It’s camping, but not as you know it!
Glamorous camping, camping ‘lite’… Whatever you want to call it, we loved our first ‘glamping’ experience at Lantern & Larks.
Company: Lantern & Larks
Location: We stayed at the Sweffling Hall site
Address: Sweffling Hall, Saxmundham, Suffolk. IP17 2BT
Phone: 01638 778114
Nearest town: Saxmundham
Rates: A Lanterns & Larks three night weekend stay at Sweffling Hall Farm starts from just £335
Website: Lantern & Larks
Wi-Fi? No. Hurray!
Perfect for: Getting away from city life, and being so close to Latitude Festival
FashCatherine credentials: Lantern & Larks is a brilliant option for a UK break with family or a big group of friends, although we had lots of fun just as a pair. Sitting on the decking watching the sun set and having a BBQ, with the luxury of being able to retreat back into an actual lounge with log fire and functioning kitchen and bathroom (as well as cosy bedrooms), is the perfect way to ‘camp’. The honesty shop with it’s fantastic selection of fresh meat and eggs is a huge bonus.
Our home from home…
The view back to the car park from our ‘tent’
Both myself and Elizabeth love the idea of camping… in theory. We had planned to go to Latitude Festival in Henham, so would be camping ‘proper’ for two nights, which is why we decided to opt for a glamping experience for a couple of nights before.
Offering all the fun and excitement of the great outdoors and getting back to nature but without any of the hassle, it seemed like the perfect pairing. Further investigation led us to Lantern & Larks, which has four sites: Bleasdale, Lancashire, Kittisford Barton in Somerst, Exton Park, Rutland and Sweffling Hall Farm, Suffolk. Sweffling Hall is just over an hour’s drive from us in London and a 30-minute drive from Latitude Festival, which is worth bearing in mind if you’re planning to attend this summer. We loved the fact that the ‘tent’ we would be staying in at Lantern & Larks is described as a ‘canvas-wrapped wooden rural hideaway’, and would sleep up to six people very comfortably.
Inside our ‘tent’…
Having hit terrible traffic in the rush to escape London on our way to the site, we called the site manager, Laura, to let her know we would be late. Far from being a problem, Laura asked how far away we were and said she would get our in-tent wood-burning stove lit before we arrived. For a town-dwelling pair, the thought of cosy sofas, in the middle of peaceful countryside with a warm stove awaiting us, sounded like heaven.
Upon arrival, Laura helped us with our bags from the car with the aid of a wheelbarrow, and trundling across the field we left our troubles behind. We were really excited to simply pack away the iPads and other gizmos and gadgets – such a treat to actually have conversations and focus on playing games.
The warm welcome that greeted us in the tent also extended to our neighbouring campers. People were sat out on their decking around their individual fire pits, regaling us with tales of their trips to the pub, local nature walks, tiring their kids out with football and running round in the fields – all the finest things in life.
An honesty shop (pics above and below) is located on site, selling essentials, like toilet roll and firelighters, and breakfast, BBQ, campfire and lots of other food packs can be ordered, as well as cots and highchairs, which can be prearranged.
Lemonade making kits in the honesty shop
Climbing the decking into our own ‘tent’, we darted around the place, amazed at the spaciousness, with its one double bed room, one twin room and one bunk room. There’s a dining area with a pine table and six high-backed chairs, all cutlery and kitchen appliances, sofas and casual seating with loads of cushions, a butane hob and wood burning stove, plus WC and shower room. Glamping here means cosy accommodation in natural surroundings, with no mad dash to a toilet or shower block – what’s not to like?
There are only between three and six hideaways on each site, so there is never a feeling of being hemmed in. After treating ourselves to a BBQ dinner and chilling out on the sofas, we caught an early night on the dreamily soft beds.
The site is also a working egg farm, which supplies eggs to the Happy Egg company. It is wonderful to go to the honesty shop in the morning to select your fresh eggs to cook for breakfast – and meet some feathered friends on the way…
All four Lantern & Larks sites are located in a peaceful corner of private land or farmland, with fun activities close by. In Sweffling, there is a lovely pub, The White Horse, within walking distance and where the local cheese ploughman’s and cheese toasties are second to none. Easton Farm Park (around a 20 minute drive away) is home to the most handsome Suffolk Punch horses and where kids of all ages can ride ponies, hug bunnies, play on the log see saw in the play ground and dash about like mad things in the soft play barn.
There are also plenty of historical places of note in the area, including 12th Century Orford Castle, and St Andrew’s Church in Covehithe, (above), which is now a ruin surrounding a smaller working church. The Suffolk coastline offers plenty of fun, too, with Aldeburgh’s big pebbly beach perfect for blowing away cobwebs and running off excess energy.
We loved Southwold, a quaint, pretty coastal town with a brilliant pier filled with fun traditional and quirky seaside games and delicious fish and chips and ice creams. Pictures below…
Onto Latitude Festival, and fields filled with pink sheep! You can see more pictures from our time at Latitude 2015, here.
The stay reviewed in this article, in June 2015, was supported by Lantern & Larks.
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