As someone raised in a small village in the Lake District I’ve done my fair share of camping, but I’d never experienced ‘Glamping’. As a big fan of Ray Mears I always thought it was cheating nature and not getting the full experience. But as a bigger fan of home comforts and luxury I decided it was time for me to try it out. I was invited to Ribblesdale Park at Gisburne Park Estate for a couple of days of luxury glamping in Lancashire.
Gisburne Park is one of Lancashire’s finest historic estates and is set in the picturesque Ribble Valley (only an hour away from Manchester). The estate is home to a collection of luxury glamping bell tents, lodges with their own private hot tubs, cottages, and historical houses perfect for families and larger groups. It was during July’s heatwave that I had planned my stay at Ribblesdale Park, only for it to come to an abrupt end on the evening my sister and I arrived. The 35 degree heat had been replaced with clouds and drizzle and whilst more bearable and refreshing, it wasn’t the best weather for our planned BBQ. However, I am northern, so a little bit of rain won’t stop me.
Upon arrival we were guided up the narrow roads to the field which had a handy car park only 100 yards from the tents. The luxury glamping village, located in a magnificent six-acre field under the shadows of the estate’s historic mansion house, is an exciting site to behold. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a campsite in the Lake District but they tend to give more of a sinking feeling whereas this place made me want to run across the field barefoot and start exploring. With home comforts such as a double bed, king size duvet, bath towels and electric power (yes you can take a hair dryer, straighteners, phone charger, laptop and any other toys you might need…) the glamping pitches are complete with an outside decking area, firepit and tables and chairs – with luxury facilities nearby. A short walk over the field there are plenty of toilet shacks (not portaloos as I expected) and showers which are lovely and hot as well as powerful.
BBQ’s are free to rent with the glamping pods and they come with charcoal and firelighters so all you need is a lighter and a good pair of tongs, and a few burgers and sausages of course. We made a feast for two then sipped champagne under the stars. The site is surrounded by beautiful fairy lights at night so you can always see where you are going and it looks just lovely. Apart from a few trips to the loo in the night (too much wine!) I slept really well and was awoken by the sounds of peacocks outside of the tent calling to one another. In the night we saw rabbits and squirrels and there is even the possibility of seeing wild Sika deer outside your tent, as the grounds are home to 1000 acres of wildlife. Also amidst the sublime grounds of Ribblesdale Park are flowing rivers, a wildlife sanctuary, an outdoor swimming pool, ancient forests and Hindelinis Restaurant and Bar.
If you don’t fancy any of that and you’d rather relax then why not order a massage while in your tent? Or perhaps by the river? The onsite masseuse offers a range of treatments to suit you wherever you are most comfortable. The stunning Yorkshire Dales and surrounding Ribble Valley villages are located nearby so we took a trip to nearby Cliteroe to look around the markets and boutique shops. Okay that’s a lie we looked round all the charity shops (sustainable fashion is very important!). Upon our return we spent a couple of hours in the outdoor swimming pool. In the sun the green artificial grass and wooden sun loungers look so inviting next to the large, blue pool. In the rain it looked less enticing but that didn’t matter because the pool is heated to a lovely and warm 30 degrees so it was absolute bliss to have a nice swim in the rain!
After a nice hot shower we got ready for our evening meal at the onsite restaurant Hindelinis Restaurant and Bar. When we arrived we found it half full of customers from families to couples and friends (there was also a crowd building who’d come for the bingo at 8pm). From the menu I’d guessed it was simply pub grub and wasn’t really expecting a lot from the food but I could not have been more wrong…
The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday lunch and afternoon tea menus but its evening menu offers dishes such as Serrano Wrapped English Asparagus and Land and Sea sharing boards, all using fresh, seasonal ingredients many of which are sourced locally.
For starters we both chose the Crisp Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Beetroot Puree and Charred Spring Onion. The chunk of pork was huge and the toffee brown crackling on top had me salivating whilst cutting into it but the taste was truly sensational. Beautifully soft meat without any chewyness or dry parts, each and every mouthful was just sublime. The accompanying beetroot puree went so well with it and brought a gorgeous colour to the whole dish. I could have eaten this as a main course as I just loved it. For my main however I went for the classic Beer Battered Fresh Haddock Fillet with Mushy Peas, Tartare Sauce and Chunky Chips. Of course it was the largest portion I’ve ever seen and I will say that this can definitely be shared between two people. Saying that I ate well more than half because it was very good and fish and chips is just so moorish, especially when you haven’t had it for a while. What a treat! Finally for dessert (which I have no idea how I fit it in) I had a Toffee Ice Cream Sundae consisting of Chocolate Brownie and Toffee Sauce layered with Vanilla and Toffee Crunch Ice Cream topped with Whipped Cream and Toffee Popcorn. Do I even need to tell you how good it was after that description? Well it was exactly as delicious as it sounds and I didn’t eat it all but I gave it a very good go.
I was absolutely bowled over by the food at Hindelinis and the staff were so friendly to each and every customer. It’s the kind of place I’d visit even if I wasn’t camping because it was just a lovely experience from start to finish.
With full tummies we waddled off to bed in our little home away from home in a field. One thing I loved about spending the night here was the absolute silence, which is so rare these days that you almost forget what it feels like. It feels amazing. Try something new this year and spend the night under the stars… but make it luxury!
Glamping at Ribblesdale Park