Glamping. I have to admit the term doesn’t fill me with excitement. It conjures up images of fancy tents (that are still at the end of the day, tents) in the middle of a muddy field at some kind of music festival. Certainly not my kind of thing. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing I love more than being surrounded by the great outdoors, the further away from reality and people the better. Muddy fields – I’ve grown up in them and I love them dearly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to enjoy a mini-break or indeed a holiday in one. I am definitely one for my creature comforts – I mean is your own bathroom and a comfy bed too much to ask for?! When I think of a weekend away, my fail-safe special place to go is the fantastic Dormy House in The Cotswolds, a luxury 5* farmhouse – in the middle of nowhere with the best spa and food you could hope for – a place to unwind, relax and indulge which is exactly what I want in a break. Life is pretty hectic here, a full time job, 3 horses that live at home and a Masters degree in my spare time, not to mention running my little blog – which takes it’s toll every so often and that’s where the need for a relaxing retreat comes in…
So back to the glamping. To be totally honest I am completely underselling Dimpsey Glamping here – far more than the ‘glamorous camping’ yurts, bell tents [insert any other on trend tent here] have to offer and that we associate with the term glamping. Oh no, I think it’s far more accurate to say that the Dimpsey Shepherd Hut is a 5*, multi-award winning luxury, exclusive and independent accomodation. As luxurious and relaxing as any of the world’s top spa hotels, with the added bonus of being on it’s own, in a field in the middle of the Somerset countryside. Perfect for any country girl that loves life’s luxuries but the countryside even more, and perfect for anyone else that just wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life for a day or two. I’ve probably already sold it to you but just in case, I want to share my experience with you.
A home away from home
A big statement that a lot of places claim, but there is absolutely nowhere better that befits this statement than Dimpsey. This little gem offers all the luxury of a high-end hotel but in a cleverly cosy way that makes you feel right at home. I should take a step back and really describe Dimpsey to you. It’s a beautifully crafted Shepherds hut, made by some very talented locals – Blackdown Shepherds Huts – but more about locally sourced products later – set on a gorgeous farm (it really is a home away from home for me!) nestled in the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. The hut is situated away from the main farm and associated buildings, so you get to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the countryside with just the odd sheep or duck to spy on you. Whilst you are quite literally in the middle of a field, this is far from a ‘glamping site’. You have your own fenced garden full of herbs and flowers which lead the way to the hut. For those of you that aren’t partial to accesorising your outfit with a pair of wellies (does such a person exist?!) don’t fear – you can park your car on the hard-standing and walk along the purpose built path to the hut. I almost forgot to mention, not only is the garden full of flowers, it also contains the most amazing wood fired Swedish designed hot tub! The hut also has an en-suite designer bathroom, so no requirement to run to the shared toilet block in the middle of the night.
It’s in the detail
So the big issues I have with glamping are solved – location, tick; own bathroom – tick; creature comforts, huge tick. I’m sure there’s a lot of places out there can fulfil these criteria but what sets Dimpsey apart from the rest is the attention to detail in absolutely every corner and crevice of this beautiful place. The wonderful owners, Emma and Andrew (more about them later) really have thought of everything, and then some. It’s not difficult to tell that not only a substantial amount of effort has gone into producing Dimpsey, but also a lot of love. There are things that have been executed to a high level and then there are things that have had hearts, souls, tears, frustrations, laughs and giggles poured into them. Dimpsey is definitely the latter. When you walk in you get an overwhelming sense of welcoming, like visiting an old friend. Well an old friend that is a supermodel with every pair of shoes and every designer handbag you can dream of. Yep, it’s all about the bells and whistles here, but in an understated, subtle way that doesn’t make you feel inadequate.
There’s far far too many highlights for me to single out but I have to mention some of the little added extras that meant so much and went such a long way to ensuring a memorable trip. The log burner was lit for us before we arrived, so on a very cold November day being greeted by a roaring fire was the best welcome we could have wished for. We also walked in to homemade mince pies (infused with Sloe gin no less), left for us next to two gorgeous mugs and a matching tea pot from the brilliant Doris & Co – you may have seen some of their designs on here and my Instagram page previously.
So it’s fair to say we felt right at home and even a little bit festive which is totally unheard of for me. Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas, but with my birthday at the beginning of December (the 8th, in case you wanted to forward any pressies!) I tend to steer clear of Christmas activities until at least the 9th. But even I couldn’t resist the little mysterious box of goodies that instructed us to give Dimpsey a Christmas make over (or not!) as we saw fit.
