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Short stay: Lantern & Larks glamping at Exton Park, Rutland, UK

On a large country estate in England‘s smallest county lies a wonderfully secluded Lantern & Larks glamping site. On arrival, we were warmly greeted by June who showed us to our ‘tent’ located in a peaceful walled garden on the Exton Park estate. There’s no electricity, no WiFi and no mobile signal. To some this might sound terrifying, but I would urge you to give it a try and enjoy every moment of the experience. No cars are permitted in the garden, so we transferred our luggage using the wheelbarrows provided. These can also be used for collecting a free supply of logs for your woodburner and outdoor barbecue. The walled garden must be a few acres in size and yet there are only six tents within this wide open space. The upshot of this is that everyone glamping here has their own privacy and space. At the time of our visit, the grass has reached quite a height, further adding to guests’ privacy, with strategically-mowed pathways to allow easy access to each tent. We stayed in a tent called Osprey – the furthest from the entrance to the garden, but also the nearest to the lake at the bottom of the garden, and arguably the most secluded of the six. It overlooks the alke… …where a couple of swans and their cygnets can be seen nesting or peacefully swimming around. The accommodation had everything we needed. It was more like being in a self-catering cottage than being under canvas, complete with its own living space… …dining area and kitchen. Like all the other “tents” in the garden, Osprey sleeps up to 6 people in three bedrooms. The master bedroom has a king size bed. There is also a twin-bedded room… …and a room with a bunk bed. Unlike camping, there’s no going outside to find a toilet or shower. Instead, with glamping at Exton Park, you have your own shower and toilet within your accommodation. So there’s no getting up in the middle of the night, scrambling your way through the darkness outside in order to find a toilet block. And there’s no cooking on a tiny camping stove, struggling in whatever weather you’re faced with at the time. The property has its own woodburner which doubles up as an oven, and can even be used as a hob. If the elements are in your favour, there’s an outdoor barbecue for each tent. A great opportunity for the children to have fun with marshmallows! The immediate outdoor space includes a decked area with deckchairs, and a separate picnic table. Without electricity, WiFi and the usual trappings that we become all too accustomed to, glamping at Exton Park gives you an opportunity to look up from your screens, relax a little, and be at one with the outdoors. It’s a chance to focus on those little things that we all too often just don’t pay attention to, and share quality time with friends or family. You don’t need to go far if you’ve forgotten something either (so no driving off-site just to grab a moment’s mobile signal!). A potting shed on the edge of the walled garden has been ideally converted into an honesty shop. There you’ll find rechargeable lanterns which you can borrow, and a whole range of items that you can purchase – from provisions to kindling. There’s even a freezer where you can borrow frozen ‘hot water’ bottles to help keep your usual refrigerated items cool. Should you wish to go off-site, you are very close to Rutland Water which happened to be the reason for our visit since our children were sailing there. You can take a cruise on the lake, visit an aqua park or check out Bugtopia the Zoo, all of which are within a 10-minute drive. A little further afield you have Grimsthorpe Castle Park & Gardens, Burghley House and the National Trust’s Woolsthorpe Manor but my advice would be to spend the majority of your time at the glamping site to truly enjoy the experience and solitude that comes with staying there. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Disclosure: Our stay was courtesy of Lantern & Larks.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. WOW!! I love the house! I love the beautiful landscapes there.I love being with nature! I wish I could live a life like that when I am retired. That must be very COOOOL!

  2. Now glamping is my kind of camping! No more uncomfortable floors and dingy toilet blocks. Now we can experience a connection with nature in comfort and luxury. I’m so pleased! My grandkids would love this, and being close to home is ideal for a short stay away. Sometimes the mind needs to disconnect and get back to the basics. Just not too basic!

  3. Hi Jack – thanks for dropping by and commenting. Why wait until you’re retired? :)

    And thanks, Nomi… indeed! You make a good point with grandkids: I believe this kind of getaway lends itself really well to a multi-generational holiday. Children can enjoy the nature, parents the R&R, and grandparents will – I’m sure – appreciate the comfort. There are few holidays that accommodate all generations this well IMHO.


  4. Now this kind of camping is something that I could get on board with. The thought of having to shower or use the facilities in a block rather than having your own is something that has always put me off. Could I do without electricity and wifi for a weekend? For beautiful surrounding like this I think I could.

  5. Always wanted to go glamping! It’s perfect for someone like me who loves the outdoors but is not very ‘outdoorsy’ if you know what i mean lol. No electricity, wifi or mobile signal is indeed terrifying and I really don’t know whether I’d be able to do it!? Always worrying whether someone will need to contact in case of emergency hahaha, please tell me that’s not just me? It really does seem like a special place though, would love to visit one day.

  6. I didn’t know it was the smallest county in England, that’s interesting. I’d really love to go glamping, my family aren’t so keen but I’m sure I can persuade them one day. It looks like an amazing experience being so close to nature but staying somewhere clean and comfortable. I also like the range of activities there is.

  7. I have always wondered what glamping would be like because I love camping and my partner hates it but this seems like a lovely in-between and actually looks so lovely. I didn’t realise you could have so many lovely facilities! It sounds like the perfect family break!

  8. Lovely! I am definitely going to check this place out for later this year. Outdoors, away from hordes of people… what could be more perfect for the current climate?

    1. Yes, and because each property has its own WC/washing facilities, rather than everything centred around a communal ‘toilet block’ as is the case with many campsites, I think that will offer many people added re-assurance at the current time.

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