What to Pack When You're Going Glamping
With no two glamping sites exactly the same if you’re off on a glamping holiday you definitely need to have a look at your host’s packing list or check their website for what’s included and what you need to bring with you. Most glamping sites will have a list of what to bring on their website. A luxury glamping site will probably provide most things you need for your holiday so all you need to pack are your clothes!
Here at Middle Stone Farm we provide all the bedlinen and towels and if you’re staying outside the height of summer we’ll provide hot water bottles and blankets too. Not all glamping places do though, so that’s something to check. We also make the beds up for you so they’re ready to hop in, you don’t have to make your beds when you arrive. There are some glamping sites where linen is provided but the beds are not made up – so it’s worth checking to see what your glamping site provides.
Some sites have shared facilities with bathroom blocks and communal kitchens, I’ve seen some lovely quirky glamping places with handmade outside kitchens too. If you’re glamping with us at Middle Stone we don’t have any shared facilities, both the bathrooms and kitchens are private and they’re inside your lodge. You don’t have to go outside to cook or use the loo! Our only shared area is the children’s outdoor playground, our badminton area and table tennis.
We provide all the crockery, cutlery, glasses and pans, we have extra things you might not expect like cafetieres, salad spinners, rolling pins (in case you want to make pizza) and things like egg cups, toasters and tea pots too. You won’t need to pack a barbecue if you’re staying here, all of our accommodation has their barbecue and we have charcoal available for £5 a sack in our shop.
It’s also worth checking if firewood, kindling and firelighters are provided, especially if you’re glamping at the start or end of the season where nights and early mornings could well be chilly. Definitely pack sleeping socks – we recommend them all year round! Woolly hats are a good idea too when you’re sitting around your camp fire in the evening, or in your hot tub at night!
Glamping is all about the great outdoors so maybe pack some binoculars and if you want to be outside after sundown pack a couple of torches too. If you’re having a celebration some battery operated fairy lights won’t take space in your baggage either.
Some family friendly glamping sites may provide toys and boardgames, it’s worth checking if your site provides them as during Covid some sites have taken these items away as they are hard to clean. We took our children’s toys out for 2020, but as lots of guests have asked for them, the trugs are back in our lodges although we can easily take them out if parents ask us to.
If you’re glamping on a farm you may find the site has a farm shop, - really handy for picking up eggs and bacon in the morning! We also offer freshly baked croissants, pain au chocolates, farm house bread and veggie options too. Our shop always has marshmallows, we have some giant toasting forks in the shop this year too! Happy Glamping!
Glamping and Holiday Cottages near the Coast
We’re well placed at Middle Stone Farm if you want to visit the coast. Check us out on a map and you’ll see there’s lots of choice of beaches if you want to spend a day by the water, the South West Coast Path is nearby if you’re a keen walker, or we have lakes and rivers near us too if fresh water swimming is more your thing.
Blue Anchor Bay
Our nearest beach is Blue Anchor Bay, a sand and shingle beach about 25 minutes drive from the farm. A great place for a dog walk or Sunday stroll, the beach stretches for miles with views across to Wales and North Hill at Minehead. The shallow gradient allows for a large width of sand, particularly at low tide. Blue Anchor is approximately 3 miles east of Dunster and Minehead. There's plenty of free parking along the beach front, it's not a particularly popular beach so spaces are never an issue, this is a dog friendly beach too. The unpretentious Driftwood Cafe is a good for all day, fish and chips or a cream tea. You don’t need to pre book, you’ll find their page on Facebook.
We love Bossington Beach, the other side of Minehead. A huge expanse of pebble beach backed by farmland and the Exmoor hills. Parking is in a National Trust car park in the village, and it’s an easy half mile walk to the beach either through the village, or up through the woods along a river. Bossington itself is an archetypal English village with thatched cottages, a traditional forge, couple of tea rooms and pretty thatched cottages. This beach isn’t suitable for swimming, the currents are strong, but there’s a lagoon of water behind the beach perfect for paddling, cooling down or for dogs to frolic in! The beach itself is an array of different sized smooth stones, behind the beach is a unique marshland ecosystem which attracts numerous rare species of birds and insects. There are also plenty of traces of human history ranging from World War II pillboxes on the beach to lime kilns used in agriculture.
