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High-end glamping in a tree-fringed Dorset field, complete with kingsized beds, wood-burning stoves and private bathrooms

In a handsome thatched cottage built by his grandfather, Thomas Hardy penned out his now immortal works, Far From the Madding Crowd and Jude the Obscure, peering from his windows to the delicate Dorset countryside beyond. It’s not difficult to find the similarities in modern-day country Dorset to Hardy's fictional county of Wessex and those who plod in the tracks of Tess of the D'Urbevilles can easily discover the beautiful rural hideaway of Kingsbere, known in our everyday world as Bere Regis. The 12th-century church and quaint rural pubs still have that storybook charm, while a wander into the ancient woodland reveals a setting unchanged since Hardy’s time. Stumble out in the right direction, however, and you can now find yourself in a setting strikingly at odds from the impoverished dwellings of his Victorian fiction. Instead, under the light wash of cream canvas, lie comfort, luxury and a relaxing atmosphere in one of Wessex’s most high-end glampsites.

Glampotel is a well-hidden dotting of six en-suite ‘canvas cottages’ located in a meadow, though tucked so much against the trees that it still has a rather magical woodland feel. The cottages are similar in design to bell tents (in fact, two are bell tents) and are raised on wooden platforms to provide a flat ground surface and deck outside where you can relax in the garden furniture as you fire up the fancy gas barbeque. Step inside and guests will find a king-sized bed in the centre of the large space with wooden cabinets to the side, topped with traditional candle lanterns. A log-burning stove provides that extra rustic charm and an opportunity to stoke up the heat, cocooning yourself in the warmth of your cosy abode. You can also stash away food in a cool box provided, so your local Dorset cheese doesn’t melt away while you read beside the fire!

Glampotel is actually reached by heading to Rowlands Wait Camping and Touring Park, the campsite that technically shares the space. On arrival you are welcomed to use all the facilities the campsite provides, including laundry and the small onsite shop, but can forego the communal sanitary blocks in favor of your canvas cottage’s own en-suite bathroom just outside. The huts have hot showers and composting toilets along with a parking area next to the pitch. Indeed, having settled yourself in the private Glampotel field guests will find themselves very much separate from the touring park and those hoping for that extra boutiquey feel can ask for one of the ‘romance packages’ or hire out the whole space for bushcraft courses, cookery, wine tasting and much more.

While the 300-acre ancient forest on the doorstep will absorb imaginative children, building dens and searching for wildlife, those who hop back in the car will be rewarded with the rest that Dorset that has to offer. Beautiful Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are around 20 minutes away, rightfully famous features on the Jurrassic Coast where you can try fossil hunting or rock pooling at the various beaches. Meanwhile, inland, historic Dorchester remains a point of pilgrimage for Thomas Hardy fans - or at least those who didn’t get sidetracked looking for fictional Kingsbere, perhaps landing themselves in the reality of this luxury hideaway amid the countryside.


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The campsite owner says

Glampotel - glamorous camping at its finest, with a small collection of luxury canvas cottages a short drive from the Dorset coast. Experience the best of the outdoors coupled with all the facilities needed to self-cater, along with boutique hotel-inspired touches and including a private en-suite bathroom for each canvas cottage.

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