee at the reception – there are no electrical hookups on site so don’t forget your battery packs.
Location and Prices
The site is in a very enviable location, perfectly situated for those wanting to explore Croyde and its beautiful beaches. Croyde Beach is a stone’s throw away and takes only a few minutes to walk to – perfect for those taking children or heading out for an early morning surf. For visitors wanting to head out for some shopping or food then Croyde Village is only a short walk away and can be easily reached by foot from the campsite. We took a walk and treated ourselves to an ice cream which was super tasty and very much needed in the high heat.
Freshwell Camping is located in a beautiful part of Devon and there are lots of places close by to explore. You could check out nearby Saunton Sands, go for a ride at Woolacombe Riding Stables, try pottery painting in Braunton or explore the unique village of Clovelly. Check out Freshwell Camping’s Twitter page for more information on what’s going on at the site and locally.
We also visited Baggy Point, an area of coastline owned by the National Trust. It’s a stunning walk along the coastal cliffs to reach Baggy Point and there are breath-taking views back to Croyde Beach. I wasn’t so keen on watching the climbers scaling the cliffs without any ropes though – my heart as certainly in my mouth every time the wind blew!
There is a National Trust car park located near Baggy Point which was £7 to park in unless you were a member! This was a similarly steep price to some of the beach car parks so unless you want to spend all your ice cream money on parking I recommend leaving your car at the campsite and walking!
After visiting Baggy Point we enjoyed lunch at the Surf Lodge Cafe which was tasty and well-earned after the very hot and sweaty walk!
Near the Freshwell Camping site and Baggy Point is Sandleigh Tea Room and Gardens. This is another National Trust place to visit and we enjoyed a cold drink the pretty gardens.
Prices to stay at The Getaway are £96 a night and the bell tents are £85. Whilst these prices could at first seem quite pricey, I think the stunning interiors, amazing views and closeness to the beach make the price worth it. Prices for camping start at as little as £12 per adult and £6 for children, making camping a really accessible and reasonably priced summer holiday for families and groups of friends. The site is only open from the middle of July to the end of August so be quick and get booking if you don’t want to miss out!
We had a great two-night stay at Freshwell Camping. The site was relaxed and had a family friendly, surfer vibe. The Getaway, with its little garden area, comfy bed and panoramic beach views was a pleasure to stay in and provided us with a starry, unique stay. I think it would make a really cute romantic retreat for couples celebrating a special anniversary or would be a great place for surfers seeking solace out on Croyde’s famous waves. Thanks to Freshwell Camping for having us!
***Our two-night stay at Freshwell Camping was provided to us on a complimentary basis in return for this review. All thoughts, pictures and opinions are entirely my own.***
What do you think of The Getaway? Would you fancy staying here? Let me know below!
Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre is an attraction I had heard lots about and had been keen to visit for a while. I loved fairground rides when I was younger, and I love museums, so I was really intrigued to see traditional fairground rides from years gone by and hear about their history.
Nathan and I went to Dingles on a Sunday back in May. We got there shortly after opening time and it was relatively quiet which we liked. We had brought our entry tickets online the night before as they were slightly cheaper (15% discount) and included some tokens for the rides. The tickets are valid for 12 months for a return visit so I’m sure we will be back soon!
First off, we went around the museum part of the attraction. Being home to the National Fairground Collection and the Fairground Heritage Trust it was full of if interesting information relating to the birth of fairground rides and a cool timeline detailing the development of rides through the ages.
I really liked seeing the old fairground horses from the carousels and seeing how intricately made and beautifully painted they were. There were some interactive displays for the little ones and even some wartime themed rides!
We then moved on to the fairground ride part of the museum. It was really cool walking around and seeing all the heritage rides in full swing – the lights and noise transported us back to the past and we were keen to spend our tokens and get riding! There was also lots of vintage stalls offering prizes and guaranteed fun!
We opted to go on the moon rocket ride first which was so much fun! It basically just went around and round until we were dizzy and giggling in hysterics! Nathan was holding on for dear life and wouldn’t put his hands up in the air which I found super funny. Check out videos of the rides of Dingles Instagram page.
Next, we tried out the traditional carousel and rode around on horses – when as the last time you went on one of these?!