Porlock Weir is the next bay along – a really great place to visit on a fine day. We love this harbour with its amazing views, good walks and lovely places to eat from gallery tea rooms, to the Porlock Oyster shed, Ziangs Asian noodle takeaway on the harbour wall, a traditional pub and the two hotels also serve good quality food and wood fired pizzas. There’s a footpath behind the oyster stall to Culborne Church, the smallest parish church in England.
Wimbleball Lake and Clatworthy Reservoir are both very near us, fresh water lakes with water sports and lovely walks. Clatworthy is a quiet place, good for walking or fishing, but not dog friendly. There’s lots more going on at Wimbleball Lake’s activity centre, there’s a café and little play area there too. You're not supposed to swim in the Lake, but people do....
If you’re after surf, famous Woolacombe, Saunton Sands, Putsborough and Croyde Beach are the ones to head to. It is a bit of a journey over there, but we recommend driving over Exmoor, it takes the same time as the main road, and it’s such an incredibly beautiful journey through the heart of Exmoor National Park. These beaches are popular, much busier than our local beaches, however the surf is great and safe for children to boogie board, and the sand is fine, so we think it's worth the journey, just head off early in the morning to ensure a place in the car park! Ask us when you're here if you need help choosing which one of these beaches is the right one for you, as they are quite different in character.
We’re an hour's drive from the famous South Devon beaches, Exmouth, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Branscombe and Beer. They are lovely beaches, but again tend to be busier than ours as they are more well known. Popular Lyme Regis is also just over an hour away, it’s really lovely with lots of pretty shops and sheltered coast, however we recommend visiting in low season, as in the height of summer it’s pretty busy over there. If you're heading to the South Coast - do stop at The Donkey Sanctuary on your way, it's really lovely for families, there's also a huge farm shop called Dart's Farm nearby which is worth a visit if you're in the area. Otter Valley Ice Cream near Honiton is also great - too much choice of amazing ice cream though so you need to be more decisive than our family are!
A Camping or Glamping Holiday?!
If the idea of sleeping outdoors appeals, but traditional camping doesn’t then glamping is definitely your answer! You’ll still have the wonderful experience of sleeping under canvas, spending time outside in the fresh air around a fire and surrounded by nature – but with proper beds and thick duvets, ensuite bathrooms all to yourselves and large wood burning fires and if you’re lucky you’ll come to a site with a hot tub too for the ultimate glamping experience!
We’ve been careful at Middle Stone Farm to make sure our glamping is not overcrowded and each safari tent is slightly different and quirky. You’ll be warm, dry and cosy whatever the weather and you definitely won’t be roughing it!
Part of the appeal of traditional camping is the feeling of living outdoors, you’ll still have that experience in our safari tents, opening the doors and letting the breeze and sunshine (hopefully) in, spending the evenings around the firepit or on your raised terrace deck with a glass of wine, or an interesting beer from our shop. Views are obviously important too! Our lodges look onto the Exmoor and Quantock hills, we have new trees growing and hedgerows planted, and you’ll see farm animals from most of our accommodation too.
Although we have plenty of lovely places to explore nearby, you probably won’t want to get into your car every time you want some milk – there’s no worry there as we have a well stocked farm shop in the glamping field with all kinds of treats and essentials for your stay. You can buy things to cook yourselves, or ask us to cook for you and collect cakes, curries and lasagnes etc when you're ready to put them in your oven to warm up. If you’re staying with children, we provide highchairs, travel cots and baby baths too, and for older children there is table tennis, badminton, climbing frames and swings. We try to provide for a variety of guest and age group!
If you’re looking to cut down your carbon footprint, camping and glamping are one of the lowest impact forms of holiday out there, particularly if you already live in the UK. We take recycling very seriously, all our wood comes from sustainable forestry on Exmoor, they plant more trees as they cut them down. We have lots of solar panels on the barn roofs creating power for our guests and our water comes from our own spring. We grow our own veg in the summer, sell eggs from our hens, pork and lamb from our animals and in autumn we have a small apple harvest.
