<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Surrey Life today click here

The most beautiful glamping destinations in Surrey

PUBLISHED: 08:11 18 July 2016 | UPDATED: 16:18 03 April 2017

The gorgeous setting of The Green Escape (Photo The Green Escape)

The gorgeous setting of The Green Escape (Photo The Green Escape)

The Green Escape

Forget soggy sleeping bags and cold beans; camping is a completely different experience these days – and what many people don’t realise is that, here in Surrey, we have some of the most beautiful glamping destinations in the country. Sebastian Oake explores just a few of the local getaways

Inside one of the gorgeous holiday homes of Surrey Hills Yurts (Photo Surrey Hills Yurts) Inside one of the gorgeous holiday homes of Surrey Hills Yurts (Photo Surrey Hills Yurts)

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2016


Picture the scene. You’re taking it easy with friends or family in a beautiful corner of the countryside, perhaps a woodland glade or a riverside meadow, backed by a golden sunset. There’s a bottle of fine wine open and you’re checking to see how your evening meal is shaping up on the campfire, the smell of woodsmoke hanging sweetly in the air. In the background is the distant sound of farm animals or perhaps the call of a loitering pheasant.

Later on, you’ll be toasting tasty marshmallows over the embers in the light of a glowing lantern, accompanied possibly by the soft strumming of a guitar, fireside stories or just wide-eyed stargazing as the evening sky begins to twinkle up above you.

Having a field day

If you think that sounds idyllic, you’re not alone. Growing numbers of people are being drawn to the simpler things in life when they book a summer holiday or weekend break – and through glamping they are discovering a whole new category of leisure experience. In short, it’s a bit like camping but without the dampness and the stiff back in the morning; or a little like staying in a holiday cottage but in one that’s been stripped of the clutter and stress of modern living and then lovingly placed in a tranquil location where it’s just you and nature on first-name terms.

Welcome to the world of bell tents, yurts, tipis, shepherd’s huts, log cabins and a lot more besides, all comfortably furnished with everything you need but still with an authentic rustic atmosphere and a little bit of magic thrown in for good measure. You’ll likely have a fire pit outdoors to cook on and a wood stove inside to keep you cosy while you snuggle down for the night in a bed that’s often more comfortable than what you’d find in many a hotel room.

Think glamping and you might at first think about the West Country or a remote location in Wales but there are now places much closer to home. And three sites that have opened recently show that right here in Surrey there are exciting opportunities for just this type of getaway.

Scenic Surrey spots

In the countryside near Westcott, Joanna and David Seall run Surrey Hills Yurts at Mad Horse Copse. At this picturesque spot, you’ll find well-spaced yurts, each with a wood stove and fire pit and sleeping up to six. There’s also a back-up field kitchen with gas hobs and hot water and in the nearby washroom rustic is taken by the scruff of the neck to meet luxury.

Other highlights at this rural idyll include the farm animals – look out for the Sussex cows, Gloucester Old Spot pigs and chickens – while your hosts also run courses that range from woodcarving to wild-food tasting, and can even arrange horse riding and archery sessions.

“It all began when we bought a piece of land, around 15 acres of meadow and woodland, for our own smallholding,” explains Joanna. “But it’s such a lovely spot that we thought, ‘Why not share it with others?’”

Over near the pretty village of Chiddingfold, Yvonne and Gary Harris run My Cool Holiday, where you can enjoy quirky accommodation that’s definitely worth holding your horses for. The couple have converted a period horsebox mounted on a 1975 Bedford lorry into the perfect living quarters. Affectionately nicknamed Ges, their horsebox sleeps up to two adults and two children and again a wood burner keeps the inside snug. There are cooking facilities and an additional bow-top horse-trailer – Baby Ges – provides a walk-in shower and all the other essentials.

“We did it for ourselves originally,” says Yvonne, “so we could have some fun and glamping trips away. But friends saw it and asked if they could use it and then people started asking if they could rent it, so things went on from there!”

Since then, Ges has become popular with families, couples on a romantic break and even brides and grooms. Although the horsebox remains fully road-worthy, its chosen location is on a friend’s nearby farm. “It’s in a secluded and tranquil position away from it all, tucked up against a wood,” says Yvonne.

Escape to the country

Different again is what’s offered by The Green Escape on the slopes of Leith Hill. Here there are seven shepherd’s huts set within a six-acre National Trust wood with an eco-friendly straw-bale lodge providing a hub for cooking, dining and, if you want, merry-making (there’s even a piano). There is also an outdoor kitchen, fire pits, hammocks, wood-stoves in each hut and a shower cabin.

It’s a package that’s just right for a private group of up to 20 people, as Suki Hitchcock, who runs the site, explains: “We get family reunions, people celebrating birthdays and corporate events. We also offer hen party packages for those who want to avoid the whole drunken nightclub thing.

“Here, there is the privacy of having your own patch of woodland. It’s a beautiful and changing landscape. If people come in spring, there’s a sea of bluebells. If they come later, the foxgloves are out and, in the autumn, fungi start popping up across the woodland floor.”