We also went on the ghost train which was funny as we went one at a time and one of the ticket people jumped out at me as the ride ended (which was probably the scariest bit!). It made Nathan laugh a lot as you can imagine. The ghost train reminded me of being a kid and my big sister and I going on the ghost train at Dymchurch Fairground in Hythe where my Nan used to have a caravan – good times!
The dodgems were next – this was fun and a chance to be a big kid again. There were quite a few other people on at the same time which added to the fun of trying dodge people and chase Nathan round the track.
We tried our hands at some shooting too – I have never done this before but I was actually better than Nathan, much to his dismay! Neither of us were good enough to win anything though, never mind!
At times we had to wait a while for staff to come over and let us on the rides – I think because it wasn’t busy they didn’t have many staff working and so not all of the rides or stalls were manned. As it got busier it meant there were quite a lot of people walking around and waiting, which may have bothered some people. I can imagine they have more staff working during the summer holidays when it’s likely to be busier.
Dingles also houses a large collection of old-fashioned antique arcade games. We enjoyed playing on the heritage 2p slot machines and trying our hand at table football. Unfortunately, quite a lot of the machines weren’t working and swallowed some of our pennies which was a shame and a little frustrating.
After this we moved to have a look at the transport and living wagon collection. There were old-fashioned caravans and trucks. It was interesting to imagine them touring round, pulling along all the old rides so many years ago. I’m not sure what the darlek was all about though! Check out the DinglesTwittter page for more information and pictures!
The centre often puts on events during school holidays and as it was the end of half term when we visited, we saw some of the ‘dragons and unicorns’ event that had been running. We saw a unicorn (horse!) and lots of face painting and mythical activities for children. You can check out upcoming events on the Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre’s what’s on website page and follow them on Facebook.
After all that fun we needed some refreshments. We visited the onsite café and got ourselves some lunch. This consisted of a brie and bacon panini for me and a burger and chips for Nathan. It was priced as we expected (slightly more than we would have liked to pay) and could have been a bit tastier. We sat outside in the picnic area and enjoyed the Spring sunshine.
There’s a small gift and souvenir shop which sells books, memorabilia merchandise and the all-important postcard!
We really enjoyed our visit to Dingles and spent a good few hours there experiencing the fun of the vintage rides and learning about the heritage of fairground traditions. All of the memorabilia and historic collections are really interesting and there’s plenty of information for people to read. The centre is not far from Okehampton and located just off the A30. With plenty of free parking, a café and small shop there’s something for everyone and a really fun family day out!
Do you like fairground rides? Let me know in the comments below!
A camping pod, woodland walk, table tennis tournament, and breakfast brunchies – sound intriguing? Read on to hear about our brilliant stay at Forest Glade Holiday Park!
Welcome to Forest Glade!
I arrived at Forest Glade Holiday Park on a very sunny Saturday afternoon and I immediately got a good feeling about the site. I was greeted warmly at reception and given the keys to my home for the night. I had arrived on my own and had plenty of time to explore before Nathan joined me later after work. I made my way to the camping pod to see what it was like and settle in.
There are two camping pods on the site and they are super cute! They are situated in their own little separate area, near the entrance but away from the bigger touring and tent fields. They felt relatively private and as no one was occupying the one next to us it felt more secluded and quiet.
The pods have a little entrance area with two clever storage compartments – great for storing food or shoes etc. Inside, there is a double mattress at one end of the pod, with two single mattresses on either side. There’s plenty of space for four people to sleep and would be ideal for families. You have to take your own bedding and pillows but that was no drama for us. We slept pretty well and were warm enough. The mattress could have been a bit thicker which might have made it comfier but it’s kind of what you expect and it’s nice it’s provided and you don’t have to faff around bringing blow up beds or anything.
Also inside is a folding table should you want to eat inside or play games, a kettle and dustpan and brush. The pods also have mains electricity and lights which help a lot when you travel with a gadget man! Inside lighting means you don’t have to stumble around in the dark when it’s time for bed and can sit inside once the sun has gone down outside. Find out more about the pods and last minute booking deals on the sites Twitter page.
Outside the pod was a picnic bench and space for a BBQ which we utilised (I say we, Nathan always does the BBQ cooking – it’s such a man thing right!). We had burgers and ciders which went down a treat! We love toasting marshmallows too – it never gets old!