Unlike a camping holiday where your car boot is probably packed to the gunnels, you shouldn't need to bring much with you if you're glamping here, as we provide most of your kit. The beds will be made up for you with warm duvets, blankets and hot water bottles, the bathrooms are also well equipped with towels, loo paper and hand soaps. And in the kitchen you'll find everything you need to prepare meals, all the glasses, crockery, cutlery and pans and if you don't feel like cooking, you can collect a lasagne or curry from our shop, ready to warm up when you're back from a day out exploring the local area.
You do need a car to make the most of your visit, we don't have any public transport to our farm as it's very rural here! Exmoor is on our doorstep, here's a photo of our son looking down onto Bossington Beach, one of our favourites. This is a small part of the South West Coast path, Raynor Winn talks about this stretch of path in her brilliant book The Salt Path. The bit we walk is fairy easy, even in flip flops, but if you're keen there are some challenging hikes with rewarding views around Minehead, Porlock and Lynton & Lynmouth.
Working Farm Holidays in Rural West Somerset
One of the best things about a working farm holiday is that they offer a wonderful opportunity for families and children to reconnect with nature and disconnect from their screens. After several months of home school we’re sure lots of children will be happy to leave their iPads at home during their holidays this year!
Obviously we are biased, but we think there is nothing quite like waking up to the sounds of the countryside and the fresh West Somerset air. We are miles away from main roads and towns and the air here is remarkably fresh and clean. Nearby Exmoor has one of the darkest skies in the UK so it’s an amazing place for stargazing too. It was designated an International Dark Sky Reserve back in 2011 so the perfect place for spotting shooting stars. Whether it’s the sound of our sheep and goats bleating in the fields, birdsong and chicken-song, or a tractor ploughing in nearby fields there is something wonderful about a farm holiday!
Experiencing life on a working farm is truly unique. Pick up some delicious farm produce from our shop to make a rustic breakfast before setting off for countryside adventures. West Somerset is an unspoilt and relatively unknown area of the West Country. With an abundance of gorgeous walks, stunning coastline and beautiful hills, it's a lovely area to explore, In the evening back on the farm, fall asleep to the distant sounds of farm animals, the rustling of trees and if you're lucky you'll hear the call of barn owls too.
We have farm activities too. Children can experience country life at first hand when they stay with us, watching the animals being fed and watered in the morning, joining us for a farm tour and tractor ride and taking in nature all around them. Our two play areas have swings and a climbing frame and mini tractors and plenty of wheelbarrows for keen budding farmers too.
This year we have a herd of around 50 sheep (and lambs in the spring), 40 chickens, 12 geese, 5 goats, a few pigs, 3 friendly farm dogs as well as all the wild foxes, hedgehogs, badgers and birdlife. We'll be hatching chicks from May Half Term onwards and will probably have some turkeys on the farm in the summer too.
With the beautiful Exmoor coast, woodlands and moorland to explore it’s worth putting on your wellies and setting off on an adventure before heading back to the comforts of our farm.
Visit Exmoor and West Somerset
Exmoor is the least visited National Park in the country so we think it's the perfect location if you're wanting to avoid the busier places in the South West this summer as it's never crowded over here. We're just 3 miles from Exmoor so our farm is a good base for exploring this beautiful landscape.
If you like walking you've come to the right place, there is a huge choice from easy circular walks for the family, to more challenging stretches of the beautiful South West coast path. Tarr Steps is great for all ages, it's an easy foot path along the river which is safe and shallow for paddling and there's a traditional pub by the riverside too. There's a good Tourist Information Office in nearby Dulverton for more local information if you're driving through. Simonsbath is spectacular with the footpath following the river, see our photograph below, so is the Lorna Doone Valley. There are beautiful woodlands with ancient oaks at Horner and Selworthy and open areas with wild Exmoor ponies too.