There was also a little Christmas gift waiting for us on the table – I can’t actually think of anything more thoughtful. I couldn’t wait to open it (I know, it should have gone under my tree, but my excuse is that I don’t have one yet!) and I was not disappointed – a beautiful handcrafted felt sheep (not dissimilar to the ones surrounding our hut) greeted us. We have decided to call her Dimpsey to remind us of the blissful few days we had – not that we could ever forget. For a small (but perfectly formed!) hut there was so much to see, appreciate and do.
Our very special reminder of a blissful weekend, meet Dimpsey
We met another new friend..Kitty. Unfortunately though I wasn’t allowed to bring her home!
Absolutely everything in the hut has been thought about carefully and has a purpose for being there which only adds to the charm. Where possible, everything has been sourced locally and when I say local I really do mean local – bacon and eggs from the farm, the hut itself from down the road not to mention the endless supply of cosy wool blankets, quilts and sheepskins which were very much appreciated on a cold November weekend! The interior of the hut is absolutely stunning and as I mentioned, mostly contains handmade products sourced from local artisan craftsmen and women (including our very own hosts – look out for the most delicious handmade soap in the bathroom!). If you really love something in particular, Emma can source it for you – just be warned you may end up with a very long wish list, I know I did!
What to do?
If you’re in a field in the middle of nowhere, you may think that there isn’t all that much to do. In a way – you’d be right and that’s the whole point of a relaxing break, you are forced to relax because there aren’t the distractions and stresses of everyday life to get in your way. A shelf full of books and games made for a very entertaining evening – who needs a television when your relationship is questioned by your competitiveness when playing a game of cards or dominoes? We had probably the best campfire meal too – a very gourmet affair thanks to the wood-fired outdoor oven! We also indulged in a soak in the hot tub (well, you’ve just got to try it if it’s there haven’t you), which couldn’t have been a more special occasion – on a very frosty evening sat in a bubbling tub of water with the fire warming my back stargazing into the night, with only the sound of neighboring sheep to interrupt, there really couldn’t have been a better way to end the evening. Although a VERY cold run back to the hut was a bit of a, shall we say, refreshing way to end!
Plenty to keep everyone entertained..
In all fairness, I hardly saw James for most of the evening. Thanks to the log burner inside, a wood fired outdoor oven, fire pit and the amazing wood fired hot tub outside he was very much entertained – what is it with men and fire?! Ladies, these are definite selling points if you want to get your significant other to agree to a trip!
A different kind of hut..a very traditional shepherds hut just next to Dimpsey. It’s actually the very one used in the ‘Far from the madding crowd’ movie – Carey Mulligan has signed it as proof! Look out for this hut to feature in a very special way in the Dimpsey experience soon!
To the hosts
Emma and Andrew have to be unrivaled in their hosting. We could not have met more lovely people who really did go out of their way to make our stay as special as possible. From recommending the very best pub to enjoy lunch before our stay to the finishing touches and added extras in the hut to coming out on a Saturday evening to check the hot tub for us. They really have put so much love into making Dimpsey what it is. It’s so easy to see why they have numerous awards under their belts already, a collection of which I am certain will only grow as time goes on.
Not just for the summer
I admit I was skeptical at the thought of glamping in the winter but in all honesty, I can’t think of a better time to visit. Whilst the weather wasn’t really on our side, it meant that we could turn the fairy lights on, cosy up by the fire, snuggle in the blankets and drink hot chocolate (oh my goodness how have I not mentioned hot chocolate corner yet?!). I have to just quickly tell you..or maybe not – when (definitely not if) you visit – make sure you move the hot chocolate corner chalkboard – you’re in for a treat!!
In a very selfish way, I am almost sad to tell you about Dimpsey because I know you are all going to want to visit and that it will no longer be a hidden treasure for me. It will also mean that I’ll have to be organised with my holidays and get booked in before everyone else to stand a chance of a re-visit! One thing’s for sure though, Dimpsey has certainly replaced any other special place to become my go-to retreat. I am already planning my next visit and can’t wait to see the transformation that a different season will bring to the hut.
Boys – if you have not yet started to think about Christmas – you’ll sail into the good books if you book a mini-break at Dimpsey for your loved one’s Christmas pressie. You can thank me later!