I enjoyed sitting outside in the sun, reading my book and munching on the Forest Glade fudge!
Facilities, Fun and Fudge!
The site has good facilities which are only a short walk from the pods. The toilets and showers were clean, had hot water and weren’t busy. There’s a laundry room too and separate facilities for the disabled and those requiring baby changing.
There’s plenty to do on site and I really enjoyed exploring what was on offer. An information room houses lots of leaflets for local attractions and maps for those who fancy a walk. There’s also a book exchange too in case you want to relax with a good novel.
For the children there’s a wildlife room – this has lots of information on local wildlife including flowers, birds and bugs. Children can enjoy picking up some information on wildlife trails and bug hunting expeditions. Colouring in and activity sheets are provided too so there is plenty to keep the little ones entertained!
If that’s not enough then there is a really fun looking children’s play park. It looked really safe and well maintained and I saw lots of children enjoying it. The site boasts a swimming pool too, so if you visit then don’t forget your costumes! We didn’t use the swimming pool as we weren’t really there for long enough but I did see lots of children having fun and splashing around. The pool didn’t look the biggest but looked more than adequate for a quick dip to cool off in this very hot summer heat. Be sure to check out the pool and other great pictures of the park on the Forest Glade Instagram and Pinterest feeds!
One facility Nathan and I did take advantage of was the games room. The games room consisted of some arcade type machines, a pool table, air hockey and table tennis. There was also a soft play area for little ones too.
We played quite a few games of pool and competed in our own mini table tennis competition – you’ll be glad to know I won!
We put all our remaining change in the toy grabber machine but narrowly missed out on winning a toy – it was so close! If we hadn’t run out of change I’m sure we would have won it eventually! I like to think the toy was left close to the edge and that someone will go along a win the toy soon!
The site is in a brilliant location – you feel like you’re right in the countryside and there are lots of woodlands to explore should you wish. I spent a while walking around the woodland and watching to a group of boys making friends whilst building a den and playing hide and seek. I almost wanted to join them as it sounded so much fun! I had to stop and remind myself I was 28 years old and joining their games probably wouldn’t have been appropriate!
There is a cute wildlife pond and I sat watching the ducks for a while! You can find a cute little video of the ducks on the Forest Glade Youtube page – seems I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed watching them!
There’s an onsite shop which was well stocked with all the holiday essentials as well as penny sweets (an essential in my eyes), Forest Glade branded fudge (another essential) and other souvenirs. Of course, I had to but my sister a pencil to add to her collection!
In case you don’t fancy BBQing or cooking your own food (you’re on holiday after all!) then there’s a small takeaway service available. The menu and prices seemed very reasonable and if we had been staying more than one night I’m sure we would have been tempted to order something for dinner. I liked the fact people were asked people to bring their own containers to serve the food into – it helps to be environmentally friendly and keeping the costs down.
Despite not ordering any dinner food we did treat ourselves to a breakfast brunchie – yep I’d never heard of one of those before either! You can order breakfast brunchies and other pastries the night before and then collect them in the morning. I was certainly intrigued to see what a breakfast brunchie consisted of and tasted like! We were pleasantly surprised in the morning – a breakfast brunchie was basically a pastry filled with all your breakfast foods including bacon, egg, sausage and beans – it was pretty tasty and unique!
Location and Pricing!
The holiday park is located in a beautiful area of Devon near Cullumpton. It’s not far from the Blackdown Hills; an area of outstanding natural beauty and easily reached from the M5 in both directions. You are advised to be careful what direction you take when getting to the park as there are some smaller narrow lanes and a steep hill if coming from the direction I did. If you are coming with a large campervan or caravan then you advised to go a different way and Forest Glade handily provide directions on their website. There’s plenty nearby to explore including walks on Exmoor, visiting the Jurassic Coast and family days out at Diggerland and Crealy Adventure Park. A short drive along the M5 will take you to the city of Exeter where there are lots to do.
Prices for the pods range from £33 to £40 per night depending on what time of year you visit – I personally think this is a bargain! You can check availability on the website and find out more information about the site on the Forest Glade Facebook page.