Exmoor Walks and Dunster Castle
Dunster Castle is 25 minutes from us - an ancient castle on a hill with dramatic views and subtropical gardens, make sure leave enough time to visit the gorgeous village surrounding it with lots of good places to eat and independent shops. The National Trust castle is open all year round and brilliant for families but you might need to book ahead depending on how they are running things during Covid. There's a woodland play area in the gardens and a working watermill, you could easily spend a day in Dunster exploring.
Dunkery Beacon is the highest point in Somerset, it's really stunning up there with far reaching views over the Bristol Channel to Wales and miles of unspoilt moorland. A wonderful moorland site managed and owned by the National Trust. It has a chain of summits capped with Bronze Age barrows and is Exmoor's highest point at 1,705ft (519m). You can park at the bottom for a long walk, or further up the road for a easy climb to the summit. Don't forget to take your camera, and wrap up warm if you're walking in the winter, it's quite raw on a cold day!
Somerset & Exmoor Coast, Our Favourite Beaches
For beaches we love Porlock Weir and neighbouring Bossington. These are stone beaches and not suitable for swimming but great for walks and picnics, they're dog friendly too. Both these beaches have incredible views and are rarely busy. If you prefer a sandy beach there's Minehead or Dunster both perfect for younger children and sand castle making. Blue Anchor Bay is our nearest beach, 25 minutes from the farm and there's a friendly cafe there called The Driftwood who serve good, well priced fish and chips.
For a more active day Exmoor Adventures at Porlock offers kayaking, paddleboarding, coasteering, e-bikes and lots more - their Trip Advisor reviews are amazing, so you won't be disappointed. There are plenty of places offering horse riding on Exmoor too.
The photograph above is the harbour at Porlock Weir at low tide. The shop here sells crab lines and buckets (good ice cream too), low tide is a good time for children's crabbing. Porlock is also the base if you want to visit Culbone Church, the smallest parish church in the UK, it's really pretty but without road access, you need to walk through the woods to reach it. It's a really good walk through beautiful ancient woodlands. Kate Humble walked there on the recent Channel 5 Coastal Britain series, well worth watching if you want to see more of Exmoor.
Porlock has good independent food places. We love Ziangs on the Weir who serve good Thai and Malaysian takeaway which you can eat on the harbour walls or take to the beach. The hotel serves good wood fired pizzas and there's an oyster place and good cafe with artworks too.
Family Friendly Glamping Lodges
We've clad the inside of three of our safaris tents this month so they're now a lot more protected from the Exmoor winds and will be warm and cosy whatever the weather.
This photo is Bossington Lodge (formally known as Stag, we've renamed them for 2021), it's our largest lodge and a good choice for families wanting lots of space whilst they're glamping. It has two sofas and an arm chair, a large private bathroom and second loo, good sized bedrooms and a large open plan sitting room and kitchen. All our safari tents have cupboard beds, similar to the ones you see at Feather Down Farms, they are very popular with children!
Cupboard Beds and Private Bathrooms
The cupboard beds in Bossington, Kilve and Porlock Lodges are all king size with wooden doors and LED reading lights. They have cosy thick duvets, all non feather so suitable for anyone with allergies. There is a large space underneath the bed with a trug of toys. This space is useful for storing bags and some children use them as mini playrooms too.
We provide all the bedlinen and towels and the beds will be made up ready for your arrival. If you're glamping in the Spring or Autumn we'll also provide hot water bottles and extra blankets making sure you are warm and cosy whatever the weather.
Play Areas in the Glamping Fields
We have two play areas on the farm and lots of meadow space for children to run free. Our glamping shop opens twice a day where you can pick up fresh bread, the morning papers, meat and veg kebabs for the barbecue, treats for the children, local Somerset ciders and lots more. There are goats in the glamping paddock this year and our curious alpacas (not llamas!) live in the neighbouring glamping field.
Three of our safari tents are dog friendly, they are Buzzard, Hawk and Kestrel Lodges. They are also a good choice for guests with young children as the front decks are fenced and gated, a good choice for anyone with adventurous toddlers, keen to escape! Exmoor has brilliant dog walks, most of the Somerset and Exmoor beaches are dog friendly and so are the majority of our pubs. For any guests who have allergies we have dog free lodges too!
