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Short stay: Abbey Farm glamping, Alby, North Norfolk, UK

Abbey Farm takes glamping to new levels of indulgence. Look out from the private hot tub on your terrace, Abbey Farm gin in hand, to take in panoramic views of Norfolk’s big skies views. Meanwhile, in the kitchen there is dough to roll out pizzas from a Bertie’s nudja pizza kit before slipping them into the pizza oven on the terrace. High-end glamping at this luxury site, idyllically located between the Norfolk Broads and the North Norfolk coast, is about much more than the basics of hot showers and reliable Wi-fi. Here, on Abbey Farm’s East Meadow, owners Jonathan and Lara deliver hamper pampering to guests. Sophisticated geodesic domes, looking like futuristic 2001: A Space Odyssey homes, provide a spacious rural retreat from everyday life. The welcome One of the attractions of glamping is freedom. No check-in, no formalities. The key is in the door. Arrive when you will. Jonathan calls in to welcome us and drops off a hamper of culinary treats. Appealing to our innate Bear Grylls instincts, he shows us how to light the wood burner. Over the coming days we rediscover mankind’s desire to tend the flames. Soon we have created a cosy ambience in the dome. The dome Although this is an idyllic rural location there is a stylish penthouse feel to the domes. Light grey wooden flooring and the dome’s cream interior contrast with sleek black furniture. A tan sofa and a huge smart television add decadent tones. Two tan pouffes remind us that this this is the time and place for literally putting your feet up. Within the dome there is a central black wood cuboid. One wall features the door to the bathroom housed within. Another two walls provide backdrops to lounge and bedroom, whilst a fourth wall houses the kitchen. Above, up a ladder, is a mezzanine level with another double bed. For groups of six, the sofa converts into another double bed. An oval dining table, seating six, looks out through the panoramic large window onto those Norfolk views. Although the hosts provide pizza and BBQ packs, there is also a two ring electric hob, microwave and fridge for enthusiastic self-caterers. The bathroom These slick contemporary bathroom facilities are very different to those traditionally associated with outdoor living. Even the bathroom cabinet is large enough to store away everyone’s necessities. Towels from the White Company are deliciously deep and fluffy. Toiletries are locally sourced with fragrances from Norfolk Natural Living. The facilities Looking out over the East Meadow, with those panoramic sunrise views, each dome has its own terrace featuring hot-tub, BBQ / pizza oven and garden furniture. Fencing, lit with fairy lights, provides privacy from neighbours but leaves the view open. Location Abbey Farm, Alby is well positioned for exploring Norfolk. A 15 minute drive north takes guests to the coastal path that runs through Cromer, Overstrand and Sherringham. Further west along the coast, Blakeney is home to thousands of seals, although it is best to take a boat trip to maximise the chances of seal-spotting. Heading south from Abbey Farm, 30 minutes takes guests to Norwich’s city attractions. Felbrigg Hall and Blickling Hall, two grand National Trust houses, are less than 6 miles away from Abbey Farm. Blickling Hall sits in over 4,000 acres and like the less extensive Felbrigg has a variety of sign-posted walks. Close to nature, Abbey Farm is an easy departure point for country walks or rural bike rides. Bring binoculars for bird and wildlife spotting. Other nice touches Guests are welcomed by a hamper with tea, coffee, jam and pastries. Abbey Farm’s own gin and beer help guests to relax. Then for that final relaxation, at the end of the day, a pillow mist is provided. The cost Prices for a three-night stay begin from £675. Domes can sleep up to 6 guests. The best bit Glamping at Abbey Farm is a great location for family and friends to meet up for a long weekend or a midweek break. Abbey Farm’s domes and gardens are designed for easy-going socialising. As well as the options of the BBQ and pizza kits guests can also order sharing charcuterie platters and afternoon teas. The final verdict Abbey Farm provides an idyllic rural getaway as a stylish destination which redefines glamping with designer flair. This is a fun hands-on experience: honing BBQ skills, creating the perfect pizza, tending the wood-burner. Guests can step out into the North Norfolk countryside, head for the coast or enjoy Norwich’s culture. Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Abbey Farm Norfolk.

Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards is a travel writer from Oxfordshire, UK. Although Michael had his first travel pieces published nearly four decades ago, he is still finding new luxury destinations to visit and write on.

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  1. To be honest I have some bad memories of camping in a muddy field as a Boy Scout. I think a week living like a Lord in one of these domes might exorcise those bad times. It all looks incredibly designer and spacious.

  2. At times I struggle with the concept of glamping. I’ve never been a fan of holidays under canvas but I’m beginning to see that you can have the countryside right on your doorstep with all the luxuries of a hotel suite. Who knows I may even give it a try?

  3. Have I been living under a rock? I didn’t know glamping could be this luxurious. It looks like a hotel room even. Very few places I’ve seen accommodates such a large number of people. I have yet to try glamping and this just makes me want to reconsider about my travel plans in 2022.

    1. The Abbey Farm domes beat hotel rooms in many ways. We like our houses detached and there are several metres between you and your neighbouring dome. Of course you’d have to pay big bucks for a hotel room with views like these. The main thing is that there aren’t many hotels where you can have a hot tub BBQ party on your hotel balcony.

  4. As I went to university in Norwich I have great memories of our occasional getaways from UEA’s concrete campus. Although I have been back to Norwich itself for reunions I’d forgotten about our trips to the beaches and the Norfolk Broads. It would be great to take the family there and these domes seem perfect for a comfortable break,

  5. Abbey farm glamping isn’t a bad idea! You can enjoy privacy and peace of mind while sipping on your morning coffee and playing with the chickens.

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