WITH the summer holidays well and truly underway and so much to see and do in the North of Ireland, there has never been a better time to discover the luxurious side of camping with a trip to one of the ‘glamping’ sites across the region.
Forget cramped tents and damp sleeping bags, ‘glamping’ offers a glamorous way to camp and there are some truly unique ways to combine the great outdoors with the comforts of home, with everything from tepees to yurts and camping pods to a fully furnished gypsy caravan on offer.
Tourism NI Communications and PR Officer (NI) Rachel Quigg said: “Glamping in Northern Ireland is becoming increasingly popular with a number of sites offering visitors the chance to enjoy an al fresco holiday in the countryside without forgoing luxuries such as the comfort of a bed and electricity.
“Many of the sites are located in stunning areas including in the grounds of the National Trust conservation site Crom Estate, Tepee Valley in the Armagh countryside and in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains in Co Down.
“It is a great time to enjoy a ‘glamping’ trip in the great outdoors,” she added.
If you want to glam up your camping experience this summer, Tourism NI has highlighted a number of sites to visit;
(1) Mountain Sky Luxury Glamping, Dungiven, Co Derry is located on Ash Park farm in the glorious Sperrin Mountains (designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) in the North West of Ireland where the views, not to mention the walks are simply breathtaking.
A stay in one of our fabulous tents offers all the charms of camping but with cosy treats that make it a luxury experience.
With a wooden floor, wood burning stove, comfy sofa and beds, oil lamps and an inside ‘flushing loo’ you will feel very much at home.
Campfires outside your tent allow you to share the evening with the stars, toasting marshmallows over the open fire and inhaling the country air.
(2) If you’ve ever fancied staying in a jungle, then head to Jungle NI in Magherafelt and stay in a jungle hut without having to worry about poisonous beasties or deadly spiders.
Set in the heart of tranquil Co Derry forest these purpose built huts sleep up to eight people and are double-glazed, secure and lockable, so you are guaranteed to be cosy and warm.
If you really want to ‘glamp’ it up then you can also relax and unwind in the outdoor hot tubs.
(3) With exceptional views over the farming countryside down to the Cusher River and across to Slieve Gullion, the Tepee Valley Campsite located outside the small town of Markethill in Co Armagh is the perfect place for an alternative family holiday. Here you will experience peace and quiet with the luxuries of home.
There is a choice of accommodation available which includes a traditional Native American Tepee, a choice of two yurts, a log cabin, a geodesic dome and a fully furnished gypsy caravan – The Rosie Lee.
(4) With historic buildings to discover, a children’s play area and woodland walks to explore, Crom Estate, Co. Fermanagh, is a perfect place for a family short break. Situated by the visitors’ centre and close to the main campsite, two glamping pods have recently been opened by the National Trust. Equipped with lighting, heat, kettle, microwave electric points and table and chairs to give your family the ultimate break away with all the comforts of home. One of the pods is dog friendly so you can also bring the family pet to join in the fun.
(5) Enjoy an action-packed ‘glamping’ break at Todds Leap in Ballygawley, Co Tyrone which boasts a purpose-built road course and an electrifying mix of fun-filled, unique adventure activities including JCB Driving, Rodeo Bull, Paintball and Blindfold driving. #
There is a selection of cosy log cabins offering an authentic countryside sleepover, each with their own unique identities including The Treehouse and The Bunkhouse. Visitors can avail of a communal BBQ area, clubhouse and licensed restaurant.
(6) Trannish Island Bothy in Co Fermanagh is a large island on Upper Lough Erne and the old stone cottage located here has been revamped with a cosy wood burning stove, toilets, showers and camping platforms to sleep on, offering a bit more luxury than your average camp site. Situated just a paddle away is Ireland’s largest multi-activity centre, Share Discovery Village, where you can hire a range of canoes or kayaks to access the island.
(7) East Coast Adventure Glamping is located in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains, within six miles of the picturesque village of Rostrevor and close the spectacularly beautiful Carlingford Lough. East Coast Adventure also specialise in outdoor activities such as mountain biking, water sports and archery so whether you are looking for a quiet, peaceful retreat or something more adventurous the beautiful setting of the camping pods makes for an ideal break.
(8) Enjoy a night under the stars in Co Fermanagh at Finn Lough Resort’s luxurious new Forest Domes, the only structures of their kind in the UK and Ireland. The domes feature 180° transparent walls allowing you to truly immerse yourself within the beauty and tranquillity of nature whilst stargazing in comfort for the perfect romantic break in Northern Ireland.
Each dome features a bespoke four-poster bed, ensuite bathroom, Nespresso coffee machine, fluffy robe, slippers and daily breakfast.
(9) If you can’t decide where to go camping then why not hire a campervan from Bunk Campers in Belfast and create your own adventure. Bunk campers provide campervan rental for families, couples and groups of friends looking for an action packed, enjoyable short break experience.
There are a range of campervans available which come with fully functional heating, cooking facilities, iPod connectivity, converted bed space and in some cases even shower and toilet facilities.
For more information on ‘glamping’, rental hire and unique accommodation in Northern Ireland visitwww.discovernorthernireland.