We really enjoyed our stay in the camping pod at Forest Glade Holiday Park. The staff were friendly and welcoming and the site had really good facilities – we especially liked the games room and the breakfast brunchies! The site is in a great location and there is plenty of woodlands, countryside walks and local attractions to explore. We would really recommend giving the pods a go and would love to return one day! Thanks to everyone at Forest Glade for hosting us!
***Our one night stay at Forest Glade Holiday Park was provided to us on a complimentary basis in return for this review. All thoughts, opinions and pictures are entirely my own***
Read on to hear about our wonderful woodland stay in a luxury bell tent at Owl Valley Glamping. Discover this private, hidden gem in North Devon – the perfect place for a glamping getaway!
A Warm Welcome to Owl Valley
Deep into the North Devon countryside we arrived at Owl Valley Glamping and parked up in the designated parking area. As instructed, we located the secret wooden box that houses the walkie-talkie needed to inform the owners you have arrived and within minutes Pauline and Ray arrived on their quad bike and warmly welcomed us to Owl Valley. Ray loaded up and took our luggage on the quad bike, whilst Pauline walked us down into the woodland to discover our bell tent site. During the walk, Pauline was able to tell us the history of the site, show us the facilities and introduce us to the abundance of wildlife that we passed.
After a pleasant 5-minute walk we arrived at ‘Tawny’ our bell tent and home for the night. Ray met us there with our luggage – I think this is such a simple but nice touch – saves you carrying all your bags! Pauline and Ray showed us round our little woodland site, including the beautifully decorated bell tent and separate toilet/ shower area. They also took us down to the Parliament recreational building, then left us to settle in and enjoy our surroundings.
Our Woodland Wonder
The bell tent was so lovely – decorated with a really homely feel and had a comfy double bed. There was all you needed for a relaxed and fun stay and we felt instantly at ease. Wooden boxes and crates revealed all we needed to cook and eat down at the tent including crockery, cutlery and pots and pans. There were candles, cushions, blankets and a cool box too.
As well as having a double bed, there were fold out mattresses that could be used to make beds for additional guests or families with children. I always think that bell tents are more spacious inside than they look form the outside, and there would have been plenty of space for more than two people to stay. You can find out more and follow the site on the Owl Valley Glamping Twitter page.
Outside on the decking area was a dining table and chairs. I loved the different coloured, rustic feel to the table and chairs and felt the vase with fresh flowers was a lovely extra touch. A BBQ is provided too, and we made the most of it cooking up some burgers and eating al fresco at the dining table. There’s something great about getting back to nature, cooking our own dinner over a fire and enjoying it whilst surrounded by beautiful woodland and wildlife.
It was a very warm evening and so we were able to sit out till late and enjoy watching the sun go down through the trees. The hot weather and wildlife around us did mean there were quite a few bugs about though, so I would certainly advise taking some bug repellent with you!
Our bell site tent had a separate raised building which housed a compost toilet and eco shower. The toilet was super clean (Ray mentioned he empties them daily) and Pauline had made sure there was fresh water available for us to wash our hands too. Whilst we didn’t brave the eco shower, had we stayed longer I think I would have enjoyed showering in the old-fashioned tin bath!
The window of the toilet building had a lovely stained-glass window which I liked – Pauline told me this was actually a sticker she had brought but I think it looked very effective all the same! I think it’s always nice when you go away on a glamping trip like this to have your own private toilet and washing area- it always makes me feel much more comfortable and there’s never a queue!
Time for Fun
Also on site is the parliament building – this is a big recreational shack-type building that houses lots of fun!
There’s a log burning stove with comfy seats to sit around on the colder evenings, a big dining room table and stacks of games and books which guests are welcome to borrow.
There’s also a darts board and mini pool table which we enjoyed! I was so pleased to win a very heated and competitive game of darts!
In case you don’t fancy using the BBQ at your tent or it’s raining outside, there are cooking stoves and all you need to cook up a storm in the parliment building. There’s washing up facilities too and lots of candles and fairy lights which light it all up and makes it look very pretty at night! There are only three bell tents at Owl Valley and the Owlet Cabin, so I can’t imagine the parliament building being too overrun with people or busy which I like. We were the only people staying at the site during this time so were lucky enough to have it all to ourselves! I really like all the quirky objects, cute touches and funny signs that made me laugh!