Couple's Glamping Discount Offer
We're running a couple's discount at the moment for two adults (including a baby under a year) in our safari tents. We've taken £60 off the price (the equivalent of a free hot tub) for stays between 19-29th April, 3rd-28th May and from 3rd September onwards.
Our cabin The Deckhouse is also a good option for couples, it's in a different location to our safari tents and also has its own private hot tub. The cabin is open all year round, it's well insulated so warm and cosy with the fire lit, whatever the weather. It sleeps a couple and two children under the age of 13. It's just a minute or two's walk from our shop and play areas if you're staying with children and there are usually animals in the paddocks close to the cabin.
Dog Friendly Glamping with Hot Tubs, Somerset
Kestrel, Hawk and Buzzard safari tents are our three dog friendly glamping options, they have sturdy fences and gates on the front of each deck so you can keep your dog close by when you're in your lodge. We also have lead links on the fences so you can relax in your hot tub with your dog watching on happily alongside you!
Middle Stone Farm is in the foothills of Exmoor and there are loads of gorgeous dog walks on our doorstep, all our local pubs are dog friendly, and the nearby beaches are dog friendly throughout the year. West Somerset is very unspoilt and beautiful, there are plenty of footpaths around you'll have entirely to yourselves. Our nearest beach is Blue Anchor Bay, a few miles before Dunster and Minehead. It's a huge stretch of beach with sand and stones and there's a dog friendly cafe called The Driftwood for an all day breakfast, or good fish and chips after your walk.
Exmoor Coast Dog Walks at Porlock
Exmoor National Park and The Quantock Hills are a short drive from our farm and dogs love exploring these beautiful places with ancient woodland and fresh running rivers to dip in! This photo above is at Porlock Marshes, there's a boardwalk through the wetlands and a huge stretch of stone beach beyond. Our dogs love it here!
We have three friendly dogs of our own on the farm, two Giant Schnauzers - huge but very friendly, and an elderly Lakeland Terrier. We do ask for guest dogs to be on the lead whilst you're staying here as we are a working farm with lots of animals around including free ranging chickens. Our dogs run free but they know the rules and won't bother you unless someone has left the glamping gates open in which case they might wander in and see what your cooking on your BBQ!
We're a mile from the local village Brompton Ralph, it's a quiet narrow lane and lovely for dog walks. There is a disused quarry in our village with miles of woodland surrounding it and there are good footpaths here where you can let your dog off the lead. We are a farming community though with lots of animals grazing in the fields so do please make sure your dog is in control at all times.
If you're bringing your dog to stay with us please make sure it is included on your booking form so we know your dog is coming to stay. We'll provide a couple of dog bowls and a dog friendly fleece but do remember to pack your lead and your dog's favourite bed. This year we'll also have dog food in the shop, we have poo bags in the shop too if you forget to pack them.
We are an organic working farm with lots of animals grazing in your fields as well as children running around the farm so we do please ask you to keep your dog on a lead whilst you're staying here and pick up anything your dog does, there are some woods at the top of our drive where you can let your dog off the lead if need be.
All our dog rules are on our T&C and please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
If you're thinking about a UK glamping holiday this summer, we still have a few available dates. We're confident Middle Stone Farm is the perfect destination for a safe holiday this year due to our location, well off the tourist track and deep in the Somerset hills.
It's not touristy here, although there are still plenty of things to do nearby in Devon and Exmoor, we're only 3 miles from Exmoor National Park and our nearest beach is 25 minutes away. The local roads are never busy and we can recommend quiet beaches you'll have to yourself. Exmoor is a bit of a secret although we love to share it with our guests! For a diary of events, check out Visit Exmoor and the Exmoor National Park Website.
For lazy days on our farm, we have two play areas in the glamping fields, farm animals to see, hot tubs, hammocks, firepits, badminton, table tennis and our own little farm shop too. If you don't feel like cooking, you've come to the right place as we can provide meals for you and lots of options to fling on the BBQ.
