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Review: 'It's like waking up in a children's book' - Glamping at Sunninglye Farm in Tunbridge Wells

Camping - what a terrible idea for a holiday. Lying in a bag on hard, lumpy earth; your belongings scrunched around your feet as you try to ignore monstrous snoring from the tent next door.

But if the peace and simplicity of the outdoors is what you're craving this summer, with the familiar comforts of a cottage or hotel room - put that pop-up tent down and get yourself a canvas lodge at Sunninglye Farm.

Found deep in the High Weald of Kent, a registered Area of Outstanding National Beauty not far from Tunbridge Wells, you are secluded from the chaos of modern life. Sat within a shady hilltop copse are seven lodges, all facing stunning views across the seemingly endless patchwork of green fields and dense woodland.

Our canvas lodge
Our canvas lodge
The view from the front of our lodge
The view from the front of our lodge

And the name isn't just marketing speak - it really is a working farm. Waking up to the gentle bleating of sheep and the morning call of the cockerel, you feel as if you've woken up in a children’s book.

Chickens are left to roam across the farm in the day and occasionally even pop their heads into your tent, while very happy pigs run rings around the horses to the sound of the farmer's call of "here piggy-wiggy-wiggy”. It’s clear why they’re described as being “very free range”.

These curious looking pigs were all over the farm and the farmers were more than happy to let you pet them
These curious looking pigs were all over the farm and the farmers were more than happy to let you pet them

The lodges themselves are cosy and contain everything you could possibly need - stove, toilet, cooking equipment, firewood, crockery, cool box, bedding, to name just a few.

Some lodges come with hot showers and even hot tubs - otherwise shower blocks are a short walk across the site where you can plug in your hairdryer, straightening irons, or if you really can’t resist, a phone charger.

A cosy atmosphere inside filled with all the amenities you could need
A cosy atmosphere inside filled with all the amenities you could need
Outside each tent is a space for a camp fire, a barbecue, and deck chairs
Outside each tent is a space for a camp fire, a barbecue, and deck chairs

But if you do want anything else the farmers are more than helpful and check on you daily to make sure you’re happy. Plus, there is an on-site honesty shop selling locally-sourced food and drink.

The one inescapable downside is the weather - glamping is still camping after all! If it’s a cold night, you will certainly know about it if you don’t bring plenty of layers. But, the duvets provided are so thick that once you’re tucked up with a hot water bottle you’ll barely even notice.

If you want to light the camp fire you are free to explore the local woods to forage
If you want to light the camp fire you are free to explore the local woods to forage
There's no shortage of spectacular views
There's no shortage of spectacular views

Sunninglye Farm is billed as a family holiday and we often saw youngsters playing ball games alongside the sheep on the fields, and there are loads of activities available to keep kids occupied, from kaiaking and raft-building on the pond to hunting for eggs in the barn.

That said, we went as a group of two couples and found plenty to do - from spectacular walks to the village pub to evenings around the camp fire enjoying a good board game.

For a unique outdoor retreat with none of the faff - it’s got to be hard to beat.

Prices vary depending on the time of year and the type of lodge. To find out more and to book, visit the website.


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