As if this wasn’t enough, the site is also home to Beaters Hut – a sitting area with a pizza making oven! There’s also a campfire area and my favourite – an old British telephone box filled with wildlife information, books and bug hunting equipment. I think this is such a great addition to the site and something to keep children entertained for sure. A small honesty shop is also available where you can find essentials such as milk, eggs and bread.
As well as having three well-spaced out bell tents, Owl Valley Glamping also offers the Owlet Cabin – a cute, secluded wooden retreat that can sleep up to five people. Pauline kindly showed us around the cabin, so we were able to take a sneak peek at the quirky and pretty interior and appreciate how fun it would be to stay there. You can find out more about the Owlet Cabin by clicking here.
We had a really enjoyable stay in ‘Tawny’ our bell tent. We slept really well having had a relaxing evening and woke up to sunshine and the sound of the birds singing. If you want a luxury glamping experience, combined with the opportunity to get back to nature and immersed in wildlife, then Owl Valley Glamping is for you! Pauline and Ray were lovely, welcoming hosts and seem to really enjoy meeting and getting to know their guests. The secluded woodland sites for each of the bell tents were very private and gave you your own personal piece of woodland wonder! I loved all of the wildflowers and thought the foxgloves dotted around were divine! You can find more pretty pictures on the Owl Valley Glamping Facebook page.
The location of Bideford and the rest of surrounding North Devon is beautiful! There are lots of nearby beaches and attractions to explore including kiddies favourite The Big Sheep, the unique village of Clovelly and historic Hartland Abbey. Ray provided us with lots of recommendations for the best nearby beaches and recommended we try a local Hocking’s ice cream – which we did down at Westward Ho beach and it was delicious!
Prices for a stay in one of the three bell tents range from £77 to £95 a night, depending on whether you visit in the high or low season. I think this is a really reasonable price for all Owl Valley offers. Prices for the Owlet Cabin start at £100. More information on pricing and booking can be found on their website.
Big thanks to Pauline and Ray for having us at Owl Valley Glamping, we had a wonderful stay and hope to return one day soon to stay in the Owlet Cabin!
***Whilst our stay was provided by Owl Valley Glamping on a complimentary basis, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own***
I think, at the grand old age of 28 that this was my very first visit to the circus! I really don’t have any memories of going to one before but in case I did, I apologise to my family if they did take me! Given I hadn’t been to the circus before but had heard many things about them over the years, I wasn’t too sure exactly what to expect. I was hoping for a big circus tent, lots of entertainment and some tense, mouth-dropping moments. Luckily, Paulos Circus provided me with all of these!
We arrived at Darts Farm in Topsham and parked easily – there’s a big field with tons of room. I was very excited to see it was a real big top circus tent and we collected our tickets easily. As it was a Thursday night it wasn’t too busy when we arrived and we were able to choose from plenty of seats. It certainly filled up as we got closer to the show time though, so I would recommend arriving early if you want seats close to the front.
There were popcorn, cider and fizzy drinks on offer and we couldn’t resist a bag of tasty popcorn to munch on whilst we watched the show. There’s no interval or breaks during the show so you have to buy these bits should you want them before the show starts – always good to know I think as when you go and see a show you don’t want to be caught out when you realise there’s no interval so you won’t be having an ice cream. This has definitely happened to me before – devastating!
Let the Show Begin!
The show started with some face paced stunts from Los Sanchez – a trio who take on the wheel of death and tease you, leading you to believe they are going to fall off! It was pretty impressive to watch them run around, jump and leap over the giant wheels; I couldn’t stop thinking “but what if they fell?!”
Next came something just as nerve-racking to watch – knife throwing! This was entertaining to watch but I’m glad I wasn’t the lady having to spin on a wheel whilst having knives thrown at me! James Bond eat your heart out for sure!
Laserman was up next which I think was both mine and Nathan’s favourite part of the show. The lights were super colourful and bright and timed perfectly to some foot tapping music. At one point I did think I might need to put my sunglasses on through as the lights were so bright! So if you have sensitive eyes like me maybe bear this in mind! It was quite hard to take pictures of the lasers and lights as they moved so quickly so do excuse some of the blurry pics!
