Camping with a young one isn’t always easy – but Linda Harrison discovers the joys of Lake District Long Valley Yurts Glamping. Set on the shore of Lake Windermere this is a luxurious camping experience to remember.
I miss camping. We used to take the tent on regular holidays before our son Harry came along. But the idea of pitching a tent in the rain with a three-year-old to entertain? No thanks.
To me, glamping seemed the perfect option for a first family camping experience. You still get back to nature but someone else has already put up the “tent” and provided a few luxuries.
We chose Long Valley Yurts at Low Way campsite because of its family friendly location and stunning views; you can glamp within a stone’s throw of beautiful Lake Windermere and it’s only a short drive to Ambleside and walking distance to loads of activities.
First impressions of Lake District Long Valley Yurts Glamping? Pretty amazing.
Morning started with birdsong and a cuppa in the sunshine as the resident ducks waddled over to enquire about breakfast
Our yurt, Sorrel, was situated in the lakeshore field looking out over Windermere, Ambleside and the mountains behind. Sleeping five, its double futon and two singles (there’s also a blow up mattress) were more than enough for us.
The futons doubled up as sofas and came with clean bedding and snuggly duvets. Decorated with Morrocan-style rugs and lanterns, it had a brilliant mini kitchen area.
There are six yurts at Lake District Long Valley Yurts Glamping at Low Way, including three larger 18ft yurts in the “meadow” at the other end of the site. They’re all extremely cosy with big central skylights and wood burners.
They also come with a games chest equipped with new and retro games in case the Lake District weather does what it’s best at.
Long Valley Yurts launched in 2008 with just two 18ft yurts at the beautiful National Trust campsite at Great Langdale in Cumbria. They’ve since expanded and now have five glorious sites in the Lakes and Peak District. The latest addition is the wilder, quieter Sykeside in Cumbria – set in the beautiful Dovedale Valley, it has its own cosy pub on site. And Moss Howe Farm Campsite near Windermere boasts a Scandinavian wood fired hot tub with its Pennycress Yurt.
Our first evening at Low Wray was spent sitting round the campfire watching the boats glide across the water.
We’d packed provisions for the bbq but you can just turn up – Low Wray is run by the National Trust and has fantastic facilities, including a brilliant shop covering just about any provisions you might need for a holiday under canvas.
With Harry asleep in the yurt, I chatted with my husband, Karl, over a glass of red as the sun went down.
Our field also had some pods and pitches for proper campers (the lakeside pitches are right by the water and completely stunning), mainly couples and families. But while it was pretty lively early on, once it got dark it was just the crackle of the fire, the boats and stars; there’s a strict no noise policy after 11pm.
Inside, the pretty solar fairy lights and woodburner made the yurt super cosy. The last thing I saw before dropping off, toasty under the heavy duvet, was the moonlight through the skylight.
We all had an amazing night’s sleep on the comfy futons – the wonders of fresh air.
The next morning started with birdsong and a cuppa in the sunshine at our picnic table outside, as the resident ducks waddled over to enquire about breakfast. We cheated and got some warm croissants from the site shop, which we shared with our new friends while planning the day’s adventures.
We decided to explore the gentle lakeshore walk; there are loads of walking and cycling paths from the campsite (you can hire bikes from the shop). Our route wound along the shoreline to the turrets and towers of Wray Castle – a mock Gothic National Trust property – and nearby beach.
Refreshed but famished, we drove off for lunch at a recommended local gastro pub, The Drunken Duck. What a find – friendly and cosy with fantastic food. We sat outside sipping glasses of cider and beer (they have their own on site brewery), looking out to the fells, feasting on honey roast ham, piccalilli and watercress sandwiches and chips. They were quite possibly the best sandwiches we’d ever had: if you’re ever in the area, please go there and savour every mouthful.
The next day the gods were smiling as we woke to more sunshine.
The next day the gods were smiling as we woke to more sunshine
People were out on the water early – Long Valley Yurts offers all kinds of outdoor activities, from stand up paddle boarding to gorge scrambling. The moonlit canoeing certainly sounded interesting.
We headed to Keswick – a 40 minute drive – as we’d promised Harry an ice cream and boat trip. Life jackets on, we took a motorboat out on Derwentwater. The three mile-long lake was busy but beautiful. We navigated our way round two of the islands, slowing down to drift along and wave at a group of wild swimmers making their way into the water (very Swallows and Amazons).
We hurried back to the campsite as pizza beckoned; if Low Wray wasn’t already perfect enough, it also offered on site wood fired pizzas.
They smelt amazing as Harry and I watched our pizzas being made and cooked. We ran back across the field to the yurt with the piping hot takeaway boxes. Fresh pizza on the lakeshore? Out of this world.
As we settled down in the yurt for our last night, woodburner blazing, I tried to stay awake long enough to do some stargazing. But the fresh air had worked its magic again… I was out like a light.
Far more luxurious than a tent, in a truly stunning setting, Long Valley Yurts is glamping in style and a brilliant introduction to family camping without the stress – we’ll definitely be back.
How to get to Lake District Long Valley Yurts Glamping without flying:
By car: From Ambleside, turn left off the A593 at Clappersgate and over the River Brathay. Continue down the B5286 for about five minutes and take the first left turn signposted Wray Castle then follow the signs to the campsite.
By bus: Catch bus service 505, the Coniston Rambler, from Ambleside or Windermere railway station towards Hawkshead. Get off at Low Wray/Wray Castle road end. It’s a 0.8 mile walk to the campsite along the shore – so pack light.
By boat: Arrive in style – you can catch a boat across Lake Windermere from Ambleside to Wray Castle and then walk along the lake shore path to the campsite.
Words: Linda Harrison for Feet on the Ground
Pictures: Linda Harrison / Long Valley Yurts