Close to home

So why has glamping taken off so much? Joanna at Surrey Hills Yurts says: “Many people don’t want to holiday abroad now and have all the hassle of airports. People like camping and this way they don’t have to set anything up. They can leave home with almost just a toothbrush. Suki at The Green Escape agrees: “Glamping appeals to all those people who want to be outside and get close to nature but who don’t necessarily want to do hard-core camping. There’s something very healing about being with nature. When people leave, they leave refreshed.” And over at My Cool Holiday, Yvonne is clear on why her converted horsebox is so popular. “We all live in a crazy world,” she says. “Ges gives people the chance to go back to a simpler life. It’s a laid-back getaway and a chance to unwind.”

And the advantage of choosing an outdoor break in Surrey, rather than say Cornwall or west Wales, is that you spend less time travelling and more time enjoying yourself. You can finish work at 5 o’clock and by 6 o’clock be somewhere special, ready to pour the wine and put a match to the fire.

Winding down and switching off does us all good now and again. But don’t forget, the very first thing that needs switching off on your trip is your mobile phone. For that surely has no place in the woods or meadows.



Congratulations to Long Acres Touring Park in Lingfield who have just been named this year’s winner of the AA Small Campsite of the Year. Set in the Surrey Countryside, Long Acres is a family-owned and run camping park, welcoming caravans, motorhomes and tents. And, new for 2016, are three cosy-looking glamping pods each sleeping four people. See longacrescamping.co.uk


Need to know:

• At Surrey Hills Yurts near Westcott, a June stay for two nights for two people starts at £250. More details at surreyhillsyurts.co.uk

• My Cool Holiday near Chiddingfold offers two nights for two people in Ges the horsebox for £290 in June. More details at mycoolholiday.co.uk

• At The Green Escape at Leith Hill, renting the whole site for up to 20 people for two nights in June starts at £1,300 or £32.50 per person per night. More details at thegreenescape.co.uk


Other options for cool stays

Big Hat Bushcamp, near Chertsey and Godstone

Bushcraft courses in campfire cooking, wild food, navigation and more for families and groups with the option of overnight stays in tipis, tents or woodland shelters. See bighatbushcamp.co.uk

Glamping Holiday, Springbok Farm Estate, Alfold

Bell tents in shabby-chic style with fire pits for cooking. Pre-prepared meals can be delivered to your tent and there is a bar at the nearby seafarers’ residential centre. See glampingholiday.co.uk

Heath Hall Farm, near Thursley

A shepherd’s hut housing a wood stove and kitchen. Outside is a hot tub, barbecue and optional additional sleeping space 
in The Arc, all on a farm 
with hens, ducks and geese. See heathhallfarm.co.uk

Lockhurst Hatch Farm, near Shere

A shepherd’s hut with wood stove set on a sheep farm. A farmhouse breakfast is delivered in the morning. See lockhurst-hatch-farm.co.uk

Retro Campervan, Guildford

Restored classic VW camper vans to self-drive to your chosen location. The vehicles are fully equipped with cooking facilities, running water and a sound system. See retrocampervan.com


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Surrey visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Surrey staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Surrey account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, the Mole Valley is one of the happiest districts in Surrey. The region is also home to some of the most rural and beautiful villages in the county. We pick 8 of the prettiest places to live in the Mole Valley

Read more

Located at the tripoint with Hampshire and West Sussex, Haslemere has always been a fiercely independent Surrey town and harbours a number of surprising hidden gems. Visit and you’ll soon see what has, through the ages, inspired writers, artists and residents alike

Read more
Monday, January 8, 2018

If you thought January was supposed to be quiet, think again. We pick 13 of the best events taking place in Surrey this month

Read more
Monday, January 8, 2018

Floral beauty may be scarce in the winter but it is the snowdrop that is the first herald of spring. Displays of these hardy little blooms can last from January through to March. We pick seven of the best places in Surrey to find snowdrops

Read more
Monday, January 1, 2018

Surrey villages are some of the most beautiful in Britain – think red-bricked cottages, cosy pubs, village greens and picture-worthy streets. We picked 14 of the prettiest Surrey villages to live.

Read more
Monday, December 18, 2017

From its controversial cathedral and setted (not cobbled!) High Street to its indpendent shops and riverside location, Surrey’s county town ticks a lot of boxes

Read more
Friday, December 8, 2017

Enjoy Surrey all year...

Read more
Monday, December 4, 2017

Guildford Fringe Theatre Company is back again with another risqué panto strictly for the over 18s from the Back Room of the Star Inn.

Read more
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Enjoy a delightful two mile heath and woodland walk around this country park, which recently achieved the highest rating from Natural England. A must for all the family – both two and four-legged!

Read more
Monday, November 20, 2017

Surrey is a county full of festive delights. Think cosy pubs, frosty views and long winter walks. We pick 22 wonderful reasons to spend Christmas in Surrey.

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Surrey is England’s most wooded county and the Surrey Hills boasts almost 40 per cent woodland cover. These woodlands hide a wealth of archaeological features. We pick some of the best woodland walks to explore

Read more
Sunday, November 5, 2017

Surrey has been used as a film location for many a blockbuster movie and the county’s hotels, woods and villages are no stranger to visits from the Hollywood A-list. Here’s just a few of the movies that have been, at least in part, filmed in Surrey

Read more

Head to the far east of the county and you’ll find a charming town with a big personality set at the foot of the North Downs

Read more
Monday, October 23, 2017

Foxhills Club & Resort is in the running for a prestigious national prize, after being shortlisted in two categories for the third consecutive year in the National Fitness Awards

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Surrey Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search