LAST week I did a bit of a round up of our weekend glamping in Wales, and I’ve since been asked for more details, so I thought I’d write a review of the yurts themselves and the facilities at Hidden Valley Yurts Wye Valley.
We decided to head to the glamping site near Chepstow after work on the Friday so we’d have the full day there on Saturday. You can’t check in until 4pm, so we thought it made more sense to pay for an extra night. There is a 4×4 truck that takes you from the car park to the accommodation if you arrive between 4pm and 7pm, or 8pm if you let them know in advance that you’ll be late. We just about got there on time, and were met by Mike who helped us quickly throw our things in the back so we could get going.
The 4×4 was such a good start to the weekend. It only took a few minutes to get down the hill to the glamping site, but it was quite bumpy and we drove through the river, so Santi thought it was great fun … you’ swear we were in Jurassic Park! We were in Yurt 5 so we passed the other four tents and the communal kitchen on the way up to our home for the weekend.
I loved the yurt as soon as I saw it – it was so spacious, had a log burner in the centre to make it nice and cosy, and woodwork painted with floral designs that made me think of Romany gypsy caravans. Outside was a decked area with a barbecue, chimenea, wood store and table and chairs. The attention to detail was amazing. There were little lanterns and tea lights dotted around inside (we didn’t use them for fear of grabby little hands getting them), a box for muddy wellies and shoes, a basket of fleece ponchos, fairy lights, fresh flowers, a torch, scissors … I could go on!
Sleeping-wise, you need to take your own bedding (you can hire duvets at an extra cost), but pillows are provided. Our yurt had a king size bed, a single day bed, two futons and we’d asked for a cot – I was expecting just a pop-up travel cot but it was a proper wooden one, which looked much more comfortable. Despite all the choice of where to sleep we still all ended up in the same bed on the first night! Ezra came in with us all three nights and I think it was because he was a bit cold. The log burner went out by the small hours and he has a tendency to kick blankets off so a sleeping bag would have been a good idea.
There were also two electric sockets in the yurt so charging phones (or sneakily straightening my fringe) wasn’t an issue.
Cooking and eating:
In the middle of the four yurts (Yurt 1 has it’s own kitchen) was a communal area with a kitchen, bathrooms and a huge decked area with plenty of tables and chairs for everyone to eat at the same time. I was seriously impressed with the cooking facilities – each yurt has its own fridge and cupboard for a start so you don’t need to worry about someone accidentally using your things, and you can arrange an online shop to be delivered on the day you arrive, which will all be unpacked and put away for you.
In the kitchen, which was undercover but open so you can chat with people sitting outside, there were two cookers, two kettles, a bread maker, dishwasher, and a proper coffee machine. I think I even saw a paella cooker! Sitting outside drinking a cappuccino while Santi played on the grass felt like such a luxury … I wasn’t expecting that at all! There were also fresh herbs that you could help yourself to.
The way they cater for families at Hidden Valley Yurts was so lovely – there were high chairs (good old Ikea ones), baby cutlery and beakers. I’d expected to just make do and muddle through without them for the weekend.
Down on the grass there’s a safari-style tent with a long table which is perfect for big groups to eat together, and a stone pizza oven. We cheated and took shop-bought pizzas, but you can use the bread machine to make our own dough if you’re feeling more creative! Lucky for us another family had warmed the pizza oven up so we could eat in hardly any time … it takes about two hours to heat up enough to cook a pizza if you’re the first to use it, so you have to get it going well in advance.
Bathrooms and toilets:
There were two toilets (proper ones, not horrible camping ones), a shower and … wait for it … a bath(!) in the communal area. I couldn’t quite believe we were able to bath our two grubby boys before bed. We borrowed a load of the rubber ducks from the toy corner and put them in to make it more fun too.
I didn’t think to take bubble bath, and was just going to wash them in shampoo, but there was a whole shelf of products that anyone could use. That would be so handy if you forgot something as the nearest shop is about half an hour away by car.
Fun and games:
We took quite a lot of outdoor toys and games with us, but we didn’t need to really as there were plenty there. There was a big wooden chest full of toys to borrow – frisbees, bats and balls, croquet etc – a boules area, football goals and badminton net. Tucked away in the trees were a couple of wood swings, and I think there was one over the river too, but we didn’t find that one.
We raced ducks down the river, threw stones in, walked through the fields above the site looking for badgers, foxes and bears (we didn’t see any, thankfully, but there were plenty of sheep), and played with Tilly, the resident dog.
One of the highlights for Santi was the hen coop where we could check for eggs in the morning. We were lucky enough to get there first one day and found a lovely fresh egg … so exciting! Unfortunately someone got a little bit too excited and dropped it on the floor so we didn’t actually get to try it…
If you have older children I imagine they’d love the evenings as you can light a camp fire in the middle of the field to keep warm. We avoided this as it would have ended in disaster with our busy two, but we did make good use of our barbecue. We set our table up with some lovely little bits from Tiger, cooked burgers and toasted marshmallows … which of course attracted the children from the next yurt!
I think there was only one downside for me, and that was how cold it got through the night. This mainly affected Ezra as he’s still so little, and as I said above we should have taken a sleeping bag for him. Apart from that, I couldn’t fault our weekend at Hidden Valley Yurts. Santi loved it so much that he cried when we left 🙁 which although wasn’t ideal as we tried to pack up the car, showed just how much he enjoyed.
*We paid for our stay, and staff at Hidden Valley Yurts didn’t know we would be reviewing the facilities.