Review: Relaxing family break at Kits Coty Glamping site at Blue Bell Hill, near Aylesford
Published: 02:00, 16 September 2023
Where were you when the torrential rain that signalled the end of a disappointingly unpredictable August hit?
I was checking in for an overnight stay at a glamping site with my husband and four-year-old son.
As dark clouds ominously formed overhead while we made our way over Blue Bell Hill towards the Kits Coty Glamping site near Aylesford, all I could think was: thank god we don't have to attempt to pitch a tent in this!
And that is the beauty of glamping - all of the fun of immersing yourself in the peace and tranquility of the great outdoors, and none of the faffing about with tent pegs and Calor gas.
After a bumpy drive down a narrow country lane, we arrived at the deceptively large site, which was established by owners Ami and Mark in a lush paddock opposite their family home.
Every bit the hidden gem, the secluded spot is surrounded by scenic countryside, with plenty of walking and cycling routes nearby.
You can choose to stay in a bell tent with a safari, festival or Moroccan theme, an enchanted woodland-inspired cabin or a traditional Kentish shepherd’s hut.
As the downpour eased, our friendly host, Ami, showed us to our lodgings for the night - a charmingly quirky shepherd's hut called Pamela, named after her grandmother.
There are some serious interior design goals on display here, with a rich dark green and gold colour scheme together with strings of twinkling fairy lights making for a beautifully cosy and inviting space.
Everything you could need is here - all bedding, crockery and cutlery is provided in the accommodation - and a welcome pack containing marshmallows, skewers, biscuits and a bag of pick 'n' mix sweets went down a treat with my little boy (and me).
As we explored the picturesque site, we were struck by just how much is on offer here. We were initially disappointed with the biblical weather conditions, but soon realised there are plenty of undercover spaces to enjoy, including a colourful Alice in Wonderland-themed seating area, a Mexican-themed snug with comfy leather sofas and shelves of books and games, and a sheltered cooking area for barbeques.
My son loved looking at the Wizard of Oz-themed decorative garden next to the communal washing facilities, which comprise toilets and luxury wetrooms with power showers – adorned in pretty pink florals for the girls and Marvel superheroes for the boys.
As the weather brightened up, my son enjoyed kicking a ball about on the expansive field and burning off some pick 'n' mix-induced energy on the children's play equipment. Darts and pétanque are also on offer.
There are plenty of options for food, with barbeques and gas rings all available - as well as a pile of takeaway menus if you don't fancy cooking.
There is also a communal kitchen area with sinks, fridges, freezers, a kettle, microwave, toaster, pots, pans and all the cooking utensils you could need, as well as coolboxes and ice packs for keeping drinks cold.
You can either bring your own supplies or order one of the food packages from the glamping site, which include cream teas and breakfast hampers.
But when we heard the site had its own wood-fired pizza oven, we couldn't resist opting for the pizza package. Priced at £20 for two people, £35 for four or £50 for six, you're given a box of ingredients including bases, tomato sauce, vegetables and pepperoni, as well as firelighters and food-grade wood.
This was definitely the highlight of our stay - making, cooking and enjoying our slightly charred pizzas al fresco with a glass of wine as the sun set over the North Downs.
As darkness fell, it was time to get the fire pit going. Each pitch has one, as well as seating and a picnic table in a private area cleverly shielded by neat hedgerows.
We enjoyed toasting marshmallows over the flames to the sound of crackling wood... and nothing else. No tinny singing or thumping bass coming from a neighbouring pitch, thanks to the site's strict no live or amplified music policy. You're also never in danger of encountering big groups of rowdy glampers, as the site only allows maximum groups of six. Any bigger parties - be it for a hen do or a large family holiday - will have to hire the entire site. This really ensures you can have a peaceful stay.
It was then time to battle through a dozen moths gathered on the door of our shepherd’s hut to turn in for the night.
We emerged the next morning to beautiful blue skies and birds singing - a truly idyllic scene. After a relaxing breakfast, we packed up and reluctantly set off for home as true glamping converts - with a short detour to the nearby Homebase to pick up a fire pit.
To find out more, visit Kits Coty Glamping’s website. Accommodation starts at £125 per night.
More by this authorLowri Chant