Ever so often the time comes to escape from the city, eschew (within reason) life’s creature comforts and become one with the great outdoors. On this basis, TFW decided to take its first foray into glamping by hiring a Serengeti lodge (that’s right, a Serengeti lodge aka a REALLY big tent) courtesy of Wild Luxury in Thornham Bay, Norfolk.
To be clear from the get go, the primary brilliance of Wild Luxury is that they understand the “within reason” aspect of the first sentence. There are fully functioning showers and flushing toilets, dining room tables and comfortable sofas. Moreover, there is an array of sleeping arrangements; from double beds with a view of the trees to a king size mattress, Hansel and Gretel style, in a cupboard (oh yes and if you don’t believe me there’s a picture below). Before you think that this is a place that ignores the camping element of glamping, fear not. Thornham Bay is an escape that has managed to achieve the right balance between outdoor living and comfort. There is no electricity and very little phone reception (step away from the blackberry…). Food is kept in a cool box, but perfectly preserved by a never ending supply of frozen “hot” water bottles and cooking/heating is achieved by the ridiculously efficient wood-burning oven. There is, of course, the obligatory chickens and pheasants wondering around. The outcome is that you are able to head two hours out of London (Thornham Bay is located on the north coast of Norfolk), switch off and get away from it all, whilst nevertheless being able to use a fully functioning bathroom all at the same time.
The Serengeti lodges are fantastically equipped, which means you really only need to bring yourself (and towels, the latter understandably being one of the few things not included in the lodge) as the site also has a phenomenally well equipped farm shop selling wine, fruit and veg, nibbles, dips and cakes etc. The oven in the lodge is also surprisingly easy to use, so we were able to rustle up the camping favourites of brochettes and chocolate bananas (not at the same time), all eaten by candle light. More importantly, we were able to put the Snowpeak Titanium French Press to good use in the morning (I may be glamping but I am not foregoing my coffee). That said, if cooking is not your thing, the lodges are located in a part of Norfolk that seems to have a disproportionate amount of great places to eat, with gastro-pubs being the norm. Options include Marco Pierre White’s The Lifeboat Inn and the award winning The Orange Tree.
For those wishing to explore the local area, Thornham Bay is a thirty minute walk from the coast and a fifteen minute drive from the market town of Burnham Market, where yet more eateries can be found.
I should mention that Thornham Bay (regularly hailed as one of the top glamping sites in the UK) is suitable for all types of visitors. During our stay, there was a family reunion, hen party and birthday celebration crossing three generations, all getting along without troubling each other. There are eight lodges in total at the Thornham Bay site and they are positioned such that you can interact as much or as little as you like with your “neighbours.”
We couldn’t end the post without a mention of, and giving huge thanks to, the lovely Milly who is endlessly cheerful and always on hand to help during your stay. Once your reservation is made, Milly is also in touch to provide you with an advance welcome pack, which explains in detail items that are included in the lodge and makes recommendations for things you may like to do during your stay.
The facts: the Wild Luxury website is here and we stayed at the Thornham Bay site, which is off Drove Orchards, Thornham, Norfolk PE36 6LS.