If you long to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and want to take some time out to reconnect with your family and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, you would be hard pressed to find anywhere as enchanting as Longlands in Devon. Set on the beautiful Longlands Farm in Combe Martin, North Devon, this is Glamping with a difference. Situated in a Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the North Devon coast, this glamping hideaway allows you to unplug from the daily rush, immerse yourself in nature and bond as a family over a camp fire, seaside walk or afternoon board game and you can even bring the dog!
This isn’t your average camping holiday, instead it captures all the fun of camping and combines it with log cabin style accommodation (including private shower facilities – phew!), the benefits and caring service of a great B&B, the romance of a country hideaway and it even provides all the comforts of home too – this really is a hidden gem in the Westcountry. Situated in the western corner of Exmoor National Park, which incidentally was designated the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe confirming Exmoor as one of the best places for star gazing in Europe, this retreat comprises of five luxurious Safari Lodges, luxury cottage for two, larder shop, its own private lake and acres of grounds to play in and discover.
The Safari Lodges are a thing of beauty in themselves, cleverly designed timber retreats built on stilts with canvas roofs and much of it open air to give you all the benefits of an outdoors-y camping experience but with the little luxuries of home. Each of the more than luxurious glamping Safari Lodges sleeps up to 6 people and 2 dogs in a King Bedroom, a Twin Bedroom and a Double Cabin Bed. Unlike conventional camping on one of those ever-deflating airbeds, at Longlands you will enjoy the sumptuous comforts of real bed made with luxurious bed linens, a 4.5+9=13.5 tog duvet and little extra touches like hot water bottles and blankets, should you need them. One of my personal favourite things about Longlands is that each lodge comes with its own en-suite shower room and separate en-suite wash room (with flushing toilet and basin) as well as all the bath linen you should need, a range of natural aromatherapy bathroom amenities, plus essentials like toilet paper, cotton wool, hand towels, soap and hand cream – now this is what I call luxury glamping! At the heart of the lodge is a wood burning stove which keeps the lodge warm and snug in all weathers, and provides a means of cooking (either on top, as you would on a hob, or in its spacious oven compartment, there’s even a slot for warming your plates), there’s also a small gas ring for quick cups of coffee, tea and hot chocolate, again all provided for you. Each Lodge has a fully equipped kitchen with its own mains supplied sink, a small cool box and a shelf in the Larder fridge if needed. The lodges feature a rather wonderful large deck area at the front with sofa, table and chairs so you can sit back and enjoy the amazing views over the lake, valley and down to the sea, plus there’s a blanket box which has been lovingly packed with games from our childhoods like good-old Monopoly and Scrabble. In addition to all of this each lodge comes with its own private BBQ platform with a Kadai fire bowl for BBQing and a bench from which to enjoy the view (tip: charcoal and marshmallows can be bought in the Larder shop and you can order a BBQ basket from the Larder menu for the most hassle-free barbequing ever!).
Now if the romance of a few nights in a canvas roofed lodge isn’t quite up your street, fear not, Longlands caters for everyone as there is a beautiful Longhouse romantic retreat designed for two. This luxurious cottage reserved for couples only, features an open plan kitchen & living area, bathroom with tub and laundry facilities, a well-stocked library / art studio and a sumptuous master bedroom with king-size bed made up with White Company Egyptian Cotton bed linen, duvet, pillows, mattress topper and en-suite shower room. The fully equipped kitchen has everything you should need from utensils, complimentary condiments and herbs to cook books and more, however, if you’d like a break from cooking you can simply just order from the Larder Menu which includes breakfasts, lunches, dinners and even picnic lunches!
Longlands is quite unique in the fact it offers a larder from which you can order breakfast, picnic lunches and evening meals to make your glamping stay even more luxurious and leisurely, simply mark your choices on an order form and place it in the Larder by 8:00 pm and send the children to collect it in the morning – blissfully easy! The larder stocks all sorts from freshly baked croissants and pain au raisin to baguettes, award winning local jams and evening meals like Chilli, Curry, Lasagne and Cottage Pie and there’s even the BBQ basket to cook on your Kadai back at your lodge. Plus for those of us with a sweet-tooth there are delicious desserts including french patisserie tarts, Chocolate Torte, Baked Vanilla Cheesecake and locally made, award winning ice creams. To wash it all down the Longlands Cellar stocks a range of wines, ciders and beers too – Longlands truly leaves you wanting for nothing. And if you fancy a change of scene there are plenty of great local pubs and restaurants to enjoy nearby too, simply ask for recommendations.
There is so much to do at Longlands with its 17 acres of beautiful North Devon countryside which boast a private secluded valley, streams, ancient woodland and its very own private boating lake complete with two skiffs: “Oxford” & “Cambridge”. The lake is stocked with over one hundred rainbow trout and in the Larder you will find fishing rods and nets so you can catch your own supper! So get back to nature and spend your days exploring the woods, cascading waterfalls and golden sands of the beach, paddling around the private lake, deer-spotting and more, not forgetting the incredible star gazing available at night. In addition to all of this you can learn to surf, discover the Tarka trail with great views of the coast, meet Exmoor ponies and if you want to go further afield there’s Exmoor Zoo, the Dinosaur Park in Combe Martin, Aquariums, Castles, Railways and much more, again simply ask for recommendations.
How to get there
If you’re driving you’ll find Longlands on the western border of Exmoor, five minutes from the picturesque coastal village of Combe Martin and 15 minutes from the harbour town of Ilfracombe. It takes just 50 minutes from Junction 27 of the M5 and 3.5 hours from London. The nearest train station is Barnstaple (12 miles away), however, train routes and connections often make Tiverton Parkway a more convenient station, even though it is 40 miles away, from which you can get a private taxi or bus. Finally, the two nearest airports are Bristol (90 miles / 1 hour 50 minutes) and Exeter (57 miles / 1 hour 10 minutes).
So if you’re looking for the perfect family escape to enjoy quality time together away from the stresses and strains of hectic city living, then the luxurious glamping retreats at Longlands will seriously take a lot of beating.
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