Wanderlusts Gypsy Caravans
“What a shame my house doesn’t move”. It’s not the kind of thing you hear from every weary camper as they struggle to find the keys to the front door. Yet returning from a long weekend at Wanderlusts, it’s precisely such a statement that rings around the cavernous rooms of your bog-standard, oh so normal kind of home.
Set up by Barny Maurice - who ran away to the circus at the age of 16 and lived with fellow trapeze artists for over 20 years - Wanderlusts is a true on-the-road experience that puts campers in control of their new home and shows you the romantic, bohemian lifestyle of living on the move. The creek of wooden wagon wheels, the breeze in your hair and the ever-changing country backdrop – his creation is far more than your everyday idea of 'glamping'.
The experience begins from the moment you arrive, meeting at a local pub or car park to be picked up by a traditional, bow top gypsy caravan that Barney has painstakingly restored with his bare hands. Clambering up to the canvas covered cabin guests can not only prep themselves for a few nights beneath the stars as they rattle down the road, but also have the chance to take the reigns and bring the caravan to life under the trusted power of two gorgeous Shire horses.
The journey, as well run as it is unique, takes passengers through the quiet country lanes of Cumbria, stopping along the way at pre-organised camps that Barney has arranged over the years with various local landowners. Each of the camps are specifically chosen in wildflower meadows, nestled by a private tarn, lake or millstream and all have toilets and space for an open fire. One, which Barny describes to us as an ‘island field’, is perched between diverging waters with a flank of tall trees on the third side, while another spot rests on the banks of a kidney bean shaped lake where campers can wild swim in the waters, gazing up at the rising Pennines all around. The spaces feel authentic, wild and untainted – precisely Barney’s aim – and once set up with a roaring fire, guests are left entirely to the sounds of wildlife, water and utter peace and quiet.
Whether you trek with your trusted steed or ride in the beautiful cocoon of the gypsy caravan, all options build on the couples indefatigable knowledge of nomadic life – knowledge they are all too happy to share. One thing is for certain. You won’t think of ‘home’ in the same way again.
FacilitiesThe Gypsy Caravan is mostly made of wood, lined on the inside with a warm and regal fabric and covered in traditional canvas, the woodwork has quite a lot of carving (not only for beauty, but also to reduce the weight for the horses). There is a double bed (with bedding) plus sleeping mats for children (or adults) for which extra sleeping bags/bedding is needed. The double bed in the caravan measures: 6.6ft x 4ft and the 2 sleeping mats: 6ft x 18in, 6ft x 2ft and campers will need your own sleeping bags for these. There's a gas hob, kettle, frying pan, pots, cups, plates, cutlery, wash bowl, water container and cupboards for storage. Towels are not provided. For lighting there is a wind up torch, candles and 12v lights and for washing up and bathing you will have to heat water over the campfire. Barny can help if you need. All camping spots will have either a compost or outside loo close at hand.
Glampers, kids and couples - yes. Tents, campervans, (your own) caravan and dogs - no.
For those on the move, the itinerary is somewhat set in stone so that you and the horse can get to certain points at specific times for rest and relaxation, plus arrive at each camping spot in time to explore and enjoy splashing the stream, visiting the watermill, drinking in the pub or swimming in the lake – depending on which spot you are stopping at! For those staying in the static gypsy wagons at Low Wray, though, there's a wealth in the local area. A lakeshore path leads to Wray Castle, great for families with a range of activities, including the new Peter Rabbit Warren, and boats go from there to the Lakes Visitor Centre at Brockhole (01539 446601), and the terrific Treetop Trek (01539 447186).
Food & Drink
There are pubs en-route, but it's worth bringing some supplies and planning a few meals that you can cook over the campfire for maximum enjoyment. On the road, there may be the possibility to buy seasonal produce, from eggs to cakes and home made jams – though this depends entirely on availability. At one camping stop off, the neighbouring watermill, where toilets are also found, has an excellent tea room and facilities. You can often buy fresh goats milk or a freshly baked loaf warm from the oven here too! Another of the camps (by Ravenbridge Mill) is accompanied by two excellent pubs a short walk down the road in the near by village of Kirkoswald: The Crown Inn (01768 870410) and The Featherstone Arms (01768 898284). For all the best info, though, the easiest thing to do is chat with Barny as you journey along!
All year round.
AccommodationA moving gypsy caravan experience, with 2 horses taking you to various meadow locations.
No availability showing at Wanderlusts Gypsy Caravans.
Parking is a short walk down the lane and luggage can be dropped off at the camp before parking.
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