If I told you I had just spent the last week on a self-catering escape and ‘Glamping’ (Glamorous Camping’) in the pretty countryside and woodland of Dorset in England, you’d probably envision a damp canvas tent, Calor gas cooker, tinned food and a shared shower block, but for anyone that knows me, they’d know I simply couldn’t survive a week like that! I have, however, just come back from a glorious week staying on a beautiful camping ground near the picturesque ruins of Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck, the difference being, I stayed in a wonderfully luxurious wooden lodge complete with bubbling hot tub on the deck, floor to ceiling windows from which to admire mother nature’s wonders and underfloor heating, wood-burning stove, snuggly robes and slippers to keep you warm and toasty whatever the weather!
The beautiful lodges are part of the Rempstone Estate and Farm which offers a large camping ground (for those hardier than me that don’t mind erecting their own tent come rain or shine, of which there were many!) as well as 22 superb, architect-designed two and three-bedroom lodges with hot tubs and wood burning stoves, known as the ‘Burnbake Lodges’.
Surrounded by nature and wildlife, I enjoyed seeing numerous squirrels and wild rabbits hop past our lodge, friendly robins join us while we sat in the hot tub as well as deer stalking through the green field beyond and west country brown cows and sheep grazing nearby. I would love to say we were woken by birdsong from the dawn chorus each morning, but the insulation around the lodge is so good that you hardly hear anything from outside even when we experienced a stormy gale with high winds mid-week, from the bedrooms you would have thought nothing was going on outside, which delivered a blissful night’s sleep!
The Rempstone Estate lies right in the heart of The Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, moments from Corfe Castle and a short drive to the golden beaches of Studland and Swanage town. The location allows easy access to everything the Isle of Purbeck and the Poole Harbour area has to offer. The Jurassic Coastline, along with the Victorian seaside resort of Swanage with its wonderful Steam Railway and the quaint Saxon walled market town of Wareham are within a 20-minute drive, as are a host of award-winning attractions including Monkey World, the Bovington Tank Museum and a Water Park.
Style & Character
The camping grounds themselves are as you would expect: au natural and rustic with all the usual amenities, however the luxurious lodges, by contrast, have been designed to blend in with their natural surroundings and are minimalist, chic and modern. Inside they have been decorated with a touch of nature courtesy of the artwork on the walls and wonderful small log coffee stool and wooden coffee table, dining table and chairs and lamp which lie in the spacious open-plan living area. With floor to ceiling windows and sliding glass doors throughout, the lodges are drenched in natural sunlight from dawn until dusk and at night the lodges feature plenty of lighting options with dimmer lighting in the lounge and dining area.
Service & Facilities
Burnbake is a family owned 12 acre partially wooded campsite on the beautiful Isle of Purbeck with an emphasis on family camping. There are over 100 camping pitches, some open and sunny and some shaded under the trees (note: caravans can’t be accepted due to a restriction on the licence). There are 2 facility blocks both on the Main campsite, the larger block contains Ladies and Gents toilets and showers and wash up sinks and the smaller contains unisex showers, a baby changing area and a small coin-operated laundrette facility and more wash up sinks.
To benefit both campers and lodge visitors, there is the small but well-stocked Burnbake Shop situated on the main campsite, just down from reception. Its opening hours vary according to the season but the minimum hours are 8.30am until 10am in the mornings and again 5pm to 6.30pm every evening (when it’s closed a small stock of essentials can also be purchased from the reception). The shop stocks a variety of groceries, treats, ice creams, toys and camping goods all from local suppliers wherever possible. Fire pits and picnic benches are available for hire (note: you will need to leave a cash deposit and pay a nightly hire fee of currently £5 per night).
For children, there is a very small play area on-site, however if you’re looking for something a little bigger Swanage offers two excellent playgrounds, one just behind the railway station (from which you can watch the steam engine arrive and depart) and one set on the hill behind the beach, we spent a good few hours in both!
Burnbake is home to 22 luxury forest lodges, there are 2 and 3 bedroom lodges as well as 3-bedroom Executive Lodges to choose from.
We stayed in a very spacious 2-Bedroom Lodge. On arrival, we quickly collected our keys from reception and drove straight round to our private parking space directly outside our lodge. We were met by a friendly robin on our doorstep before stepping through the front door to be met with a small hall area, perfect to kick off shoes and wellies and hang up your coats on the hooks provided.
The hall area leads straight onto the well-equipped and contemporary galley kitchen which featured every modern amenity you should need including fridge, freezer, oven, 4 ring electric hob, microwave oven, slimline dishwasher, washing machine, sink with lovely softened water and plenty of crockery, cutlery and cookware. In the kitchen, we were also met with a lovely welcome tray with everything you could need for a delicious breakfast on your first morning including fresh eggs, seriously delicious bacon, a freshly baked loaf, milk, tea, coffee and sugar – such a lovely touch and most welcome after the journey down!
In front of the kitchen, you find the open plan living area with spacious lounge and dining room, divided by the wood-burning stove in the middle. The lounge boasts a large corner sofa, plenty big enough for 5 or 6 people to sit on as well as a flat-screen TV and complimentary wifi (note: we didn’t have any mobile reception at the lodge, but as this was a back-to-nature escape we weren’t bothered by that at all and your mobile could still connect to the wifi if you wanted to get in touch with the outside world). The dining room offered a dining table with 4 chairs which opened out through floor-to-ceiling large glass sliding doors onto the deck with a wicker outdoor dining table and 4 chairs.
Behind the kitchen lay the 2 spacious bedrooms: the master features an incredibly comfy double bed, lots of wardrobe storage, 2 side tables, bedside lights and an ensuite bathroom with large bath, overhead rain shower and WC; the second bedroom is set up as a twin and again offers ample storage space. There is a separate shower room with large rain shower and hand-held shower, just next door to the second bedroom. Finally, my favourite treat was the outdoor hot tub on the deck overlooking woodland wildlife and nature, truly magical and memorable – our 2 girls loved it!
Lodges are available for week-long visits or short breaks. Weekly bookings run from Friday to Friday, weekend 3-night breaks are available from Friday to Monday and 4-night midweek breaks from Monday to Friday.
Food & Drink
Whether camping in a tent or staying in a lodge, you are there on a self-catering basis so need to provide your own meals, however, there is an excellent pop-up café. Found between the reception and the shop, the café serves a delicious cooked breakfast and dinner every day with dishes like moules, fresh fish and steaks in peak season and at weekends May to September. The area is full of country pubs which serve delicious hearty fare and the reception team will be able to recommend a few, plus there are fish and chip shops, cafes, restaurants and pasty shops nearby in Swanage. In terms of getting groceries, both Asda and Sainsburys also deliver to the lodges which is very handy!
All in all, this was a wonderful back-to-nature escape, perfect to reconnect with family and loved ones. Will we return? The answer is a resounding: Yes! In spite of the questionable British weather (we experienced storms and sunshine and showers all week) we had a wonderful stay, enjoying the hot tub and returning home to our wonderfully snug home-away-from-home each day. If you want to visit pretty little seaside towns, quaint English villages, explore castles and immerse yourself in nature, then Burnbake Lodges has it all.
Disclosure: Most reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.