Travel: The Norfolk 'campsite' for people who hate camping

A kingsize bed inside one of the yurts at Wild Meadows

A kingsize bed inside one of the yurts at Wild Meadows - Credit: Raynham Estate

There are some people who love camping. They thrive in living closer to the great outdoors, sleeping under canvas, taking in the stars by a campfire, and savouring a first cup of tea in the morning air. However, there some people who’d run a mile at the thought of being away from their power shower, their coffee machine, proper mattress and the best possible chance of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.   

Glamping is perfectly placed in a middle ground between the two, as it gives you the joys of a night outdoors, just with fewer of the rougher edges. Wild Meadow perched at the top of the gently sweeping fields of the Raynham Estate near Fakenham has fully embraced this mentality, and then added an ensuite option for good measure. 

As you arrive in the grounds of the 17th century Raynham Hall you’re greeted by the sight of a cluster of yurts emerging from the trees. We are met by the host and taken across to ‘Clover’  -  our home for the next two nights. This is one of the two new additions for 2022 that has added ensuite facilities, which is in effect a smaller yurt connected to your main bedroom by a rustic wooden cabin.   

One of the yurts at Wild Meadows in Norfolk

One of the yurts at Wild Meadows - Credit: Raynham Estate

The inside of the yurt is stunning - the wooden arms reaching above you to form the crown where a window gives a view to the North Norfolk sky. There is a super king bed worthy of the plushest of hotel rooms, and two smaller wooden beds for our nine and 10-year-olds that are available on request. All told, the impression is that if you took the best bits of a hotel room and combined them with the best bits of camping you would not be too far wrong. There are also power points inside the minimalist interior, and the centrepiece of a wood burner to take off the chill. More on that later.   

Our children were delighted to explore, and then attempted to claim the super king bed as their own. An attempt that was inevitably unsuccessful. Whilst we unpacked and settled in, they happily vanished into the woods, and also tried to push each other around in the giant wheelbarrows that are on hand to help you move luggage from your car to the yurt.   

The Perry children enjoying 'larking about' at Wild Meadows

The Perry children enjoying 'larking about' at Wild Meadows - Credit: Neil Perry

Across the site sits the ‘Turnip Tent’, the outdoor communal kitchen and dining area, which is all chunky wood and Insta-friendly lighting. Every yurt has its own allocated fridge, storage cupboard, and a good selection of kitchen equipment that reduces the amount you need to bring. You do really feel more like you are packing for a couple of nights in a hotel, rather than a mammoth camping session, although a few extra layers proved to be a wise idea for time around the fire pit.  

On the first night the huge barbeque outside the yurt was put into use, whilst perched on our picnic bench with something to drink, watching the sun set across the meadow at the bottom of the hill. Again, anyone with an Insta-addiction would be filling their phone with a gallery worth of shots of a chilled slice of glamping heaven.   

The sun setting over the Raynham Estate

The sun setting over the Raynham Estate - Credit: Neil Perry

Warm up by the log burner at Wild Meadows

Warm up by the log burner at Wild Meadows - Credit: Neil Perry

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As the night drew in, we lit the log burner inside the yurt, which kept out the evening cold, and that coupled with the night sky view through the roof window made for a pretty special way to head to bed.   

The following day began with a trip to nearby Pensthorpe Natural Park to let the kids burn off some energy in Hootz House indoor play. Wisely, the owners of Wild Meadow have an agreement with Pensthorpe that lets you get in at a discounted rate, which is always more than welcome on a family trip.   

There is probably a law in the rules of camping that a campfire must be made, hands warmed, and marshmallows held out on sticks. There is a dedicated fire pit area tucked away amongst the trees at Raynham, with a supply of wood underneath the fairy-light festooned natural canopy, which again makes the whole process easier. An opportunity to toast marshmallows over an open fire should never be passed over, and it finished off our short break beautifully as the sun sunk below the church at the bottom of the meadow.   

Wild Meadows at the Raynham Estate

Fire wood and fire pits are provided at Wild Meadows for that camping essential - toasting marshmallows - Credit: Neil Perry

If you’re the kind of person who loves the idea of camping, but maybe not the reality, then this could well be a thoroughly luxurious compromise. You experience enough of the outdoors for a glorious change of scene, but with enough luxury to keep even the most ardent anti-camper happy (especially if they are after pictures for their social media too).

A two-night stay at Clover on the estate this June is £400 for up to five people. Find out more at raynham.co.uk