Glamping in Winter?
I have to admit my first thought when Caalm Camp asked me if we would like to stay and review their Glamping site in Dorset was ‘Camping in Winter – you gotta be crazy!’.
I’ve been camping a lot of times before and memories of grim shower blocks and damp sleeping quarters sprang to mind.
Honestly, the idea of that plus sub-zero temperatures was not appealing.
And yet Caalm Camp is as far from my memories of camping as it is possible to get and promised a really luxurious glamping weekend.
I’m always up for an adventure and the opportunity to explore somewhere new with my little family and so put my reservations aside.
We soon found ourselves jumping on a train from Waterloo on a freezing cold morning in early January and heading to the rolling hills of Dorset.
From Gillingham, it’s a short taxi ride to the Caalm Campsite – making it convenient even if you don’t drive.
I’ve often found that camping and glamping sites in the UK are quite difficult to get to without a car which has always put me off booking them.
Caalm Camp Glamping Site
Despite being only ten minutes or so from the town the farm is in a lovely and serene rural setting.
Our host, Mark, met us from the taxi and gave us a tour of the site. He was really friendly and was available whenever we needed anything.
Caalm Camp is an ex-dairy farm which is now home to a beautifully converted Barn and six Mongolian yurts.
Each one is named after a wildflower, and ours was called Foxglove.
I hadn’t expected the yurts to be so beautiful and spacious – they were huge and could easily have slept six or more people.
Our yurt was lovely – I adored the traditional hand-painted Mongolian designs on the woodwork and loved that it was built using traditional methods such as horsehair ropes.
This was a far cry from the worries I’d had about damp sleeping quarters.
Here we had a beautiful wrought iron double bed with fluffy blankets and crisp bedding.
There was also two daybed style single beds, a mini kitchenette with an induction hob and kettle, some chairs and a fantastic wood burning stove in each yurt.
Not to mention electricity and plug sockets aplenty – this was definitely ‘glamping’.
Mark started up our woodburning stove for us, showing us how to add the wood correctly.
He also explained that we could buy coal for £3 a bucket that would last throughout the night, just popping money into the honesty box.
I had been a little bit nervous about glamping in the Winter – I really don’t like being cold!
Of course I had packed our thermals and plenty of layers – as it turned out we didn’t need them at all *phew*!
Within 20 minutes the yurt was blissfully hot – in fact a little too warm (!) and so we decided to pull on our welly boots and head outside for a walk.
Right outside the yurt, we had a fire pit and a BBQ with a lovely picnic area and a tap for drinking water.
Our walk took us in a big loop around the farm and was very squelchy but fun.
It was lovely to get out of London and enjoy the countryside – it’s so rare that we get the chance to do so.
And there’s nothing quite like sitting out under the stars, wrapped in blankets and toasting marshmallows on the open fire – bliss!
There is a plentiful (and free) supply of wood for the wood burning stove and the outside fire pit which was very much appreciated.
It was lovely coming back from our walks and going into a toasty warm yurt.
My favourite feature was the skylight – on clear nights you can lie in bed and see the stars, and it’s lovely being woken up by natural sunlight.
Plus there was none of that grim shower block thing to worry about.
Each yurt has a private and lockable shower room, which as a bonus is fully accessible for any disabled visitors.
The shower room is in the Old Haybarn, a very well converted barn – along with the fully equipped kitchen (with private fridge and storage space for each yurt), and the living and dining area.
We made a proper meal both of the nights we stayed. It was easy to do so as there was everything we needed was provided.
We’d simply grabbed a couple of bags of shopping in Gillingham before jumping in the taxi. And so we had plenty of food and snacks to keep us going.
I loved that we hadn’t needed to pack cooking pans and utensils. This makes it a million times easier when travelling by public transport!
There’s even a space out the back with a pool table and table tennis, oh and two cute goats!
Outside near the yurts, there is a communal fire pit which would be great for big groups, as well as a little play area for kids.
There are also no cars allowed on the site (there’s a designated carpark) so it was great for Lily to be able to run around freely.
The onsite facilities at Caalm Camp really make it stand out from other places we have stayed.
The Old Haybarn is just seconds walk away (and the pathway is lit at night *bonus*) from the yurts and comes equipped with everything you could need to feel at home.
There is free wifi in the barn too – I hate not being connected!
There is quite a lot to do nearby – there are plenty of leaflets and info provided on site.
We were somewhat limited by not being able to drive but took a taxi into the very pretty town of Shaftesbury to explore.
Shaftesbury is small but very hilly and full of quaint little cottages.
It’s also home to Gold Hill – also known as Hovis Hill off of the old adverts.
It’s super steep but makes for a nice walk.
This pregnant mama was exhausted and grateful for a coffee after that climb!
We would definitely recommend this place for families or groups.
The facilities are really convenient and the site is surrounded by stunning views.
We had a very special winter break at Caalm Camp but think it would be a perfect glamping experience whatever the season.
I wasn’t surprised that Caalm Camp stays open all year round – we had nighttime temperatures of -3 and still felt cozy!
However, I was surprised at how reasonable the rates are and we are now planning to go back with my mother in law.
I think she would love the pretty yurts and how relaxing it is.
Although that may have to wait until the baby arrives!
You can see our vlog below:
Have you ever been Glamping? Would you go in the Winter?
Disclosure: we were invited to stay at Caalm Camp in return for a review on the blog. All opinions are our own.