A jeep, a helicopter, a cliff – and a flying saucer! We round up some of the UK’s most eclectic glamping experiences for adventure-packed nights and carefree days by the sea

Words Jessica Johnson

1. For… An off-track retreat
Stonihoe, Dungeness, Kent
This converted train carriage, Stonihoe, sits within the vast, shingly landscape of Dungeness National Nature Reserve, and provides the perfect coastal hideout for those seeking a break from the grind. Consisting of two bedrooms and an open-plan living area, the light and airy space retains the curved beam ceilings of yesteryear complete with the original water pump – and there’s a log-burner for cosy nights. Ideal for walkers, artists and wildlife lovers, who can explore the 468-acre nature reserve under foot.
HOW TO BOOK: Sleeping four and one dog (£20), a seven-night stay starts from £221pp (01237 459888, holidaycottages.co.uk).

2. For… A high-octane camp
Cliff Camping, Gaia Adventures, Isle of Anglesey
Suspended on a Welsh cliff-top portaledge far above the waves, experience a once-in-a-lifetime camp-out with just the Irish Sea, the stars, and the odd leaping dolphin for company. You really don’t get much wilder than cliff camping, and the experienced team at Gaia Adventures – which provides technical kit, dinner, and breakfast, along with a good cuppa – ensure that safety is paramount. If you do manage to get 40 winks, let us know!
HOW TO BOOK: Prices start at £500 for two people and £600 for three people with camps running between May-September (07814 412439, gaiaadventures.co.uk).

3. For… A high on the ground
Galahad, Windmill Campersite, Isle of Wight
After serving as a ‘rescue’ helicopter in the Falklands, Galahad – a 1965 Westland Wessex XT469 – has a new lease of life at this family-run campsite where he joins ‘The Turdis’ (a loo in an old phone box), a silo-turned-cinema and a launderette forged from an old Robin Reliant – to name but a few bonkers stable-mates. Inside, original dials and wires sit alongside converted mod-cons including hob, oven and fridge. Head to the cockpit or the double bed (fitted inside an adjoining dome bedroom) and take in the starry nights.
HOW TO BOOK: Prices from £465 for a four-night stay, based on two adults and two children sharing (07957 572221, windmillcampersite.com).

4. FOR… Beach-chic glamping
Tolcarne Beach Cabins, North Cornwall
At the luxurious end of the glamping rainbow, yes, but what’s more romantic than your own wooden cabin (below) in the sands? Complete with double bed, turntables and a private patch of beach, these four beach cabins are part of Tolcarne Beach Village, which boasts apartments, a surf centre and an organic café sited in the heart of Newquay Bay.
HOW TO BOOK: Prices from £70 per night, based on two sharing (01637 872489, tolcarnebeach.co.uk).

5. FOR… A boaty sleepover
Boy John, West Wales
Sympathetically converted using recycled and sustainable materials, the Boy John glamping boat (below) is part of Smugglers Cove Campsite, set in an old slate works on the edge of the River Dyfi. Sleeping two, the interior is cosy and comfortable with stunning views across the Dyfi Estuary – and ideally located for watersports enthusiasts or anyone looking to hike part of the Wales Coast Path.
HOW TO BOOK: A seven-night stay costs £500 based on two sharing (01654 767037, campsites.co.uk).

6. For… A hut with a view
Copperas and Wild Pear, Blackdown Shepherd’s Huts, North Devon
Imagine being snuggled up in your own shepherd’s hut and waking up to sea views? Copperas and Wild Pear, hand-crafted by Blackdown Shepherd’s Huts, are based at Lydform Farm, perched high above
the sandy beaches and rocky coves of the North Devon coast. Cosy and impeccably furnished, each charming little hideaway includes a fire-pit BBQ, wifi, comfy sprung mattresses and a wood-burning stove to keep the chill at bay on cooler evenings.
HOW TO BOOK: Prices for a seven-night stay start from £392, based on two people sharing and a cot (01271 862222, blackdownshepherdhuts.co.uk/stay/).

7. FOR… A trip to outer space
UFO, Apple Camping, Pembrokeshire
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a flying saucer, just five miles from Tenby Harbour! Joining the ‘Jetstar’ plane, the ‘funky dome’ and a raft of cosy yurts, this spacious spacecraft features a double bed, two single sofa-beds and a games monitor (Space Invaders, anyone?) while a remote-controlled escape hatch allows you to get back to terra firma for access to the communal kitchen and piping hot showers.
HOW TO BOOK: Prices start from £411 for a four-night stay, based on four people sharing (07971 547776, applecamping.co.uk).

8. For… Military precision
Boris the Military Pod, Skye Jeep Tours, Isle of Skye
Boris (left) might look tough on the outside, but inside this converted military pod, sleeping two, it’s all home comforts including memory foam mattresses, Egyptian linen and soft, fluffy towels. Complete with shower room, oven, microwave and air con, Boris overlooks the beautiful Kylerhea Strait and can be booked alongside jeep tours with his owners Sam and Lynne, who were runners-up in 2018's Scottish Outdoor & Leisure Awards in the category for best glamping.
HOW TO BOOK: Prices cost £70 per night and £280 for a week’s stay, based on two sharing (01599 522270, skyejeeptours.com).