Next, we met Mr N, a friendly, funny chappy who you meet several times during the show. He enjoyed getting a young lady up from the audience to bring her on stage –so if you’re not up for a bit of audience participation then pick your seat wisely! Mr N was pretty funny, got quite a few laughs, especially from the children who found his dancing very comedic!
As if that wasn’t enough there was juggling and an aerialist who performed a beautiful routine high up on a hoop. I wasn’t able to get any decent pictures of the hoop act but it really was quite a sight to see Ms Aurelie dangling, swishing and swopping through the air on an LED rainbow hoop!
All of the acts are introduced by the fab ring master who gets the audience going and has a funny sketch with Mr N which made us laugh. We enjoyed the Michael Jackson throwback too!
The show ends with a brilliant finale involving the return of Los Sanchez who balance themselves, a chair and a bicycle on a tightrope – no mean feat I don’t think! This was the perfect way to end the show and get the audience feeling nervously excited. It definitely added a real sense of drama and I could hear children gasping in terror/awe all around me.
For £7 per person, I think Paulos Circus is a great show and fun for all the family. There’s entrainment to suit all ages and lots to keep children gripped and amused. The costumes and makeup were brilliant and the loud, pumping music really get the audience going too. The show lasts about an hour and 15 minutes and is fun and entertaining.
Don’t let your children be like me and get to 28 years old having never been to the childhood tradition of the circus! Take them to witness the magical spectacle that is Paulos Circus and I’m sure they won’t forget it!
Paulos Circus will be down in Newquay, Cornwall for the rest of summer until September 8th so be sure to go check it out! Check out their Facebook page for dates and further info!
*** Our tickets to see the show were provided to us by Paulos Circus free to charge in return for this blog review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own***
Have you ever been to the circus? What’s your favourite circus act to watch? Let me know in the comments below!
A sunny afternoon in June took me to The Wood Life – a family run, luxury glamping experience in the heart of Devon. Located near the beautiful village of Kenn, a few miles outside of Exeter, you arrive at the site through some very narrow lanes and are awarded with some amazing countryside views.
Welcome to The Wood Life
After navigating my way down the narrow lanes and passing through a working farm I arrived at The Wood Life Glamping and was warmly greeted by hosts Amanda and Matt. Amanda led me to my home the night and lovingly showed me around. The Orchard Wagon site is secluded and private and offers the most wonderful views of the Devon countryside. Amanda was able to tell me about the old orchard site, other The Wood Life ventures and ensured I had all I needed for my solo one-night stay. I immediately fell in love with the area and was excited to explore the Shepard’s Hut and Bathing Wagon.
After Amanda left me too it and I unpacked the car, I spent ages looking around the wagons and taking photos – the place was just so photogenic and Instagram worthy!
A Delightful Shepard’s Hut
The Shepard’s Hut is the sleeping area and is just simply stunning. Opening the hut’s stable doors you are greeted with the welcoming sight of a beautiful handmade wooden bed, made up with crisp white sheets and comfy looking cushions. The bed is really well spaced and is positioned differently to many other huts I have seen. The bed is vertically placed, allowing for space either side for individuals to climb in – no clambering over your partner in the middle of the night or being squashed up against the wall! I was amazed at how much space there was in the beautifully decorated wagon; as well as the full-size double bed there was room for a foldable table and chairs, soft chair, table with a kettle, and a fridge.
Mains lighting is provided as well as plug sockets and cute lantern bedside lights. I loved how organic the place felt and enjoyed looking at the huge local map situated on one of the walls – it’s always nice to learn a little about where you are visiting and the nature that’s surrounding you.
A Bath with a View
Next to explore was the separate bathing wagon. Wow, what a magical bathroom this was! I couldn’t believe how beautiful the wooden decorated the wagon was and how stunning the built-in bath, sink and toilet were. Clean towels and toiletries were provided and everything was super clean, even the compost toilet!
The bath was beautiful and had the most incredible views of the countryside – I’ve never had a more relaxing bath with such beautiful views. You can open up the windows, so you can admire the view better, breathe in the smell of countryside and bathe listening to birdsong. I did have to work for the warm bubble bath though as you are required to heat the water for the bathroom using the wood burning stove – this was quite an experience and took me a little while to get it going (Nathan normally sorts out the fires, but he wasn’t with me this time!). The bath is well worth the wait and the perseverance though, and I think I enjoyed the luxurious bath more knowing I had worked for it!
