This glamping review of the Guilden Gate is brought to you by Rebecca from There were four in the bed and the little one said…
We knew we wouldn’t be going on a big holiday this year but still wanted a break away from home and to create a bit of an adventure for the kids.
I liked the idea of camping but as we don’t own several key pieces of the equipment needed (one of those being a tent!) I decided to look for something along the “Glamping” lines. Guilden Gate caught my eye and I showed it to my boyfriend, knowing that he too would love the idea of spending a few nights sleeping in a converted VW camper van in a beautiful woodland. Not to mention our own wood-fired hot tub and a few other little luxuries that would make a trip away with two small children that little bit easier, such as an undercover kitchen area with a gas stove, a delightfully odour-free compost loo and a constant supply of firewood from our lovely hosts Simon and Jacqueline.
From the minute we arrived the boys kicked off their wellies and ran free and that set the tone for our entire stay. As two shift workers juggling work, study and childcare between us, a few days at Guilden Gate was exactly what we needed. The chance to just relax, and enjoy being together as a family, with no timetables, no schedule, no obligations, in fact, no clocks or concept of time at all!
Our boys woke when the sun came through the VW windows, we got the campfire going when we started feeling hungry, and slept when we were tired and there was no shortage of places to snooze, as the van houses two beds, a small one at the front, suitable for two small kids to share and a full sized double at the back, plus there’s the futon in the bell tent, or (my personal favourite) the hammocks, hanging from the trees.
Every time I climbed into one with the intention to relax, listen to the birds, maybe read a couple of chapters of a book, I almost instantly fell asleep. Which may either be a testament to how sleep deprived I am or how ridiculously comfy they were, or perhaps a little of both!
Neither of us had ever cooked anything over a campfire before (other than the obligatory marshmallows). Despite that, we found that with plenty of wood, and thankfully dry weather for the majority of our stay, we were able to do most of our cooking on the fire. There is also a twig-powered rocket stove on the fireplace for making quick cups of tea but I confess we cheated and used the stove for that!
Simon suggested we make use of the wood burner on the hot tub when that was in use as it got very hot very quickly and that turned out to be an excellent tip, and meant the boys and I were able to have an early morning dip in the hot tub whilst Chris cooked sausages for breakfast!
The hot tub itself took a good couple of hours to warm up the first time we used it, but thanks to the cover, it then stayed at a decent temperature for most of our stay which meant that it became one of our favourite activities!
I was the only one brave enough to give the solar shower a try and I have to say, it was…err…bracing! But despite having had dry weather every day, the sun was hidden behind clouds for a lot of our stay which probably explains why it was so cold!
The layout of the site meant that we felt we were in the middle of nowhere, with only the sounds of the wildlife, and the occasional aeroplane overhead, but in fact we were only around 100 metres away from our hosts’ house. It was great feeling so secluded and yet knowing that help was at hand if we needed it. Also one of the outbuildings housed the fridge (for our use only) and there were sockets available for charging cameras/mobile phones etc which was an unexpected bonus.
Simon and Jacqueline had told us they’d be happy to answer any questions we had so we learned a little about wind turbines and bee keeping too while we were there!
As we’d had a fairly hefty drive there and knew we’d have a long trip home too, we were happy to spend most of our time just relaxing and enjoying being at Guilden Gate but we did venture down the road to Wimpole Hall Estate a National Trust property for an afternoon, and we did take a walk into Bassingbourn to sample some of the goodies from the village bakery which I can highly recommend.
Almost everything was provided for us other than food or drink, which was ideal as packing light with 2 little ones is a skill I have not yet mastered, but since bedding, pots, pans, utensils, firewood, books, games, a picnic blanket, even 2 bikes were all provided I needn’t have worried. Our 3 year old adored the wind-up gramophone in the loo, and once he’d discovered what it was, no toilet trips passed without a little music to accompany them.
If we were to go again (and we’re already talking about when that will be) the only thing we’d do differently would be to stay longer!
A huge thanks to Rececca & family for sharing their holiday. Guilden Gate looks such a fab destination, I’m really loving the concept of all those little glamping rooms!
For more information, reservations and prices – please check out the Guillden Gate website.
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