Love a duck, a glamping experience in Hampshire with Boris
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Lesley Bellew got more than she bargained for during her first glamping holiday with unexpected night-time visits from Boris and a dance troupe
full cast of Riverdance spent the night practising on the roof of Mary’s Place,
my super-posh glamping cabin.
that’s how it sounded as the rain clattered down so hard that I gave up trying
to sleep and opened the double doors to watch the moonlit deluge – until my
privacy was invaded by Boris.
Minister Boris Johnson was also glamping in the same week as me but this was another
Boris, a Khaki Campbell duck and his posse of Aylesbury ducks named Quackers,
and rather unfortunately, Crispy and Wrap.
they had endured enough of the storm and on hearing me rustling about in my
sumptuous bedding, came my way on an earlier-than-dawn food raid because they were
obviously tuned in to what might be in my breakfast hamper.
solar lights had pretty much given up the ghost by this point so I scrambled
out of bed to find my lantern which gave me enough light see off Boris and his
gang because there was no way I was going to risk letting them spoil the plush
cream carpet or trounce the silky cushions.
exactly a romantic night under the stars but my first glamping experience on
the wettest night in August was certainly memorable.
in the day I had made the most of the two-acre tranquil lakeside setting, leaving
the world behind while watching a heron
fly in for its supper under the willow trees. I had also fallen for feeding the
aforementioned ducks in the sunshine before walking into the pretty village of
Broughton, in Hampshire’s Test Valley.
Tally Ho! Inn made for a welcoming stop with decent beer and the landlady let
me borrow a book on the area saying she’d collect it from the glampsite the
next day. A warm touch and even better when I read that I only had to cross the
road to see a rare late 16th century dovecote tower set among the
graves of St Mary’s Church. Broughton Down
Nature Reserve, a chalk downland rich in butterflies, was now also on my radar in this
lovely part of the world.
return from my meandering alongside Wallop Brook I found dinner was served in my
private summerhouse by the lake, adorned with blue and white fairy lights, a
beautifully dressed table with candles, colourful glass and china and a vase of
Kate McAllister, a former air traffic controller, was now putting her art
degree into full use by creating a magical setting at her imaginative Boho-luxe
dinner supplied by a nearby food delivery company that prides itself on quality
produce, I spent a couple of hours working my way through seared tuna with avocado,
mango and sesame; spiced pulled pork with sea salted crackling and red cabbage slaw
and a giant pistachio and raspberry eclair with pink chocolate washed down by a
decent Merlot. No cooking over the campfire for me – but there was the option
had I so wished.
It’s all about privacy at The Meadow Glamping
site where guests can stay in Wild Billy’s gypsy caravan, an
original late 19th century showman’s wagon, or my cabin, Mary’s Place,
in a separate area of the glampsite, with access to the grass tennis court, and
for an extra charge, a heated swimming pool (subject to Covid-19 restrictions).
Amanda, a tarot card reader, can also be booked by anyone who wants to know their
fortune. Perhaps she could have forecast the thunder and lightning.
comforts also included an upmarket shower for each property; guests walk through a mini-woodland path to
reach the sparkling facilities. Each
unit also had a separate, scrupulously clean compost toilet nearby and
although I was slightly hesitant, pouring wood shavings from a hessian holdall down
the toilet was not so bad!
So with the Riverdance troupe in retreat I settled into breakfast thinking how nice it would be to spend another couple of sunny days glamping in the heart of Hampshire with time to sit round the firepit on the outdoor sofa, light the barbecue and take the rowing boat for a lap round the lake.
I wonder if our Prime Minister felt the same about his glamping holiday?
There is availability at The Meadow Glamping, Broughton, between the cathedral cities of Salisbury and Winchester, throughout September and October 2020. Prices from £105 per night in Wild Billy’s and £115 per night in Mary’s Place, with a two-night minimum stay. Bookings for 2021 are now open at 2020 prices.
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