Cooking and Chilling
My private, little glamping site also had a lovely place to sit outside and chill. Rustic table and chairs were provided, and I enjoyed sitting with a cup of tea and book enjoying the views in the late evening sunshine. A fire pit is available to cook on – I used the chopping wood and axe provided to chop wood for a fire and cooked some beef burgers. There’s something so magical about getting back to nature, making your own fire and cooking over an open flame (I might have used some of the provided firelighters to help get it going but still!) All pots, pans, crockery and cutlery are provided, and I enjoyed my burgers with some coleslaw and salad – yum yum! I sat eating them outside in the peace and quiet – it really is very tranquil, with only the sounds of the birds and cows to be heard.
If you don’t fancy the fire pit or the weather isn’t too good, then there is the option of cooking undercover at the kitchen and washing up area. There’s all you need to do some cooking, including a two-burner stove and cupboards to keep your dry food in. There are plenty of fresh herbs too which you are invited to pick. There’s a washing up area with sink, drying rack and all you need to clean the pots and pans. A Dutch oven is also available for use if on those colder nights guests fancy cooking up a stew, casserole or chilli over the fire pit. I think if I had been staying more than one night then this is certainly something I would have tried.
Location and Price
The Wood Life is situated in a great location to allow visitors to make the most of exploring Devon. The exact location is sent to you after booking but as the website states, it is close to Exeter city centre, surrounded by Haldon Forest and is only 3 miles from the South West Coast Path. Both the cute seaside town of Dawlish is within easy reach, as is the wild and rugged Dartmoor.
As well as offering the Orchard Wagon site, The Wood Life has a Woodland Camp which offers a cool and cosy looking safari tent situated in private woodland and sleeps up to 6 people. With its comfy interior, cooking facilities and kiddie favourites of a tree house, sea-saw and swing, it sounds ideal for family holidays. You can find out more information on The Wood Life website by clicking here.
Amanda and Matt are really interested in sustainable woodland management and a lot of the wood you see used at the site was sourced locally by Matt who offers woodland skill course and makes beautiful unique wood and glass tables. Knowing the stunning bed had been crafted the owners using local wood gave it such an organic and homemade feel which I loved.
Whilst I was lucky enough to stay for free, a night in the Orchard Wagon typically costs £100 which I think is very reasonable given its uniqueness and luxury feel. More information can be found on The Wood Life Facebook page.
Having experienced such a wonderful, relaxing, comfortable stay and having a bath with the best view ever, it is easy to see why The Wood Life was featured in the Guardian’s 10 best luxury campsites! It really is such a peaceful and natural place – I felt so relaxed and rested during my stay that I was so reluctant to leave! The visitors’ book is full of high praise for Amanda and Matt and details wonderful reviews of the glamping site – I’m glad I am not the only one that just totally fell in love with the place! Whilst I visited for the purposes of my review and was alone, I can see how the site would be so romantic if there with a loved one. It was shame Nathan was working and couldn’t join me, however, I really valued the quality me-time and the chance to really unwind and chill out!
I came away from my stay at the Wood Life having enjoyed a relaxing, peaceful woodland glamping experience. Both the sleeping accommodation and bathing wagon were beautifully decorated and furnished to such a high standard. The bath provided me with the most awesome countryside views and the homemade wooden bed allowed me to have such a comfy sleep. Chopping wood, cooking on the open fire pit and eating al fresco really took me back to basics and immersed me in nature. Situated against the backdrop of the gorgeous countryside and woodland forest views allowed me to enjoy an evening of pure relaxation and soak up the naturally tranquil atmosphere. Working to light the fire and heat the bathroom water provided me with a bit of challenge and made the bath all the more enjoyable knowing I had needed to work for it – I gained an odd sense of satisfaction from it!
In all seriousness, I had such a wonderful stay here and would return in a heartbeat! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Wood Life for a luxurious, romantic glamping stay and hope guests continue to enjoy all the site has to offer.
•••Whilst my stay was provided by The Wood Life on a complimentary basis, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own***