Check out our farm map to see the layout of our glamping over the farm. It's not overcrowded here, we have three safari tents per field with plenty of space for children to run free. The cabin and cottage are in different locations to the tents, so a good option for young families or couples looking for a bit more privacy.
For the environmentally conscious and those looking for an eco holiday our accommodation is also very green. All the firewood (we get through a lot!) comes from sustainable woodland on Exmoor, we have solar panels on the barn providing electricity, a bio mass boiler for the cottage heating and hot water and all the water for the farm comes from a bore hole well in our field. Our shop offers lots of options with very low food miles - the eggs are from our hens, and Organic meat is from our farm. In the summer we'll have veg in the shop we've grown ourselves too. We stock several Somerset ciders and Exmoor gins and you can expect locally produced coffee, tea, chocolate and other West Country treats too.
We're receiving lots of enquiries about May Half Term at the moment so I think people are booking their glamping holidays well in advance this year. We have a few lodges still available over half term for either a weekend stay or a full week including a few of our dog friendly safari tents.
We're expecting about 50 lambs in the spring and will also have pigs, goats, chickens (and chicks) and lots going on around the farm. We very much hope we can restart our farm tours and pizza evenings again this year, we've been missing our guests during the lockdown.
May and early June is a lovely time on the farm, the lambs will be getting fatter but there will still be lots of opportunities to help with orphan bottle feeding for any keen visitors. The fields are bright green in the early summer and we think the farm is at its most beautiful in May. The field with Porlock, Kilve and Bossington lodges is covered in buttercups and clover, the sheep only graze in this field in the winter so there are lots more wildflowers in the glamping fields as they've not been eaten!
For days out we highly recommend heading to the coast, or up onto Exmoor our local National Park. Devon is also within easy reach, we're only a few miles from the border and there are lots of family days out south of us too.
If you're coming to stay with your dog we have lots of brilliant dog walk recommendations. Our dogs love Blue Anchor Bay, it's a very dog friendly beach and never very busy, so perfect to let your dog run off-the-lead. There's a nice simple cafe at Blue Anchor called The Driftwood, also dog friendly and it's free to park close to the beach. Tarr Steps is also lovely for both humans and dogs, it's an easy circular walk and dogs can swim in the shallow river - for lunch book a table at The Tarr Farm Inn, we've not eaten there yet, but we hear good feedback from lots of guests who've eaten there. There are tables outside and it's a really pretty location.
There's usually lots going on around the farm during the Easter holidays and we're a very family friendly place to stay if you're thinking about a glamping holiday with children. The woods along the top of our drive are perfect for Easter egg hunts and we have lots of real eggs in our shop too, including blue ones this year as we have a couple of hens who are laying beautiful green-blue eggs! We start hatching chicks in the early summer when it gets warmer and have lots of opportunities for children to meet the chicks on our complimentary farm tours.
We're expecting around 50 lambs this March. We have a variety of sheep in our flock, they're Norfolk Horn, Jacobs and the local Exmoor breed too, the Exmoor rams are really spectacular with their huge curly horns! For guests who have stayed with us before, Harold was our prize Exmoor Ram and enjoyed lots of guest cuddles! He sadly passed away last year, but we have bought a couple of his handsome cousins who we hope to introduce our guests to when we can start the farm tours again.
The National Trusts near us often have Easter activities for children with egg hunts and craft events. Dunster Castle is half an hour's drive from our farm and brilliant for all the family. It's open all year round and there's lots to do and see with the castle to explore, beautiful tropical gardens, a working watermill and good shop.
We have two play areas on our farm, football nets, table tennis and a badminton area too, so there's lots to keep children occupied at the end of the day. We have Easter treats and cuddly bunnies in our shop and will have hot cross buns in the mornings too.
Our farm tours are busy in the Spring and there are usually a few orphan lambs for bottle feeding as well as pigs and goats to admire in the paddocks. With a choice of holiday cottages or glamping, Middle Stone Farm is a lovely place for a family holiday over Easter.